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Speak with Courage 50+ Insider Strategies for Presenting with Confidence



Pub. Date:
Bedford/St. Martin's
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Instructors and students understand that fear of public speaking is one of the biggest challenges in the introductory course. And that’s where Speak with Courage comes in. Author and master teacher Martin McDermott has helped over 3,000 students overcome their fears and rise above speech anxiety by applying the right techniques.

Speak with Courage offers 50+ diverse strategies—class-tested, rhetorical, practical, and fun—that help students at every stage of the speechmaking process, from getting started and choosing a topic to delivering the presentation and learning from the experience. Helpful and effective, this well-written and appealing text is the tool you need to get your students up and speaking—with confidence. Speak with Courage is also available as an inexpensive e-book, a great add on to any course with a public speaking component.

Author Biography

Martin McDermott is Associate Professor of Speech Communication at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey. A graduate of Rutgers University, he pursued graduate studies at Ohio State University, and was awarded a Distinguished Scholar Fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a master’s degree in Communication Studies. Martin has taught more than 3,500 students during his tenure at several colleges and universities, grading over 15,000 presentations in the process—and counting. An active member of the National Communication Association (NCA), Eastern Communication Association (ECA), and New Jersey Communication Association (NJCA), he also conducts continuing education workshops and coaches speakers of all levels in support of their personal and professional goals. A native of Trenton, New Jersey—with family roots stretching back to Brazil, Italy, England, and Ireland—he enjoys travel, film, song writing, athletics, and learning about a broad range of subjects. For more information about Martin McDermott’s training and coaching services, please visit

Table of Contents

Speak with Courage Table of Contents

I. Opening Vistas

Fear of Public Speaking is Commonplace

Even the Famous Get Scared

Great Fear Can Precede Great Growth

Indulge Your Self-Interest

Big Brother Isn’t Watching You

All Survive, None Perish

II. Basic Strategies

Let Fear Energize you

Think of Public Speaking as a Conversation

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Ask for a Little Help

Hold Dress Rehearsals

Familiarize Yourself with the Speech Setting

Have a Backup Plan

Exercise Before Speaking

Gain Performance Experience

Get Some More Speech Training

III. Cognitive Strategies

Rethink How You Think about Speaking

Focus on the Benefits of Presenting

Fear Management, Not Extinction, is the Goal

Take Baby Steps

It’s All in Your Head

Break the Boulder into Stepping Stones

Fill in the Blanks with Sentence-Completion Exercises

Demolish Fear with Implosion Therapy

Try Gestalt Chairwork

Shyness is Not a Crime

Try the Talking Cure

IV. Managing Content

Follow Your Bliss

Your Voice Is Unique

Choose Your Words Wisely

Select Ideas that Support You

Snap the Pieces into Place

Familiarize, Don’t Memorize

You Must Remember This

Visual Aids Can Be an Ally

Use Mental Rehearsal

V. Stepping Onto the Podium

People Want You to Succeed

Find Friendly Faces

Be Audience-Centered

Harmonize Your Voices

Practice Deep Breathing

Stay in the Moment

Dress for Speaking Success

Ignore this Second-rate Advice

Turn the Tables, if Needed

"Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!"

VI. Stepping Down & Looking Back

Give Yourself Approval

Gaze into the Magic Mirrors

See the Tree, Not the Leaves

Do Your Best and Let it Go

VII. The Big Picture

You Just Might Change the World

Dedicate Your Speech

Why Fear Ghosts?

Speak as a Spiritual Act

100 Years From Now, Will it Matter?

Your Life is a Speech

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