Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fear of Public-Speaking

London, UK

You may have seen the various posts on my other site in relation to the fear of public-speaking.
This morning at a business breakfast, I gave a talk about how to overcome those nerves! Most of you will have an idea on how to achieve that. There's plenty of blogs out there, Eric Feng, the brilliant Lisa Braithwaite and Nick Thomas to mention just three, who can give you plenty of tips, but you may want to delve deeper. You see, in my view, fear of public speaking doesn't really exist. What does is a fear of being found out, a fear of looking foolish or even a fear of feinting.

Just what is it that makes you nervous in front of others?


TorAa said...

Most people do not face the fact they are looking up to people daring to talk to large audiences - so why don't they do it themselves?
Are they afraid of failing (then prepare) or saying something stupid (most people that do not stand up means people that stand up with their real opinions are either stupid or heros) - so why not join the bunch. Nothing is stupid unless you only speak with anger and complaints - Say what you mean; better if you also have some solutions, proposals, ideas and thoughs to share.

I find it much easier to talk to a large audience than to a small one. In fact, in general, you have to be much more prepared for intimate questions with a smaller audience.

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's any one thing that makes poeple nervous in front of others. I've trained hundreds of people to make presentations (specialising in "reluctant presenters"! ;) ) and for some it's very specific while for others it's just a generalised anxiety.

I'm beginning to believe, however, that we live in such a risk-free world that people simply aren't used to doing things tha make them anxious and they think it's abnormal to get a dose of adrenaline. The number of people who come to me for traning saying "I get stage-fright" or "I have a public speaking phobia" is silly.... because what most of them mean is "I get nervous." (Actually it annoys me that people keep talking about stage-fright and phobias like this because it seems to belittle the "real thing", if you see what I mean.).

A lot of what I do is simply re-educating people to accept that what they're facing is "normal" and they're not "special" just because they're anxious or whatever.

Of course that doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic/supportive or that I don't show them ways of handling it! :)


Jeremy Jacobs said...


Yes, people should have more courage to speak to larger audeinces.

Jeremy Jacobs said...


Not taking risks leaves one in the same place.

Anonymous said...

I've never spoken in public and never really had any reason to. I've had to train people (IT) but that I found easy enough because I knew the answers and they didn't. The anxiety there would be that I couldn't answer something I suppose.

I would have thought that people could be accustomed to it by gradual exposure - speak to a handful of people to start off with, gradually increasing the size of the audience. Perhaps not so easy to put into practice.

[Fancy seeing you here Tor! Small blogosphere.]

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"[Fancy seeing you here Tor! Small blogosphere.]"

Certainly is!

Anonymous said...

What's happening this week Jeremy ?

James Higham said...

... being unprepared.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Then "always be prepared"

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the mention. I think it's the case that many people can be nervous about a number of social situations and that public speaking is just one scenario where these fears can manifest themselves. When I joined a class, took LAMDA exams and started getting speaking engagements, I soon learned to be a lot more relaxed about getting up in front of an audience but I am still a shy person in other situations (although not as much as I used to be, thanks to public speaking).