Are you one of those people that has a fear of public speaking? You’re definitely not alone. But the truth is that communicating ideas and presenting them in an open forum is one of the essential parts of success in life.
Good public speakers are able to advance their careers, grow their businesses and form strong personal and professional collaborations.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the four major reasons why you, and others, are so afraid of public speaking.
The fear of speaking in public isn’t so much related directly to the quality of the speech you deliver. It stems from the way you think, feel and act when you’re faced with a public speaking requirement.
Anxiety and fear stem from the arousal of your autonomic nervous system as it responds to a potentially dangerous situation. When you’re confronted with the chance of a threat, your body begins to prepare for battle.
This type of hyperarousal leads you toward fear. It interferes with your ability to comfortably perform in front of your audience. As time goes on, it can prevent you from pursuing any public speaking opportunities whatsoever.
Research shows that people experience higher anxiety levels in various situations. These people are likely to feel anxiety and fear when it comes to public speaking. Generally speaking, individuals that are already predisposed to anxiety find it much more challenging to speak in public.
It’s easier to avoid it than to confront it.
2. Your Thoughts
What are your overall beliefs about speaking in public? How do you view yourself as a public speaker?
Fear can escalate when you overdramatize the stakes of communicating ideas and thoughts in front of a crowd. You might feel that if you fail, your credibility, reach and image could be threatened.
If you already have a negative view of yourself as a public speaker, your anxiety levels will climb as the event approaches.
Do you view public speaking as a time where you need to perform? In that case, you probably think that you need special skills to pull it off. You may even look at your audience as a panel of judges that are evaluating you as a presenter.
In direct contrast to this view, having communication orientation means that your major focus during a presentation is presenting information, expressing ideas or telling your story. Looking at public speaking in this light can help ease a lot of fear and anxiety.
As discussed, there are certain people who are more anxious by nature. There are also people that just don’t think they’re good at public speaking. However, consider how situations your feelings.
There are certain situations that are more likely to make you nervous to present in public than others.
One of these situations is when you have a lack of experience. Experience builds your confidence.
If you don’t have many stage hours in your back pocket, you’re likely to experience a fear of the unknown.
Another situation is degree of evaluation. If your engagement happens to involve speaking in front of a crowd that have evaluation forms to fill out when you’re done, you’ll probably have a heightened sense of anxiety.
Status differences also play a role. If you’re preparing to speak in front of a group of higher status than yourself, it can be very intimidating. Fear can be a very real feeling.
Presenting new ideas is another tough situation to face. If you’re about to share new ideas that have never been heard before, you’re probably afraid of how they’ll be received.
Lastly, consider how skilled you are.
Obviously, if you’ve never spoken in public, anxiety is a natural emotion. While you might be a good natural speaker, there’s always room to improve. Speakers that hone their skills are typically the speakers that stand out.
You Don’t Need to Be Afraid
The fear of public speaking is common. But it doesn’t need to be debilitating.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of where your fears come from and can work to overcome them.