I’m going to go ahead and apologize now. This article may hurt a few feelings. It may cause people to curse me. It might even cause somebody to throw something. Hopefully, it will inspire some people to trash their fear of public speaking while I’m at it.It’s been well documented that the fear of public speaking grips a good number of adults.
Public speaking is often said to rank higher on our list of fears that laying six feet deep in the dirt. Some people draw the analogy of a funeral by saying that most people would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy. I don’t know about you but I’m on a streak of leaving funerals alive.
Let’s dive headfirst into the Top 3 Reasons Why Public Speaking Fear is Ridiculous.
1 – It’s Unavoidable
What is that you’re saying.
You can avoid public speaking?
You don’t have to present ideas if you don’t want to?
You hate it so much that the very thought makes your stomach turn so you’ll never do it?
OK. You got me. If you prefer to live your entire life in a cave you can avoid it. If robbing yourself of the best life possible is your forte then go for it. If cowering in fear is your preferred plan then have at it. I hope you have fun and I’m glad you raised those concerns.
The story is a little different for the rest of the humans on earth. You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about those strange people that interact with others. Those crazy people that have careers. Those insane few that attend social events with the intention of (gasp) talking to other people. Those absolutely loony married men and women who are raising a family together.
Those people absolutely can’t avoid it. I’d be willing to bet you a pair of my favorite socks that you are one of the 99.9 percent.
2 – It’s Simple
When I was in college there were quite a few classes that I didn’t care much for. Computer Science was an annoying class that didn’t interest me at all. Calculus struck me as arbitrarily overcomplicated math that someone with too much time on their hands thought up.
As much I as I hated those two they were no comparison for the class I hated the most.
That class was . . . physics.
I liked the idea of taking a physics class and learning about the world around me. The actual course design was another monster altogether. Every week there were multiple homework assignments due. Each assignment had 8 questions with 4 or 5 sub questions. Every week there was a three hour lab (Did I mention my lab was on Friday?). Once a month we would have an insane test with 8 or 9 questions on it. The room for error on those tests was 2 questions max. After that you could consider the test failed. The material was foreign and poorly explained. If you had any hope of getting a decent grade in the class then you had to commit at least 15 hours to the course each week.
Physics was the bane of my college career because it was unconstitutionally hard, boring, tedious, and time consuming. I won’t name my professors because I like to protect the innocent.
Public speaking will never rival physics on the difficulty scale. There are no ballistics, kinematics, kinetics, or gravitational force formulas to memorize and apply. When you’re speaking its usually you and 20 or so people in the room. All you have to do is grab their attention, stuff them full of good information, and give them a closing they can’t forget.
Which would you rather do?
- Calculate the thermodynamic potential of a system
- Convince 20 people that its worth their time to listen to you
I’ll take menu option #2 waiter. It looks good from here.
3 – Public Speaking is Harmless
Here’s a list of phobias that I agree and sympathize with:
- Androphobia – The fear of men (men are silly, insane, immature creatures).
- Allodoxaphobia – The fear of opinions (the world would be better off with more facts and fewer opinions).
- Caligynephobia – The fear of beautiful women (they can be so harsh when they reject you).
- Coprastasophobia – The fear of constipation (constipation isn’t fun . . . not that I would know or anything).
- Zemmiphobia – The fear of the great mole rat (never seen one but it sounds mean).
Men, beautiful women, opinions, constipation, and the great mole rat have all caused great pain. Men start wars so that beautiful women will have high opinions of them. Constipation usually puts an end to the war.
The great mole rat just has a reputation of being a mean fellow.
The only thing public speaking has ever hurt is the occasional ego or 2 (other than that its completely harmless).
The fear of public speaking really is ridiculous. Each of us gives some sort of public speech day in and day out. Don’t be afraid because you have to stand up in front of a group. Public speaking is an unavoidable, simple, and harmless part of life.
Embrace it as such.
Marcus Smith is a creative force in the public speaking world who strives to meet the needs of each and every client. His experience as the Toastmasters President at a fortune 15 company will prove invaluable to you.