Public speaking is terrifying for some people. The fear of public speaking isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s so common it actually has a name: glossophobia, and it’s one of the top fears or phobias in the world. Three quarters of the population has some form of this fear. Greek glōssa, meaning tongue, and phobos, fear or dread, and it is the fear of presenting yourself in front of an audience to speak or perform. So what, exactly do we fear?
Embarrassment. You’ve been there before, standing on the side of a stage or group, waiting to be introduced or start. The thoughts run through your head “what if I forget what I’m supposed to talk about?” or “what if they think I’m an idiot and laugh at me?” or “what if I mess up completely and they don’t get the information they need?” or “what if they laugh at my appearance?” They are probably silly worries, especially if you are prepared for the speaking engagement.
Failure. No one wants to fail. It would be a fail if the speech wasn’t up to par, or if any of the things you worried about above happened. Avoid failing by being completely prepared. Do your homework; know your audience and you won’t fail.
Not Being Prepared. As you look over your notes you worry that you didn’t do enough to be prepared for the speech. It’s an honest question, but if you took the time to research the topic and your audience, you should be properly prepared.
Being Judged. This is a big one, especially if the topic is one that is contentious. You wonder if people will judge you for the stance you take, or how you present the topic. What if they disagree with you and think badly of you because of that? Well the best way to combat that part of the fear is to realize that you can’t control what others think of you, or your topic. Present your speech with confidence, and use facts. Be passionate, but not overly emotional. Just always remember that what and how you present is within your control, your audience is not.
Public speaking can be frightening. Overcoming your fear and moving forward is the best way to conquer it.