Public Speaking Anxiety Is Common
Ask just about anyone and they could probably give you a list as long as their arm of things they’d rather do than get up in front of an audience and talk. Public speaking anxiety affects an estimated three-quarters of the population and not many bother learning how to get over it.
Public speaking training can help, that’s true, but most of the fear people have is rooted in a poor mindset. They allow themselves to be overcome with fear because they focus on the fear.
Public speaking isn’t as scary as you think it is. We love public speaking! And through our public speaking training workshops, we teach others to love it, too—and to see it as an opportunity to advance their careers and improve their business and personal relationships.
Your Fear of Public Speaking Revealed
Let’s get one thing straight: No one is actually afraid of public speaking except maybe some extreme introverts. Generally speaking though, those who say they are afraid of public speaking are not truly afraid of opening their mouths and saying something out loud so others can hear. (That’s public speaking. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a friend over lunch or addressing an entire auditorium—it’s all the same.)
What people are afraid of is being humiliated. Forgetting their speech, making mistakes, boring the audience—the end result is humiliation. That fear of humiliation is what holds them back.
What if we told you even if you forgot your speech or messed up your presentation, it’s okay? Because the truth is, a lot of people forget their speech. A lot of people make mistakes. And here’s an even bigger truth: Most of the time, no one even notices.
Public Speaking Won’t Kill You
Public speaking really isn’t scary. You open your mouth, words come out, that’s it. But getting up in front of a group of people and opening yourself up to judgment and ridicule…now that’s terrifying.
But what if you take the fear of being judged out of the equation? How would you feel about public speaking then? If you knew no one in the audience would judge you—even if you completely messed up—would you still be afraid?
We can’t promise you that the people in your audience won’t judge you, but we can tell you this: You can’t control what other people think anymore than they can control what you think, so stop worrying about it!
There is a quote that goes something like this: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” It’s so true. People will think whatever they want and there’s not a thing you can do to change it. So instead of wasting your energy worrying about what your audience is thinking about you, focus on what you’re saying. That alone makes public speaking way less scary.
Death By Public Speaking?
Think back to something you’ve done or experienced that was really scary. For thrill-seekers it might be bungee jumping or paragliding, but it could be something you had no control over, like getting into an accident. And yet here you are: You’ve lived to tell about a nerve-wracking or scary experience that was far worse than public speaking could ever be.
Put your fear of public speaking into perspective. There’s no physical danger involved in doing it, and you’ve probably done something in your life that was much worse. When you think of it that way, public speaking really isn’t all that scary. Plus, the more you do it, the better and more confident you’ll be.
Public Speaking Is Your Chance
Do you know why else public speaking isn’t as scary as you think? Because it allows you to influence and motivate people. Think about it: You’ve got someone’s attention for a specific period of time. This is your chance to show them how your product or service is the answer their problems. This is the time to enlighten them with knowledge that will make a difference in their lives.
Public speaking is an opportunity, not a punishment. The quicker you realize that, the sooner you can use your public speaking skills to advance your career, make more money, and strengthen your relationships.
Public Speaking Isn’t Scary
So there you have it: Three reasons why public speaking isn’t scary. Can you think of others? Share them with us in the Comments section. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ where we are always posting great tips and advice to improve your public speaking skills.