Fear of public speaking is a widely known form of anxiety. People are not born with the ability to speak in public; they must train themselves. When they are asked to speak in front of a large group of people, they experience anxiety and fear, which causes excessive sweating and nausea.
In such cases, it does not imply that they did not adequately prepare for the speech or presentation. Rather, they are perfectly aware of what they need to say before taking the stage. But once they're there, everything will be ruined by their fear.
Many people including students and professionals alike have asked themselves, "Why do I struggle with public speaking?" as the struggle is real!
If you have difficulty speaking in public, you can overcome this by first speaking to small groups of people and then gradually expanding to a larger audience. Most people who suffer from public speaking anxiety are shy even when speaking in front of familiar people; therefore, you must overcome this by speaking in front of a combination of familiar and unfamiliar people and doing so often. As a result, your self-confidence will improve, and your anxiety level will decrease.
Why Do I Have Trouble Speaking in Public?
Most of the time, your difficulty speaking in public is caused by either one of three factors: Psychological, Environmental, or Biological. This article will discuss some of the top ten reasons you have difficulty speaking in public. While the reasons may differ from person to person, identifying them will assist you in overcoming your public speaking anxiety.
If you are one of the many asking yourself "Why do I struggle with public speaking?", here are 10 reasons:
1. Being self-conscious when speaking in front of a large group of people
You are aware that your anxiety will not manifest when you speak in front of your friends or family. However, when speaking in front of a larger group of people, anxiety attacks you. You believe that your friends and family have known you for too long and are already aware of your behavior. On the other hand, because many people do not know you well, being self-conscious is common.
2. Afraid of appearing nervous
Almost every speaker is afraid of appearing nervous in front of their audience, which is completely normal. However, if you allow this to prevent you from delivering an excellent speech or presentation, you should try to readjust your perception.
You don't need to worry about being afraid to appear nervous; instead, concentrate on ways to minimize showing signs of nervousness when speaking in public. Ask yourself this: If you were in the audience and noticed that the speaker was nervous, would you make judgments? No, in a lot of instances, you sympathize.
3. Afraid of being judged
This is the most common one; knowing that many people will be watching you, you will begin to be afraid of being judged. The truth is that not many in the audience will care about you personally because they are there to hear your speech. They simply want their time to be well spent. If your speech fails, it will be an embarrassing experience for everyone. For this reason, instead of being afraid of being judged, focus on having a good message and delivery.
4. Past Failures
One of your public speaking fears is a failure in the past. You may have given a presentation in the past, but it did not go well. That experience will haunt you. It will always come into your mind every time you are about to deliver a speech. As a result, even before you take the stage, you are shaking and expecting to stumble in front of the audience.
This will make it difficult for you to give a good speech. Keep in mind that every great public speaker has been through this. They will never become experts in public speaking if they would have allowed past failures to dictate future performance.
5. Insufficient Preparation
If you do not prepare thoroughly, there is a strong possibility that you will deliver a poor speech. This is perhaps the simplest to address, but it is also the most irrational reason for public speaking anxiety. If this is why you are afraid to speak in front of an audience, then make time for yourself to prepare.
One could suggest that is considered selfish to be extremely self-conscious while delivering a speech. But what we are suggesting here, is to think about your audience and their concerns more than you think about yourself.
Remember that your audience is the more powerful group, and you are there to effectively deliver your message that will impact them in a positive way. Your extreme self-consciousness will only make it difficult for you to have a positive influence on your audience. Remember to instill a meaningful message that will satisfy them after your speech or presentation concludes.
7. Doubting your abilities
This is one of the acceptable reasons for your fear of public speaking. Because no one starts as an expert in public speaking, most experts have been through this. We've all reached the point where we believe our abilities are insufficient.
This should not discourage you but rather motivate you to work harder to improve your public speaking skills. Doubting your abilities is essentially a form of self-reflection that will allow you to improve yourself!
8. Uncomfortable with your body
Body language is extremely important when delivering a speech in front of an audience. This is true, but you should not put too much emphasis on it. Your body should be relaxed, and you should maintain your calm by taking a short walk and making appropriate gestures.
