Public Speaking Courses in Melbourne, Victoria

Public speaking courses are commonplace in Melbourne, but only some are explicitly tailored to meet the needs of those who experience debilitating anxiety when participating in meetings and/or giving presentations.

Melbourne Clinical Psychologist, Catherine Madigan, understands that some people are more than just a little bit anxious about presentations. You have a social phobia and therefore you might be able to get a Medicare rebate for your individual and group classes by consulting your general practitioner to see if you are eligible for a mental health care plan. Read More

Public Speaking Tips

  • Remember that it is normal to experience some degree of public speaking anxiety when engaging in presentations and that a certain amount of arousal actually facilitates performance.
  • Rehearse your speech or presentation. Should you be concerned about your mannerisms, eye contact and so forth, practice giving your speech in front of a mirror or get someone to videotape your performance.
  • Should you be worried that your public speaking anxiety will lead to your mind going blank, write down the key points of your talk on palm cards and take them with you, so you will have something to trigger your memory.
  • Remember that public speaking is only one aspect of your job, personal or university life. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so if  anxiety is making presentations difficult for you, rest assured that you have other areas where you are talented. You can’t be good at everything so don’t place unreasonable expectations of perfection on yourself. You probably wouldn’t expect your best friend to be perfect so how about being you own best friend and giving yourself a break.
  • Don’t panic and don’t get argumentative or defensive if someone in the audience asks you a question you can’t answer, or makes a critical comment. This situation can be handled smoothly and with minimum disruption to your presentation if you pay the person a genuine compliment.

When someone is attacking what you have presented, tell yourself that it may be that they are insecure and jealous that you are in the spotlight getting the attention that they crave and:

1. Make sure you praise them.

This will flatter him and hopefully take the wind out of his sails (Burns,1999).
Difficult questions For example, if someone has asked you a difficult question say “That’s an excellent question Thankyou for asking it”. If you can’t answer it then say “I’ll have to look into that and get back to you….” Likewise, if someone has made a critical comment thank him for drawing the point to your attention. Refraining from getting defensive and argumentative will help you to come across well to the audience as a friendly person who is open to feedback.

2. Find Some Point of Agreement With Your Challenger

Agree with the person on some level. Again you have to resist your gut instinct to get defensive and argumentative. Finding some point of agreement, however small, with your challenger, helps you appear to be an open minded person to the audience.(Burns,1999).
Try to anticipate the tricky questions or critical comments that people may make about your presentation and prepare appropriate responses; remembering to compliment the person for their question/comment and to find some point of agreement with them, no matter no minor (Burns,1999).

What is Performance Anxiety / Stage Fright?

Stage fright or performance anxiety is fear and anxiety triggered by the requirement to appear in front of an audience. Sufferers of this condition may experience anticipatory anxiety for days and even weeks before their scheduled  presentation or appearance. Sufferers may find that their distress persists up to and during their performance, and adversely affects their functioning. Stage fright sufferers may find they are experiencing symptoms  such as: profuse sweating, shaking, dizziness, faintness, racing heartbeat, palpitations, nausea, dry mouth etc. Some peoples’ fear is so severe that they have a full blown panic attack when required to appear in front of an audience. Read More

How to Build Self Confidence

Here are a few suggestions:

1. There is a saying “Fake it till you make it” and certainly you can appear more confident by acting in a confident manner.

Appropriate body language is very important if you wish to appear confident. Focus on making eye contact with other people, offer to shake hands and do so with a firm grip, stand up straight, do not slouch, do not fidget, and do not fold your arms across your body when around other people. Read More

Job Interview Anxiety Tips

Job interview anxiety is natural and normal and a certain amount of it will actually enhance your performance.   If you looked too relaxed in an job interview, the panel might assume you didn’t care whether or not you got the position. You may also be surprised to read that some employers feel anxious about conducting interviews! Read More

Children and Social Anxiety

Social Phobia tends to start during adolescence. According to Montgomery (1995), approximately 40% of social phobias start before the age of 10 and approximately 95% before the age of 20. The early onset of social phobia can have serious consequences for a child’s social and academic development. If left untreated, social anxiety can lead to increased risk of: alcoholism, drug abuse, developing further psychological problems and even suicide. Therefore, it is important not to dismiss a child’s anxiety by saying they’ll grow out of their excessive shyness /self consciousness as many will not without (1) appropriate assistance from other people such as parents, other family members and teachers and (2) treatment by a mental health professional.

Read More

Medicare Rebates for Psychology Treatment

Medicare rebates are now available for both individual and group  psychological therapy provided you have a recognised psychological condition.

You need to get your GP to refer you for psychological services under a GP Mental Health Care Plan if you wish to obtain the rebate for up to 10 individual sessions and/or 10 group sessions per calendar year.

The rebate for clinical psychological services is $124.50 for 50 minute individual therapy sessions. The fee for a standard 50 minute session with Catherine Madigan is $185.00 so your out of pocket expense is only  $60.50.


To ensure that your Medicare Rebate is available you must:

  • bring a referral letter  stipulating the number of sessions you can have , e.g. six, from your doctor  to your first session.
  • bring a copy of your mental health treatment plan to your first session.
  • ensure that the referral letter stipulates individual and/or group therapy if you intend on doing group therapy.

If you do not bring the correct paperwork to your appointment you will not be able to get the Medicare rebate.

Private Health Fund Rebates

PLEASE NOTE: Psychologists are able to offer you private health fund rebates if you have extras cover. Depending upon your health fund, you may be eligible for rebates for both individual and group therapy. These rebates significantly reduce the cost of your treatment. If you are unsure what your entitlements are, you are advised to check with your health fund before commencing treatment. You are not entitled to claim both your Medicare rebate and your private health fund rebate for any one given psychological session, you either claim under Medicare or under your private health fund, but not both.

Famous People who suffer from Anxiety & Depression

Donny Osmond

American singer, Donny Osmond, who had his first major hit Puppy Love in 1972 and starred in the TV show Donny and Marie from 1976-1978 suffers from anxiety. Donny had stage fright and experienced a panic attack during a performance in 1994.

Read More

Emerging From Social Anxiety

For those who suffer from a social phobia there’s always a dark cloud overhead about to rain on their parade, writes the War Cry.

We have all, at one time or another, suffered from a bad (and ill timed) case of nerves before a social or professional event.

Maybe it accompanied our first foray into public speaking or our first big birthday party, however, most of us find that after a while we get used to the situation, and are able to control our nerves. Yet for some people within our community the thought of having to place themselves in social situations can make them physically ill. Unsurprisingly, such people suffer from something known as ” social phobia”.

Read More

Social Phobia

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Imagine going through your whole life constantly fearing others opinions of you, saying things just seek the approval of your peers and being scared to go out in public for fear people are scrutinising your every move.

“I thought that was life. It was for me for years, but luckily now I know better,” says Sarah who suffers from social phobia. Read More