Most people don’t know why they are afraid of public speaking; they just know that they ARE afraid. In fact, recent studies rank fear of public speaking,stage fright or Glossophobia, in the top 5 of all fears.
Stage fright is right up there on the list, along with the fear of spiders, the fear of heights, and even the fear of death. Think about that for a moment… There are people who would rather DIE than to speak publicly. Sounds crazy, right? But the sad truth is that it’s not crazy – it’s the truth.
Maybe you find yourself wondering, “Why AM I afraid of public speaking,and how to get tips about how to go about it?"
For most people the underlying reason is a fear of failure, rejection, and humiliation. The mindset of someone with this phobia is that “I am afraid to make mistakes and then be humiliated in front of the audience”.
While this is a legitimate fear, the reality is that you are not the only one to feel this AND it’s OK to feel this way. You are allowed to be a little scared, but you need to realise that, truthfully, your audience does NOT want you to fail.
They are not sitting there thinking to themselves, “Stuff up! Stuff up! Stuff up!” And even if you do make a mistake, so what? What is the worst thing that can happen to you? Not much. Maybe they’ll laugh a little – but then you will have created a new image for yourself as a stand-up comedian! Relax, and laugh with them. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself!
I read a story the other day about a boy who was forced into a musical recital playing his trombone. He was 9 and he was petrified! It wasn’t his idea and he could not see any way out of it. He practiced for a week straight and there was a moment when he thought that, maybe, he was ready for the big performance.
On the day, however, he was so nervous he felt physically sick. He didn’t want to do the performance. So what did this 9 year-old boy and his fear do?
They took to the trombone with a small hammer and dented it so it was unplayable! He showed up at school with the “altered” instrument and proceeded to tell a long and elaborate story about how the trombone was damaged. Fortunately, there were no spares and he was allowed to skip his performance.
So this little boy let his fear overcome him, and wound up damaging an expensive trombone! Wonder how his parents felt when they got the repair bill?
A lesson in how NOT to deal with you fear of public speaking, performance or presentation!
This story illustrate the lengths some people will go to in order to avoid public speaking or any kind of presentation or performance.
There is good news for those of us who suffer from this kind of panic, you can minimize the stress, anxiety, and fear. You can even use this fear as a tool to make you a better speaker. For most people the fear can be overcome with just some simple steps. The key is to know how to prepare yourself for the event and how to keep yourself focused. And like everything else in life, the more you do, the better you are - that is "practice makes perfect".
Most people can overcome the fear of failure by facing the situation head on, preparing thoroughly before hand, and again reminding themself “What is the worst that can happen?” Jail? Death? I don’t think so!
This reminds me of a favourite saying:
“Behold the turtle; he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out!”
Don’t be afraid to take a chance! And remember that you can accomplish great things by overcoming your fear!
The next time you have to give a speech, presentation, or performance in front of a group, remember this: your fear is a tool that can help you be a better speaker. Your audience WANTS you to succeed; they are with you, not against you. You just need to get up and do it.
JUST DO IT!!
Fear nothing, and you’ll be better for it.
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