never fear public speaking

never fear public speaking
Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen / Unsplash

Do you know what the number one fear of Americans and countless people all across the globe is? Nope, it’s not death. Also, it’s not losing a limb, heights, spiders, or a visit to the dentist. The thing that many people fear the most is public speaking.

It’s normal and natural to feel nervous when you’re about step onto a stage, big or small, and deliver a speech or presentation. Speaking in public is one of our primal fears. Why is that? Because the fear of public speaking — also known as glossophobia — has its roots in social phobia. It mainly comes from the fear of being judged, which gets amplified when people place all their attention on one person when they’re speaking. After all, we humans are social creatures, and when we speak in public, we expose ourselves and put our reputation — something very dear to us — at risk. We depend on each other for our survival and therefore to be respected and supported in society is one of our key priorities. So, doubts over our own ability combined with the knowledge that others are paying close attention to the words we’re sharing and constantly assessing them create an overwhelming feeling of fear within us. And as we express ourselves publicly, we get anxious about being disliked, ridiculed and laughed at, and even worse, ignored.

But we must not let this fear of rejection overpower us. Even if your self-confidence is at an all-time low, you can still speak well in front of others and tell your story. All you need is a few seconds of insane courage.

A great example in this regard is Monica Lewinsky. In 2015, she got on the TED stage and delivered a talk on the public shaming she suffered following her affair with former president Bill Clinton. This was far from easy for her and she was a bundle of nerves before the speech. She knew her talk would be seen and heard by millions of people all around the world, and was terrified that she would say or do something wrong, which would further tarnish her reputation. But once she finished it, she received a phenomenal response: the audience gave her a standing ovation in the end and a constant stream of raving reviews was to be found online.

So, here’s the bottom line: don’t let fear and your lack of confidence stop you from participating in public speaking. Sure, there’s a lot at stake, but you must still go ahead and give it a shot.