Do You Fear Public Speaking?
Oh, the infamous fear of public speaking…Sweaty palms. Heavy breathing. The nervous feeling in the pit of your gut.
“What if I forget?” “What if the crowd thinks I’m an idiot?” “Can I even do this? I feel like a fraud!”
These are just a few of the words that torment the mind of those with a fear of public speaking. But folks, you are not alone!
In fact, according to Psycom around 75 percent of the world has glossophopia – aka a fear of public speaking.
So what can we do about it?
Face Your Fears
If you read our article on the “Growth Mindset for Communication” you may recall that the difficulty level at which we learn has a massive impact on the rate of our learning. In fact, pushing ourselves too far impedes our learning process. In addition, it also causes us anxiety – which often can be translated into fear.
Okay, what am I getting at?
In short, if public speaking in front of crowds is so terrifying for you that you can’t imaging doing it, then I advocate not putting yourself in front of a massive crowd right off the bat. I am not saying don’t face your fears (in the “Growth Mindset for Communication” article we also see that not pushing ourselves enough also impedes growth). Instead, I am saying is find the balance.
Okay, sounds great, but how do we strike a balance?
Highway To The (Kind Of) Danger Zone
Time to use our imagination.
Let’s look at two points – the first is where we are comfortable with public speaking. Let’s say not at all! We feel most comfortable not drawing attention to ourselves in no way shape or form.
Next, let’s imagine where we want to be! Let’s go with giving a presentation in front of 1,000 people.
Conventional wisdom says we should just get up on stage and do it! Don’t get me wrong, if you muster up the courage to do so and succeed, that will certainly mitigate your fear of public speaking. However, let’s face it – not too reliable a strategy for most folks.
Instead, let’s ask ourselves what the “halfway point” is. Perhaps that means speaking to a small group of strangers. Still too frightening?
No biggie! Just ask yourself the same question, but in relation to your current “halfway point”. What is a good medium between not presenting at all to presenting to a small group of strangers? How about presenting to one or two friends? If that’s still too much, no worries!
What about assisting somebody in their presentation by flipping their slides? Or a smaller step is giving a presentation to yourself in the mirror. Another could be reading about presentation skills and mastering them by yourself. If that’s the case, check out our Amazon #1 Bestseller “Written Word Crash Course” here!
Point of the matter is facing your fears doesn’t have to be frightening in itself. In fact, approaching it in digestible chunks is an effective method! Read more about it here!
There’s a lot worse out there than fear – particularly not growing to your full potential.
When in doubt, remember the powerful words of Franklin D Roosevelt –
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”