How You Can Fight Stage Fright: Public Speaking Tips for Teens

Your Teen magazine, April 2020

by Joy Jones

Joy Jones writes: “If they haven’t already, your teen will soon come home with an assignment that most adults fear: public speaking. Speaking in public can be scary, but it’s a skill that will serve your child well at school and throughout their career. A Columbia University paper reports that the social anxiety that leads to fear of public speaking impairs graduation from college by 10 percent. And people who fear public speaking earn 10 percent less money than those who don’t.”

“The good news is, you can fight stage fright. Here are some public speaking tips to help your teen get through it…”

Fearless Public SpeakingJoy Jones is a former middle school poetry slam coach and the author of Fearless Public Speaking (Sterling Publishing), chosen as one of the Sixteen Must Read Books for Middle Schoolers.

Joy Jones, “How You Can Fight Stage Fright: Public Speaking Tips for Teens,” Your Teen magazine, April 2020.

Tech Check

Joy Jones writes: “Key in the ignition, release emergency brake, put car in gear, then… just as I was reaching for the radio, something quiet inside me said, “Don’t turn it on.”

“Before getting in the car, I had been idly thinking about my current work-in-progress, a middle-grade novel about a girl who starts a Double Dutch team. I was mulling over what to have my characters do next, and also wondering when I’d have time to write to it all down.”

“Fortunately, I listened to that little voice that said to keep my environment quiet and allowed my novel’s plot to play out in my mind. I rode in silence and got some good ideas. I was able to retain my plans until I put my pen to the page. But had I turned on the radio, all of those thoughts would have been crowed out or lost altogether.”

“Once at home, I found myself responding to that same gentle urge. Maybe I won’t turn on the TV just yet. This inclination spread to all my electronic entertainment. Not checking email quite so often, resisting the urge to browse YouTube. The result? A richer creative energy and a more prolific output. Without a lot of technology on my brain, ideas for my writing arise more easily and stick around longer…”

 Tech Check, Highlighter (Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Newsletter), Fall 2017.

Stage Fright is Your Friend

Joy Jones writes: “Pick up a pen and your prose flows. Place your hands at the keyboard and your fingers fly, forming fine phrases. But ask you to speak before and audience? Your brain freezes and your heart fails.”

“School visits, book talks and writing workshops help you generate additional income for your writing career. A book signing where you do a presentation rather than loiter behind a table will be far less boring and will motivate more people to buy your books.”

“But what to do about that knee-knocking terror that strikes you when you think about facing an audience?”

“Well, I’m here to tell you that stage fright is your friend. That uncomfortable, uneasy feeling you get at the prospect of delivering a speech is actually a great thing. Here are a few user-friendly ways to think about stage fright…”

Stage Fright is Your Friend, Highlighter (Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Newsletter), Winter 2013.

State of Black Marriage

Read Joy Jone’s report on marriage in Black America, published in the March 2011 issue of Ebony:

Joy Jones, Black Love: Special Report: “State of Black Marriage,” Ebony, March 2011, pp. 72-73.

Why Are Black Women Scaring Off Their Men?
Have you met this woman? She has a good job, works hard, earns a good salary. She went to college, got her master’s degree; she is intelligent. She is personable, articulate, well-read, interest in everybody and everything. Yet, she’s single!   In a Washington Post opinion piece, Joy Jones explains why black women may be scaring off their men:

Joy Jones, “Why Are Black Women Scaring Off Their Men?” The Washington Post, September 1, 1991.