Did you know that approximately 75% of people have a fear of public speaking?
If you’re one of those 75% you’re probably not surprised that the number isn’t higher!
Why are we so scared of it? Well, it goes back to ancient caveman times, when humans perceived being watched as a threat to survival. Those eyes watching you were most likely belonging to a predator who was keen to make you its dinner. So that fear of being watched kicked our “fight/flight/freeze” response into gear and even though your audience who is watching you speak has no interest in making you its next meal, your ancient brain still sees having many eyes upon you as an existential threat.
Even with that fear, there is a good chance you’ve had to get up and speak in public, whether it’s a small family event, a work meeting or something bigger, speaking at a conference or giving a eulogy, big or small, they are all forms of public speaking.
I used to be scared of public speaking too, but fortunately, I’ve gotten over my fear and speaking is a great way (and probably one of the fastest ways) to grow your image business, which is why I want to share with you my chat with Justine Armstrong of Fearless Public Speaking who is an expert in getting over your fear.
You won’t get over your fear of public speaking by imagining your audience naked (not a visual image I want in my head if I’m nervous … how about you?). Nor will you get over it if spend all your time worrying about what to do with your hands while you’re speaking (that just makes your focus internal rather than external).
Instead, you want to focus on the audience. What they want, creating a good experience for them and sharing with them what they want and need. By focusing on others (not yourself) you are helping your brain (in this case the amygdala, which is the seat of these fear feelings and response) to calm down. Studies show that when we feel generous and kind towards others, this calms down our fight/freeze/flight response. It makes us calmer and less stressed.
Remember, that when you are speaking most people are NOT wanting you to fail and have no ill feelings towards you. And even if you do stumble over a few words, or make a mistake, that shows your audience you are human, just like them and they are more likely to feel for you, not against you.
For more great public speaking tips you can watch Justine’s masterclass webinar here free.