Public speaking looks so simple when you watch and listen to other people. But when it is your turn, everything turns upside down and you feel like vanishing into thin air. Communicating your ideas boldly and presenting them clearly in the public are essential components of success across various domains of life.
Public speaking can open up many opportunities for you and help you advance your career, expand your business and improve your social skills. Through public speaking, you can easily promote your ideas and motivate the masses into taking action on issues affecting them in the society. Sadly, you may not be able to express yourself freely before a crowd of people or in a meeting because of anxiety among other factors. So, what are the causes of public speaking anxiety?
1. Your Physiology Matters the Most
First of all, your anxiety comes about because of the fear of public speaking. The technical term describing this new-found fear is Glossophobia and it appears when someone is performing or looking forward to making a speech or an oral presentation before a group of people.
Anxiety and fear involve arousal of your autonomic nervous system when responding to what can be described as a potential threat to stimulus. This is a common phenomenon whenever we’re confronted with what seems to be a threat. Our bodies prepare to repel that threat and in the process, anxiety and fear sets in thus interfering with our performance ability.
The same case is true when you are about to confront a large crowd of people. The moment you are close to your target audience, the emotional experience of fear takes control of you leading to anxiety. Once you are in this state, your ability to deliver a speech freely and boldly is greatly hindered.
Eventually, this physiological occurrence prevents you from composing yourself in front of many people. But to triumph in such a situation, you will need to find a way that you can conquer your fear and anxiety when addressing the public
Another factor that causes public speaking anxiety is a belief about speaking in public as well as your own ability as a
speaker. Under normal circumstances, your thoughts on speaking in front of many people arise when you overestimate the stakes of expressing your ideas before your audience. This way, you will always get nervous and fail to deliver your speech confidently.
Also, your thoughts might make you feel that other people will view your speaking event as a likely threat to their image, credibility and status. In a bid to stay relevant to the topic, you may find yourself fumbling about trying to find the right words.
Negative views of yourself can also play a critical role in making you anxious when speaking in public. Such thoughts will definitely make you feel that you are not worthy of addressing the masses or you are a boring public speaker. This kind of situation can raise your anxiety and consequently, augment the fear of addressing the masses.
3. Different Situations Leads to Different Outcome
By nature, some people are anxious or they lack enough confidence to speak in public. But a time comes when some situations are likely to make you more anxious when engaging many people in a public forum. Some of these situations arise because of the following:
Lack of Experience-Experience matters the most in various spheres of influence. With enough experience on the subject matter, you will have confidence. On the contrary lack of experience will make you anxious when making a public speech.
Differences in status-Whenever you are faced with a task of speaking in front of people perceived to be of higher status, you are likely to experience fear and anxiety. These two factors come in especially when you think that those in higher status will challenge your ideas and bring you down.
The degree of Evaluation-This happens when you are faced with an imagined or real evaluation component in that particular situation. That is when your anxiety becomes apparent especially when addressing a group of individuals who already have the evaluation forms to fill out.
New Ideas-Sharing new ideas may make you feel worried about how your audience will receive them. In fact, you may get anxious when your public appearance entails presenting new concepts, ideas and findings. When you find yourself in such a situation, you will feel uncomfortable expressing yourself clearly, answering questions or dealing with the audience members who will try to challenge your ideas.
New Audience-Despite the fact that you may have experience in public speaking, you may find yourself getting nervous when facing a new audience. Fear may take full control of you, especially when facing an unfamiliar audience making your confidence a little shaky.
4. Improving on Your Public Speaking Skills
Skills are an essential part of your performance regardless of the task at hand. Without proper skills, you will not be able to deliver good results. The same is true with public speaking. Your skills in addressing audiences are an added advantage to you. This is totally different from natural talent and it needs time to build and learn all necessary skills that will make you stand before other people and address them without showing signs of anxiety or fear.
Your skills will determine your competence which in turn will influence your confidence. And of course, your confidence is a sure antidote to any form of fear. Therefore, learn a few important skills, practice them and know where to apply them when speaking to your target audience.
Public speaking is an art that needs to be nurtured by anyone looking to address the masses in the future. Seeing other people make their speeches before their audiences look so easy but when faced with the same task, the reality dawns on you that indeed courage is paramount. One thing that inhibits your courage in such a situation is fear which leads to public speaking anxiety and then poor performance. Learn to overcome your fears and eliminate your anxiety before addressing people in the public. Once you overcome these two factors, everything will fall in place and public speaking will eventually become a piece of cake for you.
To Your Public Speaking Success,
Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking