The Inner Critic In Public Speaking

The Inner Critic In Public Speaking

Maria Pellicanoconfident speaking, public speaking, voice

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes. Maggie Kuhn

Over the years, I have coached countless individuals both as singers and public speakers.

As a communication specialist and voice coach, I have discovered that the power of truly being present is a matter of the soul.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said “The human voice is the organ of the soul“.

Tonality, in Communication, is a subject that I am so passionate about, because the more that I coach individuals in this area,  both singers and speakers,  the more I see about the vulnerabilities that we all share and the courage required to truly be free and use our voice with confidence.

It is a really fascinating phenomenon to think that 75% of the population have a devastating fear of talking in front of other people.. it’s called glossaphobia,   however, it can also be an incredible comfort to know that you’re not alone in your inner battles.

Fear of public speaking is known as Glossophobia
Glossa comes from the greek word  language, tongue, speech. 

Learning the art of singing or speaking, requires you to come face to face with some of your biggest demons.. Sometimes called the “Shadow side” and for some “the dark night of the soul”.  It demands that you look at the fear that is standing in front of you and allow yourself with courage to see all the pieces that empower this overwhelming disempowering behaviour.

Time and time again, I see clients who are unable to speak freely when they are in a public environment.. Their voices are frozen due to the voices of their inner critic taking over.. that voice in their heads becoming so loud and telling them that they don’t sound good enough.. look good enough.. have enough preparation..

When the inner critic takes over and you are not aware of this, you lose the presence and power of your voice.   You become anxious and your body freezes, you lose your thoughts, become breathless and your voice starts to quiver.  Listen to this recording to find out how to empower your body in these times.

What happens to your body when you feel anxious

Learn about what happens in my video

The inner critic is an inner voice that we all have, chattering away in our heads.. Its a voice that speaks the language of that which we have learnt, usually from early childhood. The voices may take on the words of a parent, teacher or sibling and are a way that we can process our experiences of the world. 

The purpose of this inner critic has a positive intent, to help us move forward in development. However, often, as we get older, these voices can limit our experience. For example, if we had a parent who had very high standards, we can feel that nothing we put out into the world is ever good enough.   

"When we speak, our bodies speak. Our ancestors speak. Our bacteria speak. Our bodies are assemblages of other bodies, inseparable from the worlds and geologies and ecologies and materialities they are already entangled with. The communication theorists tried to think of an effective communicative event as the absence of noise, but language is inherently noisy and indirect. Every speech-act is teeming with many lives-deaths and many voices. Many other things are going on during an act of utterance that cannot be encoded as meaning.”   Bayo Akomolafe

So our inner critic is not just about us but often a result of our family system which is referred to family constellation.  

See Bert Hellinger’s founder Family Constellations

When we delve further into our inner critic origins, we can begin to notice that while our patterns have derived from our parents or caregivers, our parents have also had their own patterns developed from their parents and so on.. we begin to see that our families are all connected in a web of patterns, handed down through the generations. 

The inner critic has always a positive intention to keep us safe and to make sure we matter in life and because of this it demands our attention.   The behaviour of the critic is the part we want to adjust as it is limiting our confidence and freedom.  The voice of the inner critic is asking us to listen, be heard and to be healed. 

I have written a song that helped me reflect on my family constellation and how it impacted my life.  In the song I was able to see that my journey was similar to my father.   I was able to give myself some self-compassion so that I could heal the inner critic that was calling for my attention.

My song will be available to listen on all streaming platforms as at 20th August 2021.

What can you do from here?

To conclude, I have provided you with a few notes to help you move forward:

  1. Do not judge this inner critic voice in your head  because it has a positive intention of keeping you alive and valued. Instead accept where you’re at.. accept what is going on in your life and be mindful – This will help you build the confidence to accept your whole self.. all the good, functioning parts that are still wanting to be nurtured and healed.  
  1. Practice mindful moment of spaciousness thoughtlessness presence where you can stop and observe the inner critic, know that it is there and be able to speak to it, ask this part of you for the best intention it has.
  1. Attend to your inner self, have self-compassion and be patient – it takes time to address your inner voice and to find purpose in your life so you can feel confident when you speak to people.
  1. Don’t compare yourself to others, judge yourself or others because we are all unique and we all experience a shadow self, inner critic however we all manage this in different ways. To be confident means you have accepted both your strengths and weaknesses.  You are always improving and be happy to be just the way you are in the NOW moment.   Don’t strive for perfection as this is only fear.   Perfection is an illusion that has you chasing your tail and never arriving in a peaceful state. 


You are not alone in your fear of public speaking. Getting on stage is frightening enough for most people, and making your voice as engaging as possible is not something people master in a day. This is a skill that takes time, hard work, and patience.

If you would like to learn some techniques, watch this brief tutorial and sign up for a public speaking course 

The art of powerful communication - Maria Pellicano

To arrange a voice coaching sessions or to arrange a workplace workshop that will help you have a stronger speaking voice please contact me.

You can send me an audio message here or even get the first two chapters of my book, "The Art of Powerful Communication" for free

Two Free Chapters of my book
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