Some would rather die than get up in front of an audience.
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy”. Norman Vincent Peale
What is your top fear?
I ask this question at every presentation within the first 5 minutes. As I add the audience’s responses to the flipchart, I hear laughter. Some of it is the nervous type when you are feeling awkward. Other participants say their responses amidst the others. It always seems to be the same responses or a variation in some way.
As I write the responses, they come up as:
- The fear of death
- The fear of public speaking
The other responses commonly are: heights, snakes, and spiders.
I inform the audience that they are right, according to my research. The fear of public speaking is ranked #2 of our greatest fears, and the fear of death is #1. Yes, according to most public surveys, people fear death almost as much as they fear public speaking.
To this day, I have never had anyone in my audience challenge me on that response.
Whether we laugh about it, agree with it, want to avoid it, or accept it, the fear of public speaking for the majority of us is real. We all know it’s true, whether we want to admit it or not. Some of us would rather die than speak publicly.
Why are we so afraid of public speaking?
I reflected on my personal interviews and experiences, to better understand this phenomenon.
Some of the reasons are:
- We are afraid people will reject us.
- We are more focused on ourselves vs. being more focused on the audience.
- We feel vulnerable and are concerned the audience will not like what we have to say.
In my next tip, I will share the first way to overcome the fear of public speaking…
Amy Lemire, ‘From Zero to Speaker Hero‘, How to Achieve Fame, Fun, and Fortune