Captive audience

About 10 percent of people truly love public speaking, according to Forbes.  Another 10 percent are terrified. And it makes the rest of us jumpy, but we know we’ll survive.

What can you do to calm your pre-speech jitters?


You can always practice in front of a mirror. And if you can find another human who is willing to listen while you rehearse, that’s great. But if you can’t, what other options do you have?

You could try other forms of life. 

At American University in Washington, DC, an AU student with a presentation to deliver can book a half hour with a dog, according to The Washington Post. The canines in the program are often wide-eyed and nonjudgmental.

Students who practiced their speeches in front of a dog reported a notable decrease in nervousness in post-session surveys.

I recently rehearsed a speech in front of my dog. She started out looking at me with rapt attention. But after a while she faded. Perhaps the topic of productivity did not interest her. Finally, she rolled over with her back to me. While her reaction was not exactly a vote of confidence, just practicing with her did help calm the jitters.

You may not think of them as resources, but your pets may be able to help lower your pre-speech anxiety.