Why Public Speaking Is Number One Fear And How To Overcome It

Why Public Speaking is number one fear and how to overcome your inners fear of public speaking

The fear of public speaking is real, and it is wide spread. Several studies conducted in the United State on fear concluded it is the number one fear for many people. Scarier than snakes, spiders, and even death!

The fear of public speaking presents itself, physically, in a variety of ways. From racing heart, upset stomach and sweating to loss of memory, expression of nervous tics and more. The good news is that this is a fear that can be overcome, or at least reeled in so that you can give the presentation you need to without feeling extreme anxiety.

For many people, the fear stems from not wanting to be embarrassed, not wanting to look foolish, or being judged by their audience. There are some things you can do to prepare yourself for your presentation, particularly as it relates to your fear. The key to overcoming fear is to take all steps necessary to make sure you have a well-prepared presentation. This means starting early and practicing. Also, changing how you think of your audience is an important first step.

Your Audience is Rooting For Your

Think of your audience as your friends. Greet a few members of the audience before you start speaking, perhaps while they are filling in the room. Establishing a few connections with people in the audience will break down the “wall” between the speaker and audience.

Assume that the people in your audience are there because they want to learn from you. With that in mind, you can also assume that they are rooting for you to deliver a great presentation and are looking forward to hearing you speak. Think of when you have sat in an audience. You are looking forward to hearing the speaker, whether it to be informed or entertained. You are not wishing bad things for the speaker; rather, you want them to succeed.

Plan Early

As soon as you find out you need to give a presentation, start planning.  You should find out, upfront the following:

  • amount of time for the presentation
  • what is the main message you need to get across
  • who is the audience
  • how many attendees are expected
  • room layout and size
  • what resources are available in the room (e.g., screen, projector)

The goal of getting answers to these questions is so that you can start with the end in mind. Once you have this information, you can start to plan your presentation.


Practicing your presentation is a great way to work on the timing and delivery of your speech. You don’t want to run the risk of speaking too long, which is rude to those who have to follow you, or not speaking long enough, which can result in unplanned time at the event.

Practice your presentation in front of your trusted advisors. They can give you feedback on your presentation style and identify areas of improvement. The goal of practicing is to make you comfortable with your content, so that it will flow.



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