How to Fight Your Fear of Speaking in Public
A Guide for Introverts
Do you find public speaking one of the most challenging things as a human being? If yes, you are not alone. Not everyone has the same ease when it comes to expressing themselves publicly. So what exactly makes us afraid of speaking in public? Let’s have a look:
What is Public Speaking?
Public speaking is the act of speaking in front of a group of people, either in a formal setting, as part of your job, or informally as part of a social event like a wedding, a birthday, or a seminar. Public speaking is valuable in many contexts, whether you’re looking to advance in your career, build your brand, or simply be a more well-rounded person. It is a skill that is almost vital to having a fulfilling life, regardless of your profession.
Why Do We Fear Public Speaking?
We fear what we don’t know. Public speaking is a skill that everyone must master at some level, whether you are a student, employee, entrepreneur, or just someone who wants to be more sociable. Let’s take a look at some common fears and how to overcome them.
What Are the Common Fears of Public Speaking?
- We have an Idea in our Mind of how it will go. When we are faced with the reality of the situation, we feel like we aren’t able to fulfill the expectations in our heads. We think, “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t know enough” and feel like we will be discovered as an imposter.
- We Fear being judged. This goes back to our childhood when we were criticized for everything we did and felt like we didn’t fit in. Now when we are asked to speak in public, we feel like we are being judged.
- Fear of being too boring. You might just be talking too much. Cut out the fluff and get to the point. Make sure you are keeping your audience engaged.
- Fear of being too interesting. This can happen if you are talking about something controversial or something people are very passionate about. Good public speaking is about bringing people together, not creating division.
- Fear of being too confident. This is the reverse of being too boring. There is nothing wrong with being a little nervous. When you look as if you are terrified, it can put your audience off.
Developing Your Public Speaking Skills Before the Big Day
Whether you are a student who gets asked to give a presentation or you are an employee who has to make sales pitches, the anxiety is real. But, you can’t just sit at home hoping that it goes away. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fear of public speaking and sound confident:
- Start small – Before you jump into the real thing, start with a small group – like a book club meeting or a group of friends. When you get more practice, you will get better.
- Practice your speech out loud – It is not enough to practice in your head. You will be surprised by how different it is when you say it out loud.
- Visualize what you want to feel before the event, you can trick your brain into making those feelings happen. When you are nervous, your brain releases adrenaline, which makes you feel uncomfortable and jittery.
- Notice the negative thoughts – You will probably have moments when you think “I can’t do this” or “I am going to fail”. When you notice these thoughts, acknowledge them, and then let them go.
Public speaking is not easy for anyone, but don’t let this fear control your life. It is important that you push yourself to overcome this fear and learn how to do it properly.
The author of this article is a therapist from the Sensera app. Sensera is a daily 10-minute self-therapy app. It’ll help you to cope with various mental problems (anxiety, self-esteem, relationship issues). Feel better with CBT audio sessions and exercises. Download now to become happier!