Who loves to speak in front of an audience?

Possibly politicians do.

And children too.

Not so sure about anyone else though.

I suspect the reluctance to speak in front of an audience is due to fear.

You may even be familiar with a few types of fear.

There is the fear of ridicule, the fear of the unknown, the fear of forgetfulness, the fear of criticism, the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of lack of preparation, and the fear of rejection.

And while reactions may vary from person to person, have you ever uttered (or thought) any of the following statements when asked give a speech, or presentation?

  • ‘I’m not ready (ever)!’
  • ‘I wouldn’t know what to say.’
  • ‘Who would be interested in what I have to say?’
  • ‘I don’t feel well.’
  • ‘Why me? Can’t someone else do it?’

So, while I could write an article about the importance of rehearsal and preparation in delivering speeches, I would rather get real about a key aspect of public speaking that many people tend to gloss over.

That is, the fear and anxiety associated with public speaking.


‘All forms of anxiety come from the fact that there is somewhere in our consciousness the feeling of incomplete knowledge of the situation.
This lack of knowledge leads to a sense of insecurity and then to anxiety, with all its degrees of intensity.’

Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis
Suzuki, D.T.

Okay, then: public speaking is a classic example of not knowing the outcome.

Who knows how an audience is going to react?

‘But what if they laugh?’ I hear you say.

What if they do?

Maybe, the reason for their laughter is that they find the content of your speech entertaining; perhaps, even laughing at themselves due to your witty ability to speak so well to their listening, life experience, and understanding.

So, do yourself a favour: the next time someone asks you to give a speech, or presentation, do not automatically assume doom and gloom.

Take control.

Face your fears. Tell them you intend to add the skill of public speaking to your ever-expanding toolkit of experience and expertise.

Then, with focus and determination, prepare and practise your speech.

Copyright uncapIdeas 2017


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