If you know me, you know I love public speaking. I love doing it, AND I love teaching it.
Yet recently, I was asked; ‘Cheryl, what’s the point in having a business about public speaking when everyone is afraid of it?’
And to be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this! Often, the first thing people will say when I ask them their thoughts on trying it out is, ‘Why?’
So today, I’m here to answer that question.
First of all, why do people fear public speaking?
The National Institute of Mental Health states that around 73% of the population is affected by Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking!).
That means that the average person is afraid of speaking to an audience. So, even if that’s not you personally, it’s more than likely the majority of people you know.
One of the main reasons for this is due to our prehistoric roots. Humans survived better back then (and arguably still do) when they were part of a tribe, as it made them less vulnerable to most dangers. If they were rejected from these tribes, they’d either be killed, or would likely not last much longer on their own anyway.
Rules like these would continue for generations.
Because of this, many people today fear rejection and judgement. For example – the brain freeze. No, I don’t mean an ice-cream brain freeze!
When the mind goes blank
Have you ever been in a scenario where you feel put on the spot, but your mind remains completely blank? You may end up stammering, or you are left just completely speechless.
This is how your brain reacts to anxiety. Usually this should be useful, as it’s a way of protecting you if you’re in a dangerous situation. You don’t waste time thinking about what to do – you just do it (aka. the fight or flight response!).
The problem is, public speaking isn’t threatening. And so, the thing to do is to change the way you view it, so that you can ‘rewire’ your brain.
One way to do this is to not focus too much on your brain freezing if that does happen. The calmer you are, the quicker you can move on, and the sooner you’ll realise that the audience probably won’t even remember it.
A tiny bit of silence never hurt anyone!
But the other thing I’d definitely advise is to think about the positive side of public speaking.
The many benefits of public speaking
Let’s start with the obvious – your confidence. The biggest reason for Glossophobia may be due to your own experiences but it can also be because of your confidence, or should I say lack of.
Chances are, if you’re a fairly confident person, you’re not so hung up on the idea of speaking to a larger audience (though you may still be nervous). You’d most likely just get on with it, even if you’ve never tried or practised it before.
But like most fears, low self-esteem is what may be holding you back.
Confidence – whether you DO have it or not – can be improved through public speaking.
Acting despite having one of the most common phobias will empower you, especially if it’s something you were afraid of. Think of it as going on a rollercoaster that you didn’t initially want to go on because you were too afraid – yet you come off feeling exhilarated!!
Another thing that boosts your confidence is seeing how your audience reacts. The best thing you can receive is a little reassurance, and once you get that round of applause at the end, you’ll feel much better.
The more times you practise public speaking, the more confident you’ll grow, in both your abilities AND who you are. And even if it still doesn’t feel comfortable, you will know that you CAN do it.
Public speaking boosts your career too!
Maybe you’re an entrepreneur. You have services and products to sell, but perhaps sales haven’t been too good recently.
If you can deliver a good speech, I can guarantee that there will be audience members who will want to speak to you afterwards. They’ll be keen to know who you are, and more about what you do.
By seeing you speak authentically, people will feel more eager to buy whatever you’re selling. This can be much more effective than seeing an advert or a social media post.
If you’re not an entrepreneur and you’re working for a business, public speaking will still help you. Being able to give a great speech will make you stand out to your boss. This can make you a much more likely candidate for a promotion than other employees!
Improve your social skills
Even just attending a public speaking event is a great way to build up your social circle.
As mentioned before, you and the audience can connect with each other – whether it’s for business or not – plus inspiring an audience will also boost your leadership skills. After all, a good leader should be good at expressing their views and delivering their message to a wide range of people!
Public speaking events are also a great opportunity to meet like-minded speakers. They can give you support, good feedback, and may share interests with you.
If you think about it, this the opposite of the original fear behind public speaking. Rather than being judged and rejected from people, you’d instead get to meet and befriend even more people!
Talk back to your fears
Given everything I’ve told you, do you think it’s time to address the fears linked to Glossophobia?
Instead of thinking about what you’re afraid of happening, and why you don’t want to do it, focus on why you SHOULD. Think about the positives listed above.
Now think about this: there are many more reasons to start public speaking. These are just a few examples!
If you’d like to hear more reasons why public speaking is important, as well as seeing how it’s impacted other women’s lives, then check out our Facebook page: Strictly Come Speaking – Female Public Speaking!
PS – The genetic blueprint really helps with understanding who you are and what you are here to do – fill in this 2-minute questionnaire and I will send you your own ‘genetic blueprint’ which will help you understand yourself so you can begin to find your why! You will find it here.
PPS – If the link doesn’t work for any reason (sometimes technology has a bad day) then email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will sort it out for you!
PPS – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Don’t Live in Silence!‘
“I’m on a global mission to help 10 million disheartened souls, who are at a crossroads, to STOP asking why me? And START saying why not me!”