Is anyone born with the fear of public speaking? How come many have a fear of public speaking?
Knowing that nearly everybody is tempted by fear may be consoling. Fear is learned, and many people, perhaps unconsciously, are busily teaching it.
Stage fright must be learned because people have only two natural fears at birth — the fear of falling and fear of loud noise. Then how is fear of speaking to an audience learned? .
It could start when three-year-old Bobby comes into the house, saying, “Daddy, Daddy! Look! Come look at ,the fire trucks! They have ladders and everything! And they’re all painted red! Come on, Daddy, look at the fire trucks!”.
As the little fellow speaks he waves his arms, bugs his eyes, and -nods his head toward a front window. But in vain. Father’s long face is like a twisted prune as he looks up from the news and says dryly, “Yes, yes, son, I know. Go play with your blocks. Daddy wants to read.”
When Bobby started to school he was excited about nearly everything. He learned the rules and he learned to> lose much of his brave, lively spirit. He got a special lesson in this one day from a teacher who had argued with her boy friend the night before.
It happened at recess when Billy was raving about the picture of a ship on the wall. “What a pretty ship!” he cried. “I’d like to ride on a big boat like that. Miss Day, have you ever been on a ship?”
“Well . . . have you?”
“Billy, little boys should be seen and not heard,” snapped the teacher.
At home Billy wants to chat with people who come to visit. But his mother knows “silence is golden,” so she sends Billy to his room to play with his silent golden blocks.
Other people say, “You talk too much, boy. Don’t ask so many silly questions.”
After feeling several wet blankets Bill’s lively spirit is curbed.
After all, he doesn’t want to be odd, so he won’t talk so much. Nobody’s going to call him “Windy.” So he actually becomes afraid to speak freely.
My next post will continue on how the fear of public speaking is learnt. I will in this series on the fear of public speaking provide some tips to overcoming it to be a confident speaker.