5 Actionable Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome as a Public Speaker

“I’m not worth listening to”…

“I don't deserve to be up here on stage”…

“I'm a fraud. It's just a matter of time before the audience finds out”…

“What if these people know more than I know? They’ll see right through me”…

Ever experience these kinds of negative thoughts right before you step on stage?

Don’t worry, you’re NOT alone!

In fact, over 70% of professional speakers have dealt with imposter syndrome, at some point in their careers.

This type of anxiety is extremely common.

Even for successful speakers who have achieved many milestones and accomplishments throughout their careers.

The good news? There are easy and effective ways to stop imposter syndrome dead in its tracks.

If you want to overcome the imposter monster and banish the jitters, self-doubt, and lack of confidence for good…

Here are 5 actionable tips for regaining control and overcoming imposter syndrome.


Be Authentic

The best way to overcome the feeling of being a fraud (imposter syndrome) is to be authentic.

You can’t be a fraud when you are being yourself.

Let your personality, and unique speaking style, shine in the spotlight.

A great way to create authenticity is to tell personal stories.

People love hearing real stories from real people. They want to learn about you, your successes, and your setbacks.

Be honest and sincere with your audience. Let them peek into your life by opening up and showing them the real you. Share your strengths, weaknesses, fears, etc.

Not only does telling personal stories help you defeat imposter syndrome, but it’ll also help you improve your speeches - helping you entertain, connect, and build trust with your audience.


Read Positive Affirmations

Did you know imposter syndrome plants lies inside your mind?

The truth is…

You ARE a talented speaker.

You DO provide value to your audience.

Your audience DOES want to hear what you have to say.

After all, why would they take time out of their busy day and PAY to attend your event?

A great way to replace the lies planted inside your mind is to read daily affirmations.

You see, affirmations program your subconscious and change your self-image. You simply replace the lies you tell yourself (unknowingly) with strengths and accomplishments.

It’s easy, here’s how to do it:

  • Create a list of 3-5 affirmations
  • Start each affirmation with “I am” and complete each one with a positive statement. (for example, “I am improving the lives of my audience every time they hear me speak”… “I am calm and confident whenever I step on stage”, etc.)
  • Read these affirmations aloud each morning, or right before bed, for around 5 minutes each day

Before you know it, your self-talk will be positive and realistic. And, you will FEEL more confident.


Visualize Success

Like affirmations, visualizations are another powerful way of programming your subconscious and changing your self-image.

Transforming negative thoughts (imposter syndrome) into desirable and more realistic ones.

Did you know visualizations are popular amongst professional athletes looking to improve their performance?

It’s true. You too can use visualization to your advantage. To improve your on-stage performance and rid your imposter syndrome.

It’s easy!

Simply picture yourself, in your mind’s eye, delivering a successful speech on stage. Visualize this as vividly as possible. As if it’s currently happening.

Play up your senses...

Feel - calm, confident and in control.

See - your crowd, their undivided attention, their positive reactions.

Hear - the crowd cheer with applause.

The more realistic your visualizations are and, the more you utilize your five senses, the more benefits you’ll experience.

It’s best to practice visualizations 5-10 minutes a day and in the morning (or right before bed).

Soon enough, you’ll have replaced your imposter syndrome anxieties with confident and positive feelings and thoughts, and will be delivering more impactful speeches.


Confront Your Imposter Syndrome

Most, if not all, of your self-doubting thoughts, are NOT real.

They are lies!

Your mind is playing tricks on you.

This is very important to understand. So, a great way to overcome imposter syndrome is to jot down these negative thoughts and feelings whenever they arise. And evaluate them.

By doing so, you’ll quickly realize how silly they are. That they are FAR from the truth.

Use your accomplishments - awards, reviews, feedback from peers, etc. as positive reminders of your talents and expertise.

Also, don’t let these imposter monsters slip away. Acknowledge them, actively call them out on their lies, then, REJECT THEM!


Talk About Your Imposter Syndrome with Others

There’s no need to suffer alone.

Toss the boulder off your shoulders by chatting with peers, family members and mentors.

At the very least, chatting about how you feel will bring relief.

But, more often than not, whoever you talk to has experienced similar thoughts & feelings.

They can reassure you that these feelings are normal. But they can also reassure you that these feelings are NOT true. That you ARE a talented public speaker, and that your audience is lucky to hear you speak.



Now that you are aware of how common imposter syndrome is, and how to overcome it, you can put these tips into action.

Slowly but surely, you’ll start to experience the benefits of a life free from imposter syndrome.

And, feel more confident and tuned into reality around your speaking skills.

For additional information on this important subject, check out Denise Jacobs’s episode - Your Worst Critic - from our podcast, Speakernomics.