Overcoming the fear of public speaking (speaking anxiety) will change your personal and professional life forever! -Linnaea
Public speaking anxiety. It is huge. It is rampant.
Many national surveys show that public speaking ranks within top 3 fears – often cited as the #1 fear. Overcoming public speaking fear is possible. I know. The video below is of me. I am a person with a physical disability – I am hearing impaired. I was terrified to get up and talk with my “accent.” But I did it. And I’m glad I did.
It is a fear to be rid of and an art to master.
If I can do it, you can do it too! Overcoming the fear of public speaking and mastering the art is what this site is all about.
These are what I believe are the top 5 reasons why we fear public speaking:
1) NEGATIVE PAST EXPERIENCE The most common reason we have such a difficult overcoming public speaking fear is that we were put in a situation where we had to speak without knowledge about what the experience may be like. The fears that may crop up. The physical sensations. And no tips for how you might deal with these fears and sensations. The result? A negative experience stored in deep in your psychic that can paralyze efforts to give public speaking another try.
2) SELF-ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION BASED ON OUR PERFORMANCE We tend to judge our value and self-worth on how we perform and how we are accepted. So, not measuring up to our or other’s standards can be totally demoralizing. Since there are so many involuntary circumstances that can make us feel inadequate, why SEEK one out like public speaking?
3) FEELING NERVOUS In my 20 plus years as a Toastmaster and professional speaker, I have found that when asked to speak, many people respond with, “Oh, I could never do that! I’d be too jittery.” Actually, it seems that the feeling of unease itself constitutes a large part of the fear of speaking. People just don’t want to feel those heebie-jeebies. While it may FEEL like you are going to faint or lose your lunch, I’ve yet to see that actually happen. And I’ve seen hundreds of inexperienced speakers.
4) FORGETTING PARTS, OR ALL, OF OUR TALK No doubt about it, having a memory lapse while talking to an audience is not a very comfortable experience. It can happen if you attempt to memorize your entire speech. Not something I recommend or do.
5) AUDIENCE WILL LAUGH OR BOO YOU. Seriously, I’ve only seen this happen in movies or in political debates – both of which the participants are prepared for that!
This entire site provides tips that can manage or even assuage these top five reasons.
HERE IS MY SHORT AND SWEET REBUTTAL AND TIP TO THE TOP 5
1) NEGATIVE PAST EXPERIENCE The most effective way to overcome the past negative experience is to get coaching and give it another try. KISS can also mean “Knowledge Inspires Speaking Success.” Knowing what to expect and what to do about it is half the battle. Doing it is the other half. Toastmasters International is probably the safest and surest way to face and conquer the aftermath of that bad past experience.
2) SELF-ACCEPTANCE/REJECTION BASED ON OUR PERFORMANCE This cultural curse of basing our value on our performance of acceptance from others is so pervasive; it affects all areas of our lives, not just public speaking. I highly recommend the Robert Ellis book titled “Guide to Rational Living” as a tool to learn how to be happy independent of any circumstances. The tools in this book will help you talk down the beliefs raping your mind when preparing to face the fear of public speaking.
3) FEELING NERVOUS Truth is, those feelings are there because you care. Three ways to combat nervousness (besides recognizing it is a good thing) are: a. Take a few Deep Breaths before standing to speak, and one more before speaking b. Practice the talk at least 7 times before you deliver it. c. Don’t try to memorize your talk.
4) FORGETTING PARTS, OR ALL, OF YOUR TALK a. Don’t try to memorize your speech. You don’t have to read it either. Pausing to look down at your notes and then looking up to resume your talk is a VERY effective way to deliver your talk because you are employing the power of the pregnant pause. b. Talk about what you know about. And what do you know best, YOUR personal experiences, or the experiences of others that you have witnessed. When you do THAT you harness the power of ,storytelling a major component of being an effective speaker.
5) AUDIENCE WILL LAUGH AT OR BOO YOU Unless you are facing a hostile audience with bad news, audiences WANT you to succeed. I’ve yet to witness an audience outright laugh or boo a speaker off stage. If a speaker is struggling, the audience is usually silently (and sometimes outwardly) encouraging you to succeed. Think about it, did you laugh or boo at someone who was struggling on stage? Not unless you, or your associates, insensitive, insecure jerks!
These tips just scratch the surface of what you can do to conquer your fear and master the incredible skill of public speaking.
I can tell you from my personal experience and the experiences of hundreds of others, BECOMING A PROFICIENT AND CONFIDENT PUBLIC SPEAKER CAN AND WILL CHANGE ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE.
Material is continuously be added to this site to help you in overcoming public speaking fear. Do subscribe to the feed so you can benefit from the wealth of “Keep It Simple,Silly” tips for overcoming the fear and mastering the art of public speaking.