“Why Is Public Speaking So Scary?”
Why is public speaking so absolutely terrifying?
How come just the thought of doing it fills us with dread?
Why does our heart race, our chest get tight, and our mind go blank in front of a group of people?
When I was really stuck in shyness, talking in front of a group of people was out of the question. I avoided it at all costs. But even small group introductions and ice-breakers were anxiety-producing.
I’ll never forget going to the first day of my internship at a community clinic in Palo Alto, California. All the interns and trainees were gathered in a large room, sitting in a circle and we were going around one by one and introducing ourselves. People were saying their names, what school they came from, and something interesting about themselves.
I was so tense I could hardly breath. Worse still, I was second to last, so I had to sit there festering until it was my turn. I could barely even listen to the other people as it got closer and closer to me.
What am I going to say? No, that sounds terrible. That sounds lame. Wow, look at that person going now. He looks way more confident than you do. And he’s way better looking too.
I’m frozen. I’m shut down. I stand up, make minimal eye contact and share in a flat monotone…
“My name is Aziz. I go to the Stanford-PGSP consortium. Uh… I like cats.”
I sit back down, with adrenaline and cortisol coursing through my veins. The introductory meeting continues around me, but I’m stuck in the past. My mind keeps replaying that one moment over and over again.
Oh my God, that was pathetic! I like cats? You sounded so ridiculous. Yours was the worst. What is wrong with you?!
Can you relate to this dreadful experience of public speaking?
Fast forward seven years and everything is different in my life now (to learn more about how I overcame my fear of public speaking and much more – check out My Story on the ‘About Me’ page).
I began relentlessly pursuing public speaking opportunities and confronted my fears. I started to watch and study some of the most dynamic and influential speakers in the world – Tony Robbins and Les Brown being two of my favorites.
After practicing and studying it for almost a decade, I’ve discovered the answer to this question: Why is public speaking so scary?
Why Is Public Speaking So Scary?
We’re scared to speak in front of a group because we’re scared people will disapprove of us. We’re frightened of social disapproval.
This goes back to our primal days where being viewed as foolish or inadequate by the tribe could lead to a loss in status, mating opportunities, and much more.
Humans don’t like disapproval. It’s programmed into us.
When you’re standing in front of a group of people, all those eyes on you means there’s much more potential for someone to judge you.
Sometimes people will respond to me and say — But wait a minute, I don’t care that much about what these people think of me. Honestly, I really don’t care.
In response, I agree. Yes, one part of you doesn’t care. Your rational, logical brain probably knows you won’t lose anything major and that it doesn’t matter if all these people approve of you.
But some part of you does care. Look at your behavior, your body, and your physiology. Some part of you is having a fight, flight, or freeze response to all these people looking at you. The only thing that causes that response in humans is threat.
Part of your brain (the amygdala, deep in your limbic system) is perpetually scanning the environment for threats. When it finds one, it lets you know. And when you’re freezing and going blank in front of a group of people, your amygdala is blaring the alarm.
Overcoming your fear of public speaking is the first step to becoming an effective public speaker, a powerful communicator, an influencer. This skill is essential in any area in which you want to have an impact. Whether it’s at your company, in your community, or at a wedding, there are countless opportunities to put your voice out there to influence people for good.
If you’re only able to talk with people one-on-one, then you’re greatly limiting your ability to grow and succeed in your life. Everything that’s higher level involves being able to talk with groups of people.
“To Create The Life You Want,
You Must Overcome Your Fear Of Disapproval.”
To get started today, enter your email below. I’ll send you a FREE copy of my E-Book – How To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking.
This book will guide you through the three powerful steps to overcome your fear of speaking in front of others.
In addition, because I want you to really get this and make a shift in your life starting now, I’ll also send you a FREE 45-minute training video on How To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking.
Just enter your email below and you can download your free E-Book.
How To Overcome Your Fear Of Disapproval
Overcoming your fear of disapproval is a broad topic. There are so many things that determine how much you are affected by the opinion of others.
Here are several of the main forces:
1. Your Self-Concept – This is the collection of ideas you have about yourself. Are you tall or short, fat or skinny, capable at earning money or ineffective? The summary of all the ways you describe yourself is your self-concept. And your self-concept can be generally positive, neutral, negative, or downright terrible (which is what mine was for years).
2. How You Value Yourself – This is how much you think you’re worth. What do you base your worth on? Your degrees, your bank account, how many women you’ve slept with, your ability to win? How much does your sense of worth fluctuate throughout the day?
In order to have solid self-confidence (and become an amazing speaker), you must have a stable sense of self-worth.
3. Self-Compassion – This describes how much you’re on your own side, or on your own team. Do you turn on yourself as soon as there’s a setback or failure? Remember earlier when I was describing what I said to myself after the ice-breaker? That’s an example of what not to do if you want to have self-compassion. This is an essential skill that radically accelerates your learning and growth. Not to mention, it just feels a lot better to treat yourself well.
If you want to make a dramatic shift in your speaking abilities, it’ll take a solid foundation of social confidence.
To build this, check out one of my programs, or get my book, The Solution To Social Anxiety. This will guide you through the process of creating an outstanding self-concept, developing your sense of self-worth, and treating yourself with compassion and respect no matter what happens to you.
And if you’re one of the few who are highly motivated, ready to take action, and unwilling to settle for anything less than achieving your ultimate goals, then contact me about Confidence Coaching.
The One Pitfall
There’s only one thing that can stop you from becoming the public speaker that you want to be.
It’s your story.
I just can’t do it, I’d never be good anyway, I can’t overcome this fear.
I don’t want to, it’s not worth it to me, it’s not worth the effort.
If you buy this story, you’re selling yourself short.
Let me ask you a question — what do you really want in your life? What do you want out of your career and your work life? What about your relationships and friendships? What about having an impact on the world and making a difference?
Whether it’s speaking in a meeting at work, giving a presentation, or speaking to your church or community about a cause you’re passionate about, what happens if you can’t share your ideas with a group?
What if you’re at your best friend’s wedding and you want to celebrate him and give a toast, but you’re too paralyzed by fear and self-doubt to do it?
What opportunities are lost when you are afraid of public speaking?
What chances for money, for income, for love, and for contribution do you pass up?
Please my friend, don’t buy the story “you can’t do it” and “it’s not worth it anyway”.
It matters greatly. And so do you!
Enter your email below and read the FREE e-book. Apply what you learn and let me know how your life transforms!