One of the reasons people are uncomfortable with their own bodies is that they don't know how their bodies should behave to every word they utter. When making a point, use gestures and a small walk to demonstrate the sincerity of your speech; therefore, ensure that you understand your speech word per word. For a more in-depth discuss, please check out the article 'Why Using Gestures is Important.'
9. Breathing Techniques
If you're not a singer or an actor, you probably don't know how to breathe while speaking. An effective breathing technique is your best friend, and you should never underestimate its importance.
One of the reasons why speakers lose confidence in front of an audience is that they cannot breathe properly. That is normal, especially if you are constantly speaking. When rehearsing for a speech or presentation, you should also practice proper breathing techniques. This will allow you to deliver your speech more comfortably and calmly.
10. Negatively Comparing Yourself To Others’ Performance
Whether you are the first speaker or not, it is not appropriate to compare your performance to others. Your only goal to become an excellent speaker is to deliver a meaningful speech with passion.
Suppose you compare yourself to someone else's performance before speaking. In that case, it could affect your performance because you will feel inadequate with what you have. And comparing yourself after you deliver your speech will leave you feeling insecure. You're more likely to lose confidence in your subsequent speeches and presentations if you do so. Remember that you are unique, and comparing yourself to others will not help.
How to Prepare for a Speech
Preparation is the most important thing that any public speaker should have. When you see someone delivering an effective speech, always know that person spent decent time preparing and rehearsing before taking the stage. The question is, how did they achieve this? Here are some pointers for preparing a speech or presentation.
1. Choose a topic
It is strongly advised that you choose a topic that interests you. You cannot choose an algebra topic if you are a law student. You must focus on something that piques your interest or compels you to tell a story about yourself. The more you know about your subject, the more genuine your message is.
2. Know the venue
You must be aware of the venue's appearance, whether it is a classroom, conference room, banquet hall, or auditorium. This can help you in various ways. It gives you a lot of confidence because the audio and visual components will help you determine how much you will need to project your voice or if you can utilize visual aids.
Even if no one is listening, you can go to the venue and give your speech at least once. Believe me, this can have a positive effect!
3. Don't Script it
Most people will forget their speeches because they are memorized the script word for word. They will have difficulty remembering the script if they forget it in the middle. Rather than memorizing your script word per word, make a list of points and learn how to develop an outline.
Getting to know your subject well, will assist you in delivering a natural and extemporaneous speech or presentation.
4. Develop a strict routine
Time management is important to avoid wasting your time. You should create a routine that you can follow every day before the speech. You should limit your time spent on video games and other unnecessary activities. To have a more relaxed mind, you should get enough sleep and exercise.
5. Formulate Difficult Questions
A good speaker will leave no room for audience rebuttals. You should also prepare difficult questions that may arise from your speech as part of your preparation. The key to true victory for public speakers is anticipating the questions that may arise.
Remember to thank the audience for their questions and participation both before and after you answer.
6. Get Some Perspective
Get some perspective from yourself and others to avoid feeling overly self-conscious. This can be accomplished by practicing in front of a mirror, filming yourself, and delivering your speech to friends or family. This will determine which bad habits can be avoided to improve your speech.
Feedback is an important tool for the progression of a speaker/presenter!
7. Be Optimistic
Never imagine yourself failing to deliver an outstanding speech to the audience; rather, imagine yourself succeeding! The more confident you are that you will succeed, the more impressive your speech will be. Not everyone has the opportunity to participate in a public speaking engagement.
If you have it, enjoy it and give it your all. Anticipate yourself being applauded by the audience.
Acknowledge Your Anxiety
It's normal to be nervous while preparing for a speech. Rather than ignoring it, sit with it and acknowledge everything before it's too late. The more you acknowledge it, the less noticeable it will be on speech day. If you ignore it, there's a good chance it'll explode the moment you walk onto the stage. Even the experts in public speaking experience nervousness before the speech day.
As noted, there are many reasons why you may struggle with public speaking. Are you self-conscience? Unprepared? Scared from past experiences? Well, please remember that once you are cognizant of your struggle, you can take steps to improve as a speaker/presenter. Its starts by learn
For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check out the article ‘Online Resources for Public Speaking‘. If you would like to leverage the best presentation software for your next big speaking engagement please read the article 'Best Presentation Technology tools'.