It’s safe to assume the people who suffer the most from public speaking anxiety are the ones who know how important presentation skills are to their success. (But really, everyone should know that.) They’re afraid they’ll give a bad performance in front of their bosses or peers. Here’s the question we always ask: What’s the worst that can happen?
- You’ll make a mistake (and feel embarrassed)
- You’ll forget what you’re supposed to say (and feel embarrassed)
- You’ll trip, mess up your slides, or look out and realise everyone is staring at you (and feel embarrassed)
Here’s the good news: As far as we know, no one has actually died from embarrassment. Not one person. And here’s more good news: The better prepared you are for your presentation, the less likely you are to mess up (and feel embarrassed).
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or worry about a situation that is seen as menacing, and public speaking certainly fits the bill for a lot of people. This is where the fear of embarrassment comes in. People who suffer from public speaking anxiety worry about their performance—they think too much (or too little) about it. And many times, even during their presentation and when they finish giving it, they continue to worry. How did I look? What did I sound like? Did I speak too fast?
Fear, on the other hand, is the body’s response to a threat, whether real or perceived. In the case of public speaking, there is no real fear—it’s all your mind. And once you begin your presentation and your brain realises there is no real fear, you begin to relax. When you’re finished, you feel a huge sense of relief.
Being a great public speaker is a hard skill for anyone to master, and is particularly difficult for people who suffer from public speaking anxiety. View it as a challenge instead of a disability. You can be an incredible public speaker even if you suffer from public speaking anxiety. And of course we’re always here to help