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Why Do I Have A Fear Of Public Speaking?

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

In many areas of life, the ability to communicate your ideas and to present them in a public forum is essential. If you are good at public speaking, it can help you to grow your business, advance your career, and form a strong network. It can also help you to move people to act on important issues that affect both them and society at large. To do these things, you will have to spend time speaking in public to deliver your ideas or your pitch. Sometimes, fear of public speaking can stand between you and your target audience. At Premier Life Coaching, we can help people to overcome their fear of public speaking so they can derive more benefits in their lives and careers.

What is the fear of public speaking called?

The fear of public speaking is a very common phobia called glossophobia. It appears when you are either expected to give an oral presentation or are in the act of trying to give one. Glossophobia affects an estimated 25% of people. Having a fear of public speaking can keep you from sharing your ideas, talking about your job, and offering solutions to problems. It can hold you back from advancing in your career.

Why people are afraid of public speaking

Having a fear of public speaking is related to how you feel, think, or act when you must speak in public. There are multiple theories of what can cause you to fear public speaking. Four contributing factors have been identified, including the following:

  1. Physiology

  2. Thoughts

  3. Situations

  4. Skills

We will address each one below.

1. Physiology

When you experience fear, your autonomic nervous system is aroused because of a stimulus that you view to be potentially threatening. Our bodies prepare themselves when we are confronted with threats. The arousal of the autonomic nervous system causes you to experience fear and interferes with your ability to comfortably perform in front of an audience.

According to research, some people have higher levels of anxiety in different situations, and some people are more prone to experience anxiety about public speaking. If you are prone to feeling anxious, it might be harder for you to overcome your fear of speaking in public. You may use avoidant behaviors to try to get out of speaking in public. For others, their anxiety may only occur when they are confronted with situations in which they will need to speak in public. However, they may still experience the same physiological symptoms that produce fear.

2. Your thoughts

The beliefs that you have about public speaking and about yourself may also contribute to your fear of speaking in public. Your fear might occur when you overestimate the threats involved such as worrying about your image and your credibility. Having a negative view of your abilities as a speaker can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Some of this may be due to your orientation. People who are performance-oriented tend to view speaking in public as something for which they need special skills. They may view the audience as if the members are judging your performance. If you are communication-oriented, you might instead focus on telling your story, presenting ideas, and communicating your message.

3. Situations

Some people are more anxious when they speak in public in specific situations but not in others. For example, if you do not have a lot of experience, you may be afraid of public speaking. However, remember that as you gain experience, you will also gain confidence.

If your public speech will be evaluated, it could lead to more anxiety. For example, you might feel fine when you are giving a presentation at your job, but you may feel fear when you think about defending your Master’s thesis.

Another example that causes situational fear of public speaking in some people is when they will be presenting to people who have a higher status than them. For example, you might feel fear if you are scheduled to give a presentation to your supervisors or to professionals who are accomplished in your field.

Finally, you may experience situational fear of public speaking in situations in which you will be presenting new ideas for the first time or speaking to new audiences. If you are presenting your own ideas for the first time or are talking to an audience who is different from the other people you normally give presentations to, your anxiety may arise.

4. Skills

If you do not have a lot of skill in public speaking, it may contribute to your fear of speaking in public. Skills can be built through work. You do not always need to be a naturally talented speaker to develop the skills to give good presentations.

Get help from Premier NLP Life Coaching

Many people suffer from a fear of public speaking. Fortunately, it is possible for you to overcome your fear by using neuro-linguistic programming techniques. At Premier Life Coaching, we can equip you with the techniques that you can use to confront your fear. Fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

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