Fear of Public Speaking

You look out skeptically on the suddenly quiet and subdued auditorium and discover that a mass of people is staring attentively at you.   But instead of feeling pleased, special and even proud that you have captured the attention of so many people, you start to hear a resounding boom in your ears, your palms start to sweat, the butterflies do somersaults in your stomach and you even find that your voice has somehow abandoned you.   The faces of your audience reveal how much they are anticipating your first word and how interested they are in what you are about to say.   Gigantic expectations placed on very small shoulders.   You quickly come to the realization that this is your moment to shine and how you play this role can either make you or break you.   These four minutes can decide your future.

If I were to ask for a raise of hands of the persons who have had a similar experience to the one just described, I am positive that a sea of hands would shoot up quickly.   I have taken it upon myself to ask a number of people to share what their “greatest fear” is, and a majority of the replies were “public speaking.”   You may ask yourself the question, ‘why am I really so scared of performing this particular activity?’ Research has shown that people fear public speaking more than they fear dying! So why are we so petrified of getting up in front of an audience and delivering a speech?  
Well, based on my observation and research, I can safely tell you that there are several factors that cause this, but the first one that I will mention may cause you to feel a teeny bit ashamed of yourself.   My grandmother always said this to me when I was growing up, “Kersha, the world is round and it spins; so whatever goes around, comes right back.”   We all have played the role of an audience member and can easily recall the times when we would sit and correct grammatical errors made by speakers in our minds, or poke our neighbor in the side to silently criticize some utterance made by...