I’ve often been asked why do people fear public speaking.
Over the years I have been speaking and training and overcoming my own fear of speaking I have discovered there are several reasons – most of which come down to mindset, perceptions, lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence. I’ve grouped these reasons into four categories:
Fear of the Unknown: You haven’t got up to speak before. This is your first time and you just don’t know what to expect. You’ve never written a speech before and you don’t know how to start it, how to construct it or how to end it. You’ve never used a microphone before – what is going to happen, where you do you put the lapel mike, how do hold a hand held mike and speak at the same time.
You’ve never been on stage before – where do you stand, what do you do. You’ve never been asked to speak at a conference – what’s the procedure, do you just turn up, who introduces you, where do you sit.
The fear of the unknown creeps in very easily and often can paralyse you. I won’t do that because I don’t know what is going to happen!
Fear of Rejection: You are worried about what your peers will think when they hear you speak, your information, your message. It may be different to what they were expecting – they are not going to like it or you. What will the audience think – they don’t want to hear your message, they won’t like you, they may walk out. People may discover you don’t know everything, you are the expert – you should know everything – you will be found out.
That little voice in your head that says they won’t like me. We all desire to be liked. It’s a barrier that can grow bigger and bigger – if you let it.
Fear of Failure: You’re going to forget what to say. You will get up to speak and your mind will go blank and you won’t be able to continue – I will fail. You’ve done it before, got up and spoke and it didn’t work – it fell flat, you forgot your words, you left stuff out and then you sat down and thought I failed again. You’ve seen others have a bad time speaking, seen them forget their words, seen how nervous and stressed they have been – you aren’t going to do something like that – I will fail just like them. You don’t have speaking and presentation skills, it won’t work, it will sound wrong and you will look wooden, you will read your presentation, your voice will be monotone – I will fail.
Fear of failure that insidious little voice that says don’t do this because you will fail.
Fear of Success
Surprisingly this occurs quite often. You might actually do okay, the audience likes you, the organisers like you. Oh no you will get asked back again and you will have to do the whole thing over. The pressure will be too great. It can’t actually be true you are not ready for success. You will wake up and it will all be a disaster. So no you will not open that door to success in case you actually succeed.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are some of these reasons resonating with you? Which fear best describes your situation?
As I said at the beginning most of these fears are due to mindset, perceptions, lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence.
The first step in your journey to overcome that fear of speaking is to know yourself and your fears and what the cause is.
Then you can start to put some strategies and techniques into place to change your mindset, overcome perceptions, gain knowledge, confidence and self-belief. And that is the subject of another post.
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Multi International Award Winner Speaking Mentor, Coach
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Clients work with Trish because they know she can help them have the confidence and self-belief to leverage their business with speaking and communication. Trish typically works with introverts, authors and advocates helping them to have the confidence to step up and share their message with those who need to hear it. Believe Act Share and become empowered for success become the Influencer you want to be.
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