Some things in life are harder than others. And this can vary from person to person. But one thing that many of us may struggle with is public speaking.
- Past experiences with public speaking that didn’t go well
- Unfounded or unrealistic fears about audience judgment
- Building a foundation on the wrong public speaking approach
- Lack of confidence or belief in your own public speaking abilities
- In the case of a lack of preparation or rehearsal
- Can’t gain the insight to reveal an open mindset
It’s exceptionally common for people to feel uncomfortable or nervous when speaking in front of a group of people. But why exactly is that?
Why Is PUBLIC Speaking So Hard For Some People?
Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is perhaps one of the most prevalent fears in the world. And for many people, PUBLIC speaking can be one of the most difficult tasks to embark upon.
We’ve all faced a crowd at one point in our lives. Maybe it was as we presented a group project in college or acted as an emcee at an organizational meeting.
Or maybe you’ve had almost no public speaking experience at all.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro in giving speeches or utterly innocent to the idea of public presentations, communicating with a large audience can be a daunting prospect for almost all of us.
Ordinary ice-breaker questions include “what is your favorite color?” or “what is your biggest fear?” And PUBLIC speaking likely is one of the most commonly-named phobias.
It’s no surprise that stage fright is a common fear for many people. But why is public speaking so hard for so many people?
#1. Past Experiences That Became Sour Can Present New Challenges
Letting go can be a tricky thing for many of us nowadays. Life is ever-changing and full of new experiences and opportunities. But often, we are too focused on clinging to the past that we waste what’s right in front of us.
People are often afraid to let go of the past because they fear making the same mistakes again. Yet, taking failed attempts and molding them into something positive is critical for our overall growth and development.
When it comes to public speaking, a negative experience in the past seems to always haunt us. And the particular reason why can be unclear as each of us has individual wants, needs, and desires hidden in our brains.
For the most part, this can be a HUGE reason why public speaking is so hard for many people.
Moving Past A Bad Public Speaking Experience
Remembrance of terrible public speaking situations can make us believe all future instances will be the same. And the fear of repeating a mistake or reliving an unenjoyable moment can be catastrophic.
To become confident in your words and convictions when it comes to public speaking, you need to overcome any past experiences you may have had that are haunting you.
If you don’t embark on this journey of reflection and acceptance, public speaking will always be a phobia of yours!
#2. Unfounded Fears About The Opinions Of Your Audience Members
Often, the fear of public speaking isn’t being afraid of speaking at all. So if public speaking is difficult for you, it likely isn’t because you are afraid to talk.
After all, talking is the primary way we communicate with those around us!
In this case, you are likely afraid of the audience. Now, what exactly do I mean by that?
A Fear Of Public Speaking Is A Fear Of The People You’re Speaking To
In today’s world, we are surrounded by judgment. We live in a judgemental world. The internet is riddled with it as are our daily lives.
So when it comes to public speaking and talking in front of a group of people, it’s natural to be fearful of judgment. After all, you’re putting yourself at the forefront of people’s attention!
Don’t focus on things you can’t control. For example, don’t obsess with the unknown opinions of your audience. Though this is easier said than done, it’s the foundation of moving past the fear of judgment to accept your success!
And as a speaker, you need to be able to accept the fact that not everyone will like you. There will always be people that don’t appreciate your content or find it enjoyable.
But that’s okay! It’s impossible to please everyone. Accept the possibility of failure and judgment, and you’ll feel the fear effortlessly melt away in no time.
#3. Basing Your Presentation On The Wrong Foundation
What makes public speaking so difficult for so many of us?
Sometimes, it’s what’s going on in our minds. And other times, it’s about what we’re expressing.
Public speaking is an art founded within the realm of communication. But to truly grow and excel at this craft, you must know how to be an engaging and conversational speaker.
Public speakers often draw inspiration, passion, and motivation on stage from people in the audience. At least, I know I do! That’s because public speaking is about more than speaking. It’s about having a verbal and nonverbal conversation with the audience.
Having an engaged audience makes speaking to the public much more enjoyable and comfortable. Knowing your content is being absorbed is like fuel to light the fire.
