Succeed Through Speaking - Tom Bailey

Online Business Startup

Tom Bailey is the founder of Succeed Through Speaking and he spent the first 25 years of his life becoming an expert at AVOIDING public speaking, presenting and being in front of groups of people. However, since overcoming his life-limiting fear of speaking and presenting he has experienced first-hand how people can succeed through speaking. He now helps other Entrepreneurs, Experts, Coaches and Consultants use speaking to raise their profile and gain new clients.

What we will be discussing today

  • Typical Fears Associated with Public Speaking
  • How to Overcome The Challenges Associated with Public Speaking

Listen to the Full Episode

Succeed Through Speaking

In this episode of The Fearless Business Podcast, host Robin Waite talks to entrepreneur and public speaking expert Tom Bailey. Since founding his company, Succeed Through Speaking, Tom has helped coaches, consultants and business owners overcome their public speaking fears and shows them how not to avoid public speaking. On the show, he shares his public speaking tips for listeners and advises them on successfully presenting their ideas.

Why Do People Avoid Public Speaking?

Avoiding public speaking opportunities for business owners can prove detrimental for their business, so why do they do it? Tom suggests that two main elements hold entrepreneurs back when it comes to public speaking:

  1. Fear - a constant worry of the worst-case scenario occurring when you’ll present publicly, e.g. “what if I embarrass myself and slip up?” these thoughts stem from a crucial lack of confidence.
  2. Self-Limiting Beliefs - beliefs closely associated with imposter syndrome, e.g. “I’m not good enough”.

Ultimately these two elements are the most common causes of entrepreneurs holding themselves back in public speaking.

Fighting The Fear

To overcome the fear of public speaking, Tom outlines three top tips:

  • Learn from your mistakes and use them to your advantage - it’s completely natural for people to slip up when presenting. In fact, slipping up can draw more attention to yourself, so use it to your advantage. For example, on average, Tom makes sure he includes ten “mistakes” when presenting to keep the audience engaged.
  • Preparation - don’t just “wing it”; the best public speakers typically practice, edit and plan what they will say weeks before they are due on stage.
  • Don’t try and recite a script word for word - so there’s preparation, and then there’s over-preparation. Tom believes that reciting and sticking to a script creates even more pressure for public speakers causing them to lose track if they make a mistake. So instead, speakers summarise their speech into blocks / short paragraphs to come across more naturally but still stay on track.

The main takeaway from this is for people to put themselves in a position to gain experience and practice. Every occasion is a learning curve, and if done enough, slowly but surely, entrepreneurs will find their confidence increasing in no time!

The Biggest Mistakes Public Speakers Make

During his time as a public speaking specialist, Tom has witnessed a multitude of common mistakes entrepreneurs make when presenting or pitching. The first is accidentally marginalising the audience. In this day and age, phrases such as “hey guys” or “businessman” can alienate audience members from the messages entrepreneurs are trying to convey. Instead, people should opt for a simple “hello” or “how you doing?” when addressing their audience first.

The second biggest mistake Tom has noticed is lots of entrepreneurs forget or overlook the importance of researching the institute that they are going to speak at. Without researching their chosen venue, speakers will find themselves disconnected from their audience and therefore increase the chances of controversy or presenting content that seems irrelevant or unsuitable.

Lastly, according to Tom, speakers don’t ask themselves enough questions when presenting. By asking themselves questions aloud, such as “why do I think this?” keeps the audience and speaker engaged and stops them from straying. It also provides a great amount of clarity if the speaker is finding that their mind is going blank.

How To Avoid Causing Controversy When Public Speaking

Where probability is concerned, speakers at one point or another will find themselves upsetting an audience member with something they have said. So what is the best way to ensure that entrepreneurs cause the least amount of upset possible?

Well, Tom states that entrepreneurs should become comfortable with accepting criticism and the fact that not everyone is going to agree with you. He explains, “when I go to public speaking gigs, I always assume that ten per cent of the audience are going to love it, another ten hate it, and the remaining eighty are somewhere in between”. Regardless of whether people like them or not, public speaking engagements have been proven to create amazing opportunities for entrepreneurs and their brands. Avoiding engagements due to a fear of causing controversy will only prove detrimental in the long run as to whether or not people agree with someone’s presentation; the presenter is still creating exposure for their business.

Why All Business Owners Should Try Public Speaking

Public speaking provides excellent opportunities for publicity, networking and boosting self-confidence. In addition, through public speaking, business owners can find themselves raising their profile, amplifying their authority and ultimately attracting more clients.

If entrepreneurs find themselves hesitant about whether or not they should start public speaking, Tom encourages people to ask themselves what they would be missing out on if they don’t? For example, if people are scared of talking on stage, Tom recommends starting off speaking on podcasts. Speaking on podcasts allows people to network and create outreach for their brand without feeling the pressures of hundreds of people looking at you.


  • Typical Fears Associated with Public Speaking
  • How to Overcome The Challenges Associated with Public Speaking

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