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Stand Up and Be Heard

Stand Up and Be Heard
Taking the Fear Out of Public Speaking at University

First Edition
  • Rob Grieve - University of West of England, Bristol, UK
Additional resources:

December 2019 | 160 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Public speaking is an integral skill not only in study but in life, yet giving presentations, oral assessments, or even talking in groups is a terrifying prospect for many students. This book is filled with tips and tricks cultivated through Rob Grieve’s experience in running public speaking workshops at university. 

Taking the fear out of public speaking at university, he teaches you how to develop your public speaking skills and build your confidence; so whether you’re giving a presentation or just talking with friends you can face the situation without fear. 

With a unique focus on ‘authenticity’ over perfection, Stand Up and be Heard:

  • Helps you identify and understanding your fear; what is it that you are most afraid of? How does this fear manifest
  • Provides practical exercises and strategies that will help you manage your fear 
  • Teaches you the benefits of ‘authentic’ speaking and relying on your own voice and personality
  • Offers checklists, step-by-step guidance and student testimonials to support your growth.

Student Success is a series of essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to boosting your employability and managing your wellbeing, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university. 

Chapter 1. Fear of Public Speaking
Chapter 2. Authenticity, Not Perfection
Chapter 3. Strategies to be Authentic – Part 1
Chapter 4. Strategies to be Authentic – Part 2
Chapter 5. Remember the Basics
Chapter 6. Non-verbal Techniques
Chapter 7. Practice and Preparation
Chapter 8. The Benefits of Standing Up and Being Heard


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This much-needed book will be highly valued by very many university students – and indeed by all sorts of other people who have occasion to stand up in public and speak. It is terrific to have such authoritative words of wisdom and experience from a practitioner who has faced and overcome the problems that very many people share about speaking in public. I too remember the intense dread I experienced as a teenager when it was my turn to read out the biblical extract to school assembly for four days! This was probably the most daunting experience of my life, and it took me a great deal of time, practice and patience to become able to walk in happily to do conference keynotes, and to enjoy reactions, and indeed play with the audience. Fear of public speaking is a widely shared phenomenon, yet is relatively rarely addressed properly at university, where students can suffer enormously when the time comes round for them to stand up and be heard. It’s every bit as serious a problem as exam stress, and affects the success of at least as many students. At last, here is the book which comforts, guides, and addresses the fears and emotions which very many people experience with speaking. Rob Grieve shares his passion, enthusiasm and experience on every page. A must for students – and many others. 

Phil Race
Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University and Emeritus Professor at Leeds Beckett University

Public speaking skills are now a requirement for many programs (and indeed for many careers), but students can feel overwhelmed. This book sets up a focused strategy to overcome fear of public speaking.  Following the exercises in each chapter will undoubtedly improve skills and confidence. It is a must read for students - and others - who want to be more effective and authentic speakers.

Deborah Johnston
ProDirector (Learning and Teaching), SOAS University of London

The anxiety caused by public speaking affects many of us in the wider population but for students this can be exacerbated when it impacts on grades and self-esteem. This research informed book offers strategies to overcome these anxieties, enabling full participation in student activities such as seminars, group work, asking questions in lectures and delivering presentations. These strategies will also provide life skills, developing confidence to tackle some of the day to day activities which many of us take for granted. 

Rob writes this book from an authentic perspective as someone who has experienced a stammer since childhood. He shares the techniques he has developed throughout his academic career which have been seen to reduce angst by participants in his workshops. 

Working though the study guide will provide the reader with tried and tested approaches which other students have found useful. The key message is that you are not alone; there is support available and this book may be the start of that journey to confidence. 

The book offers an invaluable insight, for academic and student support staff, into the fear felt by some students of public.  It serves as a timely reminder when we seek alternative and creative ways of assessing work in our universities. 

We all need to “Stand up and be heard” at times, be it buying a car or negotiating a contract, there are useful tips which we can all benefit from within this book.

Sally Bradley
Sheffield Hallam University

In eight chapters of tightly structured, deliberately repetitive prose, Grieve urges the potential public speaker to be 'authentic at all costs'...
It will encourage you to remember the point of public speaking, which is to inform and entertain, to pass on information; to remember an audience is no more interested in the fluency of a speaker than they are in their accent or dress sense.

Jon Horne
Volunteer Librarian, Stamma

Very clearly written book which takes the reader in a systematic way through things to think about to support becoming a confident speaker. I thought the activities, opportunities for reflection and checklists were all really helpful. Now an essential text for helping our apprentices with the skills needed for presenting in their end point assessment!

Mrs Lynda Hughes
Department of Sociological Studies, Sheffield University
May 18, 2021

A lot of my students report having high levels of anxiety when it comes to public speaking/ presenting research. Since takling these issues is only one rather short aspect of my course, but something that is on my participants' minds, I recommend this book as a very helpful resource.

Ms Sophie Charlotte Haring
Philosophy, Universität Passau
March 18, 2022

Essential book for undergraduate students to improve their presentation skills and analyse fears associated with it. it could be used for postgraduate and professionals too.

Mr Kassin Yakhlef
Nursing, NHS
February 18, 2020