Video: The Fear of Public Speaking – WHY?



Fred Miller, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!”

The premise of all these videos, and my mantra, is: “Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities!”

People who take and make Speaking Opportunities: grow their Businesses, Advance their Careers, and Increase their Leadership Roles. No one has ever challenged that!

Why would they!

This is the second in a series of videos about the Fear Public Speaking!

Survey after survey lists The Fear of Public Speaking at the top of the ‘Fear List’ most people have. Some say they would rather die than stand in front of an audience and deliver a speech. This is unfortunate because it holds many back from reaching their potential.

Up to seventy-five percent of the population, to one degree, or another, has this dread.

There’s even a word for it – Glossophobia. Glosso from the Greek, meaning tongue, and Phobus, fear. Important to note here, is glossophobia is a w-o-r-d, not a disease, and it can be lessened!

It is a fear worth confronting and overcoming.

You might be the world’s leading authority on a subject, but if you can’t present that expertise to others in a manner that educates, entertains, and explains it well, you won’t achieve the goals that should be yours!

Sometimes this Fear is Situational.

  • Size of Audience.
    • Speaking one-on-one is something we do all the time. What about speaking with five people? Ten people? What number in the audience makes someone nervous.
    • A good analogy is a Fear of Heights.
      • Standing on a step stool is not a big deal.  A step ladder is okay.  Climbing a twenty-four foot extension ladder to clean out my gutters – not me!
  • Specific People in the Audience.
    • Maybe speaking with audiences is easy until – your boss, coworkers, or spouse is seated in the front row. – “Yikes!”
  • If a Request is to be made.
    • Presenting might usually produce little angst unless the attendees will be asked to do something the speaker is uncomfortable asking. This could be appealing for a donation, asking to sign a petition, or inviting people to pledge something.

I hear it continually from my coaching clients, and I’m sure we agree, not having that fear, and taking Speaking Opportunities, is a worthy goal.

Before we talk about how to lessen the fear it’s important to understand Why? so many people dread giving a presentation.

My first response is, “Why not!”

Think about it. Most of our conversations are one-on-one. Many of those are on a phone where we don’t see the person we’re communicating with. Increasingly, we converse by texting or emailing people. Those mediums eliminate seeing and hearing the other person.

It stands to reason that standing in front of, and speaking with twenty, forty, or one hundred sets of eyeballs, is ‘out of our comfort zone.’ That’s a big reason we’re uncomfortable giving a presentation. (Relevant to Public Speaking, and other activities we avoid: “When we get out of our Comfort Zone we make it larger!”)

That uncomfortableness will, if presenting regularly, eventually lessen.

There are several very real reasons to have a Fear of Public Speaking.

  1. If you don’t know what you’re speaking about!
    • Don’t get in front of an audience and talk about something you have little or no knowledge of. That activity, rightfully so, will give you anxiety.
    • Study the subject and know enough to have confidence in your competence on your topic.
  • If you don’t know the structure of a presentation.
    • Just as the recipe for a delicious cake dictates specific ingredients are added in specific amounts at specific times; there is a proven structure to a great presentation.
    • You can learn this.
  • If you haven’t practiced before the event.
    • Practicing is not optional!

Then there are the “What Ifs?”

  • What if the audience doesn’t like me?
  • What if the speaker they had last month was really, really, good and compared to them I stink!
  • What if I forget something? I must be perfect!
  • Then there is, perhaps, the biggest What if?
    • What if I’ve got nothing to talk about? What could I ever present to an audience that anyone would have an interest in hearing? (I often hear in the public speaking classes I teach.)

This is where we’ll pick up the discussion in the next video.

Till then, make next presentation – NO SWEAT!


For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts:

An Elevator Speech Template and an Elevator Speech Worksheet. 
(Who hasn’t struggled with their Elevator Speech!)

Go to: http://www.nosweatpublicspeaking.com/elevator-speech-template to receive it!
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About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“No Sweat Public Speaking!”
Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.
They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality, and we rather deal with Experts.

They also know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.

He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –

Fred E. Miller

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  1. Too many of us fear “the judgement of others.” We often convince ourselves that we should be afraid of the audience’s judgements or snap decisions based on how we look or speak. That’s a big hurdle for many people that they have a hard time overcoming. You have to have the right attitude about what other people think. Many of us assume too much and expect audiences to be hostile or critical, and that’s very foolish of us. But if you cultivate an attitude of “these are just other human beings like me, and they want to hear my message,” you can remove that fear-barrier.

  2. Fred E. Miller says:

    Excellent comment, Anthony!

    Thanks for posting it!

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