Overcoming fear of public speaking | Author: Benjamin van Spijck

Causes of the fear of public speaking and how to overcome it

For many of us, the fear of speaking in public is an everyday reality. Eight out of ten people suffer, to a greater or lesser degree, from the fear of speaking in public and this fear can be found in all age groups. Men and women suffer to an equal extent. The fear of public speaking is a persistent fear of critical judgement from others. Actually, it is fear of making ourselves look ridiculous.

The fear of public speaking is a social phobia that comes in various kinds and to varying degrees. Many people have trouble speaking to large groups. Others particularly experience fear during a one-to-one conversation. And there are still others who find it difficult to remain calm while talking to superiors. Also, many people are terrified when they have to speak in situations on which something depends, like interviews and oral exams.

The fear of public speaking is also referred to as an anticipation fear, which means that the fearful person anticipates that speaking will lead to something awful like public failure or a black-out. He then anticipates avoiding the situation. For the fearful person, this seems to be the best solution. What he doesn't realise is that by avoiding such situations, the fear not only remains, it grows.

Opinions differ about the precise cause of public-speaking fear, although there are three groups of causes that often play a part in the creation and persistence of the fear. These groups of causes are: lack of knowledge or skills, bad experiences and negative thought.

Lack of knowledge or skills

For people who don't know how to give a speech, the very prospect of having to do so can make them fearful. And fear of failure can strike those who have to give a speech on a subject they know little about. Fear that is based on a lack of knowledge or skills is, in general, quite easy to resolve. The level of knowledge can be raised by a little study of the subject, and the necessary presentation skills can be gained by following a presentation training course. If someone with a lack of knowledge or skills does give a presentation, it can indeed result in a bad experience.

Bad experiences

Bad experiences lie at the root of many people's fear of public speaking. That could have already begun in early childhood. Many small children have bad speaking experiences because others don't really listen to what they have to say. Being laughed at during a talk at school is a bad experience. Repeatedly receiving negative feedback from colleagues or boss about your presentations is a bad experience. Bad experiences lead to negative thought: 'it didn't go well then, so it won't go well next time, either'. That is the thought pattern that hinders good preparation and strengthens the fear of speaking in public. You can't undo bad experience, but you can do something about the negative thoughts bad experiences have produced.

Negative thought

Negative thoughts are far and away the most important cause of the fear of public speaking. Negative thoughts are thoughts like: 'if I have to give a presentation, I'll certainly be terrified and everyone will think I'm an idiot' or 'they'll be bound to find my presentation boring and think I'm stupid'. The source of negative thought is not always clear, although it is accepted that in many cases they spring from bad experiences. The result of negative thought is often the same: negative thought leads to an avoidance of situations where public speaking is necessary.

Overcoming the fear of public speaking

Benjamin van Spijck http://www.overcoming-fear-of-public-speaking.com has developed a method by which the fear of public speaking can be quickly and completely overcome: Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking.

'Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking' is a 21-day programme with which anyone can overcome his fear of speaking in public. The programme is based on a unique combination of relaxation exercises, psychotherapy techniques and neurological insights. It is exactly this combination of techniques that makes this programme more effective than traditional methods. The techniques used are:

Cognitive restructuring - a technique used in cognitive psychotherapy for replacing irrational, fearful thoughts with rational, positive thoughts.

Imaginary exposure - a technique used in behavioural psychotherapy for breaking vicious fear circles.

Mind mapping - a method recognised by neurologists of storing information that better suits the human brain. By mind mapping, anyone can give a speech or presentation from memory in a natural way.

Visualization - an important element in the psychological training of top-class sportsmen for the mental preparation of performance.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) - a powerful relaxation method based on the principles of muscle physiology.

By logically following the training programme, which is based on the combination of these five techniques, anyone can overcome their fear of public speaking. In 21 days, in the safety of their own home.

Speak comfortably and confidently in only 21 days.


About the Author:

As a communications trainer, it's my ambition to help people overcome their fears of public speaking. For many of us, fear of public speaking is an everyday reality. But that's absolutely not necessary. The fear of public speaking is an irrational fear; a fear of something that is actually quite harmless.