Nervous about your speech? – Try shaving your head

You would be following in the footsteps of the great Greek orator Demosthenes (350BC) who was a nervous speaker and suffered with a stammer. Nevertheless, he was determined to overcome these problems and he believed in the value of practise (note the ‘s’ in the word signifying that it is a verb, meaning ‘action’).
He worked hard to cure his stammer and would rehearse his speeches with pebbles in his mouth. This didn’t have any beneficial effect so he ditched the idea – as did King George VI when trying to overcome his stammer problems.
Demosthenes realised that the only solution was to spend time practising until he got to the standard he was aiming for. He shaved one half of his head to force himself to stay out of sight and would spend two or three months indoors focussing on his task.
This intensive and repeated practise helped him overcome his nervous disposition and embarrassing stammer and made him one of the great Greek orators.
I don’t believe in the ‘pebbles in the mouth approach’ and I wouldn’t shave half my head (although you might think I have already done so) but I agree with Demosthenes (and others) that practise is the best, possibly only, route to success.

(Extract from my speaking guidance eBook ‘want to give them a good talking to?’ – see

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