The fear of public speaking is one of the greatest fears the majority of people ever face. However, if you understand the reason for your fear and are able to work through this, you will be able to stand up and present a meaningful message and go on to pursue more social achievements.
The fear of public speaking has little to do with the fear of speaking; people speak fluently to each other every day. It is not even the fear of speaking in front of a great number of people, because many of us have achieved this when we were at school or later at work. The fear of public speaking is actually the fear of speaking in front of someone whom we believe or assume has something we do not, or who has more than we have.
There are seven primary fears that could be associated with the fear of public speaking. The first fear
is the fear of speaking before those we perceive to have more intelligence, more specialised knowledge, perhaps more education than we have. So, if you are a high school student and you look out into the audience and see a prestigious college professor who is an expert on the subject you're about to talk about, you could have a fear of speaking. The second fear
is the fear of speaking in front of those who you perceive to be more successful in business, those who have achieved more, and comparing yourself to them and minimising yourself and exaggerating them. Perhaps you are speaking on business success in front of people who have multinational corporations whilst you have just started your little business. The third fear
is the fear of speaking before those who you perceive to be more financially perceptive or wealthier than you are. If you are talking about how to become wealthy and financially independent, you will probably feel intimidated when compared to those who have already achieved financial success. The fourth fear
is the fear of speaking before those who you perceive to be more stable or impressive in their family dynamic. Therefore, if you were speaking on family or relationship issues in front of somebody who has had a good 40-year marriage while you have just married or already have three divorces, you will probably be intimidated. The fifth fear
is the fear of speaking before someone who is more socially powerful, more influential and more respected than you are. It is more common to listen quietly to those you look up to and speak boldly before those who look up to you. The sixth fear
is the fear of speaking before people you perceive to be healthier and more beautiful than you are or who have more knowledge or skill in those particular fields, particularly when you are talking on the topics of health and beauty. The seventh fear
is the fear of speaking before someone who you perceive to be more spiritually aware. In this situation, you will withdraw from revealing your inspiring message.
Withdrawing from fear
The moment you perceive or think that others have more than you do in any of these seven areas of life, you will tend to withdraw and become less empowered for fear of what they might think of you. Whenever you assume that other's opinions of you are more important than your own opinion, you will tend to draw back into your shell. However, you will not have the fear of speaking out when you perceive yourself to be more influential or powerful than those you are talking to.
The underlying reasons or fears of public speaking all boil down to subordinating to those you perceive and feel have something you do not. So when you minimise yourself to them or exaggerate them, your ability to speak fluently and confidently speak will diminish. In many cases, people combine more than one or even all of these seven fears together, when they look out at their audience. They believe that some are more intelligent, others more successful, wealthier, more stable in relationships, more influential, healthier and more spiritually moral. No wonder they are afraid to stand up and speak.
We are not here to live in the shadows of anyone; we are here to stand on the shoulders of giants. To overcome these fears, it is wise to ask yourself where and when you demonstrate these same traits. The moment you can identify these same skills, and own them to the same degree, and see yourself as an equal, your fear will subside and you can fluently share your message of inspiration.