Do People Fear Public Speaking More Than Death?

The answer is “Yes,” according to the well-known Bruskin-Goldring Survey. However, successfully speaking at an HOA annual meeting, or any HOA meeting, is achievable with preparation. With this article we are going to hit some of the key points to aid in the task of public speaking.


Make brief notes or an outline of what you are going to discuss.


For example:


– Welcome and thank everyone for coming to the annual meeting. (Intro)

– New HOA front entrance sign and flowers (1st topic)

– New clubhouse carpeting and painting (2nd topic)

– Plans for next year – tree trimming (3rd topic)

– Spring festival and the need for volunteers (4th topic)

– Thank everyone again for coming (Close)


An outline is a simple, straightforward and, most importantly, an effective method of delivering a talk in an efficient and precise manner. The outline needs to be brief to just provide a “point of reference” to aid in the flow of the overall talk.


Never write out your talk.


How most people write is very different than how people speak. Detailed discussion points if memorized from written text and repeated can come off as flat when delivered. Also, trying to remember written text can cause unneeded stress and cause the speaker to fumble.


Never memorize your talk word for word.


A canned presentation is exactly that, a canned and boring talk. The end result is the talk commonly comes off as robotic and monotonous. A memorized talk is often forgotten by the speaker just before they begin to speak.


Use examples in your talk.

Giving an example or telling a brief story within your talk can make a presentation much more memorable. Examples or brief stories help the audience grasp certain points and help them focus during a talk. For instance; “A real estate agent was speaking with our HOA manager and told her that the new front entrance sign and flowers made a very positive impact on prospective buyers.” Short and pointed examples can add color and provide recall to the listeners.


Be an expert in what you are talking about.


While the old adage, an expert is anyone from out of town, is humorous, serving on a board of directors can make you an expert regarding the board’s actions and considerations. Keeping in mind that you probably know more than the majority of the membership about the particulars of the HOA should provide you a level of confidence for your talk. Know enough about what you are going to speak about so that your confidence and abilities shine through.


Practice your talk over and over.


The old joke; “One day, after a rehearsal that had not gone well for legendary violinist Mischa Elman, he was exiting Carnegie Hall by the backstage entrance. Just then he was approached by two tourists looking for the hall’s main entrance. Seeing his violin case, they asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without hesitation and continuing on his way, Elman simply replied, “Practice, Practice, Practice.”

Of all the points in this article, practice is the key to a successful talk. For every 10 minutes of planned speaking, at a minimum, one hour of practice and preparation should be put forth. Practicing with other board members or family or even a mirror is time well spent.


“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect”. – Coach Vince Lombardi


Regarding the fear of public speaking.


It helps to grasp that the fear of public speaking only occurs from the time when you find out you are going to have to publically speak up until you begin your talk. If you have practiced and prepared sufficiently, the fear should dissipate quickly once you begin speaking.



William Douglas Management, providing excellent management services to HOAs and condominium associations since 1980.


Copyright 2018 William Douglas Management, Inc.