CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
Why Are We Scared of Public Speaking?
Communicating your ideas clearly and presenting them openly in a public forum is an essential component of success across several domains of life. Being a good public speaker can help you advance your career, grow your business, and form strong collaborations. It can help you promote ideas and move people to action on issues that affect them directly and society at large. To do any of these things well requires a fair amount of standing in front of an audience and delivering a pitch, an idea, or a body of work. And sometimes the only thing that stands between you and your audience is fear.
Glossophobia — a really cool and geeky name for the fear of public speaking — appears when you are performing or expecting to perform an oral presentation or a speech in front of other people. Fear of public speaking is frequently but incorrectly cited as people’s biggest fear. Fear of public speaking is often not people’s biggest fear; there are many other things that people are really scared of. Nevertheless, fear of public speaking is very common; approximately 25 percent of people report experiencing it.
While some people experience a debilitating form of glossophobia, even a mild form can have devastating effects. Fear of public speaking can prevent you from taking risks to share your ideas, to speak about your work, and to present your solutions to problems that affect many people — and as a result, it can affect how much you grow personally and professionally, and how much impact you can have. At the same time, any negative public speaking experiences will make it less likely that you will speak in public in the future — fear teaches you to protect yourself from risky situations.
Why are we afraid of public speaking?
Fear of public speaking is not so much related to the quality of a speech as it is to how the speaker feels, thinks, or acts when faced with speaking in public. There are many reasons why people become afraid when having to speak in public. The theories exploring fear of public speaking have identified four contributing factors:
Fear and anxiety involve the arousal of the autonomic nervous system in response to a potentially threatening stimulus. When confronted with a threat, our bodies prepare for battle. This hyperarousal leads to the emotional experience of fear, and it interferes with our ability to perform comfortably in front of audiences. Eventually, it prevents people from pursuing opportunities for public speaking.