The prevalence of fear of public speaking
That’s from a 1973 survey by Bruskin Associates cited in The Book of Lists in 1977. If you suffer from speech anxiety yourself, that may not be much of a surprise. As a speech coach, I work constantly with professionals who struggle with this problem. To help, I’ve created a list of the 10 most popular reasons professionals struggle with stage fright, and what they (or you) can do about it.
1. Self-consciousness in front of large groups. This is probably the most frequently named reason people experience speech-related performance anxiety. If a big audience sends your jitters into overdrive, here are two strategies that can help: (1) Remember that those people are the very same ones you talk to individually, and (2) Concentrate on having a conversation with them. Both these approaches will get your mind away from the size of the audience.
2. Fear of appearing nervous. Anxious speakers are often afraid they’ll look fearful. And if that’s the case, well, it’ll be obvious that they don’t know their stuff. But the two aren’t linked at all. If people see you sweating, they’ll probably think, “Yeah, I’d be nervous up there too.” If anything, your audience will sympathize with you.
3. Concern that others are judging you. The tough love message concerning this one is that people really don’t care about you. They’re in the audience to learn something helpful or important to their career. Remember: Watching a speaker fail is embarrassing....
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