According to some polls, the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death. Why do you think that is? I think it boils down to two things: what we don’t know and what we can’t control.
We cannot know everything
Think about how much you have to know these days to function day in and day out. It’s been said we are currently exposed to the same level of new information in one day that people 100 years ago received over a decade. It’s impossible for us to know everything! Often people with great skill, knowledge, passion and insight choose to sit on the sidelines because the risk of coming up short and feeling exposed is too great.
Public speaking is the voice of change
The only constant we have in our world is change. Great leaders and speakers embrace this and have faith it will lead to something better. Judith Bardwick, author of several management books including Danger in the Comfort Zone and The Psychology of Women puts it best:
By definition, leaders lead change.
Public speaking often requires you to be at the forefront of change. After all, you want to inspire your audience to think about your subject in a new way.
Overcoming the dread
It can feel intimidating to promote your own opinion or be the first to voice a new thought. So next time the fears pop up, consider trying the following:
1) Let go of the fear of not knowing everything
Focus on what you do know. There are people waiting to be helped by the level of expertise that you have right now.
2) Embrace change
Focus on why you are speaking. What change do you want to lead? Be willing to continually step into a different view of yourself as you carry on improving your public speaking.
The good news… the more you recognize your fears, the more likely you are to overcome them and take more public speaking opportunities. A funny thing will happen when you practice. I promise! You will get better and it will get easier – a whole lot easier. You might even come to love it!