AOC and the Anxieties of Public Speaking

Most people feel nervous or anxious before they speak in public. That’s not exactly breaking news. But many successful presenters are able to channel that anxiety into positive energy once they get started.

Here’s an example: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, shared recently that she sometimes has felt nervous all day before she was scheduled to speak. You may recall that AOC, a Democratic congressional representative from New York, burst onto the national scene during the 2018 national election, in part because of her ability to rouse crowds when she spoke. And we just saw her excite a crowd of 20,000 in her hometown to endorse Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy. She’s a good speaker.

In an article by Tara Edwards that we found on the Refinery29 website (“AOC Reveals How She Got Over Her Fear of Public Speaking”,) AOC shared some of her inside process preparing for speeches. “I get very nervous before big speeches and moments,” she said. But she added that it’s an important part of her job to do well in public venues, and that being held to a higher standard has helped her.

“It doesn’t help when literally any mistake I make is broadcast everywhere. But that has taught me to roll with it since I cant hide,” she added. She has focused on intense preparation in advance of her speeches and interviews, essentially “harnessing her nerves as fuel” as the story reported.

Advance preparation and energy are techniques that can help any speaker get through their anxiety. Energy masks nervousness, which tends to lighten as the speech goes on. And we’ve written volumes about the necessity to be well-prepared for your moments in the spotlight.

For AOC, acknowledging her fear and working diligently through it seems to be making a difference for her. Please consult with your friends at EMS to learn how we can help you become a more confident and effective presenter.

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