Hate public speaking? You are not alone

75% of people

experience the fear of public speaking

Glossophobia is the fear of speaking in public.  75% of people will experience this at some point in their lives.  If the thought of standing up and speaking fills you with dread, take heart! You are not alone and you can overcome the feelings for more easily than you think.

Glossophobia is one the most pronounced and widespread forms of social anxiety.  It can strike in the most unexpected of places.  I’ve met accomplished teachers who can happily speak in front of a class full of 9 year olds all day long but fall apart at the thought of addressing 5 adults in a governors meeting. And I’ve met professional trainers who can stand up in a stadium at an industry trade show and wax lyrical about the new Okidoki 123 for half an hour but are reduced to tears at the thought of talking to a dozen people about themselves.

The first thing to realise is that any fear, including the fear of public speaking, is a learned behaviour. This is good news, because anything you can learn, you can unlearn or replace it with a new truth.

The second thing to realise is that much of the fear and anxiety related to public speaking comes because we are focused on the wrong thing.  We get anxious because we think we might make a mistake, might look foolish, might get it wrong… The audience may not like us or find the presentation boring so we rush through it as quickly as possible in order to get it over with.  All of these things happen when we focus on ourselves – how do I feel, how do I look, will they like me… and so on.   This might be natural but it misses the point completely.  When we stand up and speak, it is not about us – it is about the audience.  

The point of the presentation is not to educate, inform or entertain you – it is for the benefit of the audience.  

So focus on how the audience feels, not how you feel.  

Focus on making the audience comfortable, not yourself.  

Think how to structure your talk so that the audience finds it easy to understand and digest.  

Turn the spotlight off yourself and onto the audience and it will transform how you think about and approach your next talk.

You can explore this topic in more depth on our Speak with Confidence course which is run regularly both as a webinar and a live classroom workshop.  Check the schedule and book you place here: www.malmesburyspeakers.com/confidence