The most common fear is the fear of public speaking, even greater than the fear of death!! I’m a curious person and want to assist everyone to achieve their greatness, so the fear of public speaking is a perfect fit for me to explore. Being an Anxiety Coach, I address many different situations, all rooted in fear and the beliefs that reinforce it. My work with the fear of public speaking has produced interesting insight on what creates most people’s fear and strategies to overcome it.
I have only met a few people that said they don’t get nervous speaking in public and enjoy the experience-that’s great for them:) Let’s focus on the majority of people that experience feelings of nervousness and avoid speaking opportunities. This creates a situation where 90% of people will tell you how nervous they get or how much they hate public speaking. Let’s think about it, if you’re nervous about speaking in public and most people you know confirm this belief, do you think this reinforces the association of fear and public speaking? You better believe it!
This is another common fear scenario that has you in front of an audience and will say something embarrassing. This creates tremendous anxiety as it’s commonly linked to a worst-case scenario of extreme embarrassment When I ask where this thought comes from, most of my clients recall a situation from their school years where they spoke in class and were laughed at. The school years are challenging for all of us and has significant impact on our beliefs and self-esteem…if we allow it.
Standing in front of an audience and completely forgetting what to say, is a situation that may make you nervous even reading this. This is what causes many people to completely script their presentations and spend hours trying to memorize it. The hours spent usually lead to stressed out and tired presenters as you’re so nervous that you just want to grind through the presentation and get it over with. This will lead to a great presentation..right?
* Yes, it’s true, you control this fear!! It may sound counter-intuitive, but you dictate the power the fear has over you and this the key to gain the power back
* While the fear may be common, it doesn’t mean you must follow the majority. How many people with a fear of public speaking have put any effort into overcoming it? Not many, most people will accept this fear as who they are and live with the consequences, this DOESN’T have to be you! Ask yourself if being afraid of public speaking is your belief or something you learned from hearing others tell you they are.
* The fear of embarrassing yourself and linking it to a school-age situation must also be challenged. Compare who you are now to the person you were back then. Were you an inexperienced speaker? Unsure of your identity? Chances are the answer is YES to both. These years are vital for our development and contribute to who we are today. You have changed and achieved a lot since them, don’t hold yourself back from success today because of a learning experience years ago.
* Spending hours memorizing will make you sound like a robot, people expect to see a human speak, one that may make a mistake on occasion. List out the most important points you want to address and fill in the supporting information. This will make your presentation better connect with the audience.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” -Neale Donald Walsch