As someone who feared public speaking for many years, I would often be surprised about – and slightly envious of – people who enjoy and thrive on public speaking.
You might have met such a person … someone who often tells jokes confidently in front of an audience; someone who doesn’t think twice about giving a toast at a birthday party; or the person at school who loved being on the debating team in front of a crowd.
How can they be so relaxed and care-free about something that so many people dread?
It’s a complex question and there’s no single answer, but there are certain factors (often interrelated) which may contribute to being a confident or nervous public speaker.
Personality can play an important role. It’s easy to understand how a confident, relaxed person might enjoy speaking in front of an audience more than a person who lacks confidence and is prone to worry.
Our environment may also be an important factor, such as what our parents are like, how we are raised, the types of life experiences we have, what sort of support network we have around us, whether we are single or married, our job status and the like. All of these things have the potential to affect our confidence, self-esteem and outlook, which in turn can contribute to whether we feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
Biology may also play a role. For example, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007 Survey of Mental Health women have a higher rate of anxiety disorders (18% compared to 11% for men).
Whatever the case or reason behind one’s fear of public speaking, one thing is for sure: you can learn to enjoy public speaking no matter how much you fear it at present. I have met many people who have done so.
In fact, often the most excellent public speakers are those who fear it the most. For proof of this, take a look at some of the famous people who experience panic attacks and fear public speaking.
So don’t despair! You’re not alone and there are simple, proven techniques for managing your fear of public speaking.
If you’d like to learn more about these techniques, why not contact us to see how we can help?