There is always a negative side to every positive. Public speaking is widely accepted and admired by almost everyone. Despite the fact that over 70% of the population suffers from public speaking anxiety, people are still encouraged to be good at it because it has many advantages. From school to home to work to wherever you go. Public speaking is what connects the world and accomplishes everything. But have you ever considered that it also has drawbacks?

Everything has its own disadvantages, regardless of how advantageous and useful it is. Many opportunities can be offered to someone skilled in public speaking. It could be a spokesperson, a speechwriter, a politician, a teacher, or something else. Like being good at a particular sport, game, or profession, you will eventually see the disadvantages of doing it for an extended period. You may have assumed that public speaking could only bring good. In reality, it can also bring disadvantages. 

Top 6 Disadvantages of Public Speaking

Lets consider the disadvantages of public speaking as noted below:

1. Risk of Embarrassment

As previously stated, public speaking can boost your confidence and improve your life in various ways. However, public speaking is still an anxiety-inducing experience. Imagine you've been preparing for the speech or presentation for a few days, carefully familiarizing yourself with what you're going to say and how you will say it. You cut yourself off from your desires and leisure time, and you had a lot of sleepless nights. Is it a sure bet for a successful speech? No, many have underperformed especially if one lacks experience. 

Remember that everything is important when it comes to public speaking. If your tone, voice, gestures, or other elements fail, it can negatively impact the rest of your presentation. Your self-esteem would substantially decrease if you failed to deliver an effective speech or any activity involving social interaction. You will have difficulty expressing yourself and will shrink when confronted with a large number of people. This is the type of fear that most people have regarding public speaking.

2. Time Sink

You must work extremely hard in terms of time, perhaps ignoring all phone notifications or disconnecting from social media. Preparing for public speaking can necessitate a higher level of diligence than preparing for an examination depending on factors like the length of the speech or experience level.

Every day, you will be reading, researching, and memorizing. After creating an outline for your speech or presentation, some public speakers are required to do prepare some prop or visual aid for creativity and audience engagement, based on the type of presentation.

Practicing public speaking entails more than simply repeating your script. You could identify the flaws by filming yourself delivering a speech, analyzing what you will say, preparing for a possible Q&A, and performing some extra vocal warm-ups as noted in our previous article. Yes, this could be a very time-consuming process!

3. Lack of Control

There are many aspects of public speaking that you cannot control once you are in front of an audience. Most of the time, regardless of what you have planned, an unexpected event will occur that will cause it to go in a different direction.

The most common example is when there is an open forum or Q&A. If, for example, your entire speech is devoted to promoting a type of product on Amazon, a single question from the audience has the potential to derail your entire argument.

When you take the stage as a public speaker, you allow yourself to be evaluated and assessed by the audience. You cannot control their minds to only ask easy questions. Worse, one question can jeopardize your entire presentation and embarrass you if not properly. A single question may leave you blank and unsure of how to respond. This could be the source of your public speaking anxiety, which leads us to the next item.

4. Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and trauma associated with public speaking are not to be taken lightly. Some people believe that when someone has severe public speaking anxiety, they simply exaggerate. This is completely false; we all deal with difficult situations differently, and no one can tell you what to do.

The same thing happened to Danish Dhamani, the Co-founder of Orai, a public speech coaching app. When his teacher asked him to introduce himself, he could hear everyone in the room giggling. After a few years in America, his trauma persisted until he entered college.

This only goes to show that public speaking anxiety is no laughing matter. Even one of the best public speaking coaches, Danish Dhamani, has struggled with anxiety in the past. Worse, the public speaking phobia can lead to depression, making you pessimistic about everything because of a single embarrassment. Some have even wondered if they should take Xanax or Beta Blockers before giving a presentation.


5. Irritated Audience

In the article, Why Is Time Management Important in a Presentation, you come to understand why an irritated audience is also a disadvantage. The audience is the group to whom you will present your ideas. If one of the speakers presenting before you went over their allotted time, it could also affect your presentation.

For example, if you and the other speaker are asked to speak 30 minutes before lunch, you will be given 15 minutes. When the other speaker consumes the entire 30 minutes, the audience's disdain will reflect on the next speaker, you.

If the audience appears irritated, sleepy, tired, hungry, or even hostile, it can affect you as a speaker. You will feel undervalued and despised. As a result, your many days of preparation for that big day will be wasted. 

6. False Information

A great public speaker can always persuade the audience to believe everything they say with enough skill and practice. As what will be considered below, this is what relates to Sophism. Many people spread and believe inaccurate news, just as it is in the media. People can easily accept the information because the people reporting a specific event are known to be excellent news anchors and outlets. A lie can easily become the truth with the right tone, gestures, pronunciation, and word choice.

False information is one of the most dangerous disadvantages of public speaking. The COVID-19 pandemic news is the most recent example; when something is spread by a great public speaker, there is a significant chance that many people will believe it without verifying the facts.

Sophistry - The Danger In Public Speaking

We are not surprised that being good at public speaking boosts our confidence. When you have the impression that your thoughts and ideas are being admired and well-applauded by the audience, it gives you the confidence that you can do more. It can instill in you the belief that being good at public speaking grants you the ability to persuade, entertain, and inform others. As a result, it's possible that you'll overdo it. The first essential tool you should have before presenting yourself is self-confidence. But keep in mind that overconfidence can lead to arrogance. 

What role does sophistry play in this? In ancient Greece, Sophism was a pre-Socratic school of thought. They are the reasoning that appears to be just and sound but is deceptive. They either attack the person rather than focusing on the argument, provide irrelevant responses, or simply lie to win an argument. In other words, the sophist's primary goal is not to discover the truth but rather to win the argument.

Many are guilty of this when it comes to public speaking. For example, in a debate, even if the panel of judges knows the truth, they cannot put themselves inside the argument. They evaluate it based on the organization and clarity of the argument, the use of rebuttals, and the presentation style.

If, for example, Team A has inaccurate information but are better public speakers and communicators than Team B, the former is likely to win the debate despite the latter's factual arguments. As a result, the audience will think that Team A won because of facts.

Sophistry runs rampant in public speaking; rather than attaining the truth, sometimes public speakers will focus on gaining an audience. When you establish your authority as a public speaker, the audience will believe almost everything you say.

Relativism is defined as a focus on subjective truth rather than objective truth. When a skilled public speaker says something that the audience is unaware of, it becomes the truth. That’s the precise reason why Plato despised Sophistry: it destroys our ability to think critically and converse respectfully.

Final Thoughts

Public speaking, no matter how beneficial it is, has several disadvantages. This article aims not to discourage you from becoming a good public speaker. Nobody should discourage you from achieving greatness in public speaking. To fully understand and appreciate the value of public speaking, you must first understand the drawbacks that it may bring. This is for you to recognize how to balance it prudently and control yourself in tough situations.

For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check the articles Online Resources for Public Speaking and Where Can I Learn Public Speaking. Now that you know the disadvantages of public speaking, also consider reading Can Public Speaking Make You Smarter?


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Posted in  Public Speaking Topics   on  January 19, 2022 by  Dan W ,   Top 5 Disadvantages of Public Speaking [The Truth Revealed]

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