Why you may fear public speaking and how you can overcome it
Truth be told, more people fear public speaking than not. Ten percent of the U.S. population love the stage, ten percent have glossophobia which means the fear of public speaking is debilitating and eighty percent feel the fear but know they will live through it.
If you are like most people, having to speak in the spotlight can be nerve wrecking. You may lose sleep, perspire excessively, have feelings of weakness and even shortness of breath. You may feel as if you want to die but you know you can get through it.
However, the way you get through it is probably the huge concern for you. You wonder if people will listen, how you will come across, whether you will go blank and embarrass yourself. If no one gives you positive feedback, you assume you were not that good and if people say you were, you don’t believe them.
People who fear the podium often miss the opportunity to be impactful or influential, because their goal is to get it over with, instead of delivering a powerful message. One of my clients asked what to do if you really are not passionate about the content you have been asked to present. For instance, suppose you were invited to a very important meeting to give a report on your department in front of your company’s board. You may think, this is not a motivational speech that has to be powerful, it’s simply a report on the facts. This may be true, however giving your presentation just to get it over with is a missed opportunity.
Reframing your objective will significantly impact your delivery. Suppose you used this opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for your role in the organization, or to demonstrate the progress of the team, or to show how your department supports the objectives of the organization. Create your own ‘why’.
View speaking as an opportunity instead of an intimidating task. Think about it, whenever you are asked to speak it is because someone feels you have something of value to say and you probably do. They are giving you the floor. Too often, we do not benefit by hearing from the people with the most substance.
A lot of people I coach do not like to speak because they do not want to be like ‘that person’ who always has way too much to say. They loathe the boisterous, the long winded or the attention starved. In their resolve to never be ‘that way’ they move to the opposite side of the spectrum and avoid speaking at all cost.
Being invisible does not serve you either. Learning to present value that can benefit others is admirable. My suggestion for you today is to use whatever platform you are invited, to serve others the best you can bring to the table.
If you would like help to overcome your fear, send me an email for information on my upcoming small group workshop.
• Kim Welcome is the CEO and founder of Influential Voice. She assists businesses and professionals to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills to increase their impact and influence. Her clients range from the country’s largest and most prestigious employers to public figures and individual professionals. Feel free to contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.