Tips And Tricks For Keeping Your Audience Engaged
An engaged audience is the best way to eliminate any stage fright.
But ensuring you successfully engage your audience can be hard sometimes. Luckily, I’ve had plenty of experience in public speaking, and I know exactly how to reach your audience on a deeper level.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years that are perfect for connecting and relating with your audience while keeping them engaged!
- Ensure you understand your audience
- Maintain eye contact and use appropriate body language
- Add in some visual aids
- Use articulate speech, and don’t resort to using filler words
- Tell stories and relate them to something relevant
In fact, these tips are great for almost all social interactions, especially when you feel nervous or on edge. Knowing how to connect with those around you is a great way to alleviate social anxiety.
#4. Lack Of Belief In Yourself And Your Capabilities
We often feel confident when we engage in activities we know we are good at. For example, if we know we excel at a particular skill, we usually accept it with open arms.
But what if we don’t feel like we are capable of a particular skill or task?
In this situation, we would probably approach that skill or task with hesitation, doubt, and fear. And if the skill itself is public speaking, we might then associate public speaking with this feeling of fear.
How A Lack Of Confidence Can Make Public Speaking Terrifying
Public speaking can be considered complex or difficult when you consider yourself not qualified or not good enough. If you don’t feel confident in your speaking capabilities, it can be scary to do it!
It’s normal to feel this type of self-judgment. Especially if you’re a beginner, it can be much harder to develop your self-confidence.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to boost your confidence and improve your focus!
- Ensure you are properly prepared for any presentation or speech
- Rehearse and practice until you feel 100% confident in speaking by yourself
- Start to speak in front of a small group of friends or family
- Build up your confidence and self-esteem until you are ready to present your work in front of a large audience
Like most other things in life, practice and preparation are the keys to overcoming challenges and growing.
#5. If You’re Not Adequately Prepared
We all know what happens when we try to do something we’re not ready for.
Lack of preparation is the killer of success. Whether it happened due to neglect or it was a genuine accident, not adequately preparing for something usually makes it end badly.
For example, if you didn’t study for an exam in college, you didn’t walk into the room come testing day and expect to get an A+. Likewise, if you interview for a job without even reading the job description, it’s safe to say you wouldn’t get an offer.
Lack of preparation can look like many things. Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this problem. And it’s one word.
Feeling or being unprepared is a significant reason why many people consider public speaking difficult. And that level of unpreparedness can be actual or perceived.
- If you are actually unprepared, your speech or presentation will be a disaster, and you will further entrench your mind in this feeling of fear and apprehension.
- And if you perceive yourself as being unprepared, then you will undoubtedly lack confidence and feel beaten down.
There are many ways to become a great public speaker or emcee. But one quality that all the greats have is their ability to prepare. So make sure you do your due diligence here!
#6. Can’t Open Your Mind To A New Experience And Positive Outcome
It can be incredibly daunting to speak to a gathering of strangers, feeling all eyes on you. It’s impossible to know what they’re thinking, and in your own mind, you only imagine the worst.
Public speaking forces us to be vulnerable. And that’s difficult for many people. So when you’re in the spotlight, it’s easy to feel a certain level of anxiety, doubt, and fear.
To overcome a fear of public speaking, it’s vital to be able to adopt new perspectives. Focus on constructive feedback instead of living in the possibility of fear.
How Our Minds Program Public Speaking To Be Scary
Public speaking can be difficult when there’s no way to gauge how your performance is being received. This lack of feedback can be unsettling, making the idea of public speaking even less enticing altogether.
Plus, when you have the added pressure of needing to persuade or convince your audience, this level of fear and apprehension in your mind will grow. After all, public speaking isn’t an easy thing to do in the first place!
When it comes down to it, there can be a million reasons why public speaking is so hard for so many of us. But what’s important is that you apply yourself to grow, learn, and become better than you were the day before.
Take it one day at a time, and you’ll steadily overcome challenges and fears to become what you are meant to be!
Keep Reading: 7 Tips For Managing Diversity In The Workplace
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.