Katy Morin

Why Are People So Anxious About Public Speaking?

For some people, public speaking comes easily and for others, it's an activity they would rather avoid. Regardless of whether you're a natural or not, there are many reasons why people become anxious about public speaking. It's your responsibility to be prepared before going into a speech so that you will not only feel more confident but also more prepared.

If you're anxious about any upcoming speeches in your future, this article is for you! You'll learn what causes people to become nervous when presenting to an audience and the best ways to overcome it. 

The Top 10 Causes People Get Nervous About Public Speaking

1. Lack of Preparation
Before taking to the audience, you must first prepare your public speaking material. If you are not prepared, the audience will sense that. They'll know that you are ill-prepared and unprepared to present on your topic, which results in a lot of anxiety. The key is to be prepared and organized so that you can stay calm and collected during your speech. Practice and feel confident before going in front of an audience, so you can handle any questions they may ask or comments they may make.

2. Fear of being judged
Being anxious about public speaking stems from the fear of being judged by others. You fear what other people may think or say about you after your speech is over. As you are presenting to the audience, hoping they will like what you have to say, you wonder how your speech is being received. The anxiety that results from this fear leads people to panic when in front of others. People are offended by negative comments, which can be hurtful when they are expressed in public. Even the nicest person can be called a horrible name when in front of a crowd.

3. Fear of making a fool of oneself
In front of an audience, you may feel that you're going up to speak and instead, your mind is racing with fear. The more nervous you become, the worse it feels. People get nervous when in front of others because they feel they may appear foolish or ridiculous. Getting nervous in this way can cause people to give a bad speech, which can lead to them feeling mortified in public. If you fear making a fool out of yourself in public, practice your speech in a calm and collected manner the night before to be able to do the same when presenting from the podium.

4. Social anxiety
People who are shy are the most likely to be nervous about public speaking. Speaking in front of an audience can cause people with social anxiety to become extremely nervous. They fear that they will say something embarrassing or pry onto other people's personal lives. These kind of topics can cause people with social anxiety to panic and feel like they cannot function properly in public. Having a meltdown in front of others can hurt their self-esteem, making them feel worthless and not accepted by family members or friends.

5. Not enough preparation time
Not enough preparation time leads to nervousness, which leads to having a bad speech or feeling like you aren't prepared for your presentation at all. When you have a lot of time in order to plan and prepare for your speech, you will not be as anxious in the days leading up to it. To avoid this, try saying that you have "less than 24 hours" before your speech to ensure that enough time is available to prepare thoroughly.

6. The fear of failing
People who fear failing in front of others can get really nervous about public speaking. They think about their presentation and how it will go and if they'll say something embarrassing or make a fool out of themselves in front of everyone. This type of anxiety stems from people's fear that they'll fail to live up to the expectations set by others and their own self-esteem issues. This type of anxiety can cause people to have a bad speech when in front of an audience because they are too worried about what the audience will think.

7. The fear of receiving negative comments
The fear of receiving negative comments in front of others is one that causes a large number of people to be anxious about public speaking. Everyone knows that when in front of an audience, not everyone will receive a positive response from them. People must be given constructive criticism when in front of others if they want to improve, which means that some may not be able to take it very well. Those who are sensitive or easily offended don't want to hear negative comments in public and can feel hurt or attacked by them.

8. The fear of looking foolish
Although this may describe someone who is more on the shy side, there are some people who hold back on speaking in public because they don't want to appear "stupid" or "weird." These types of people can become extremely nervous when in front of an audience because they worry that they will be mocked or ridiculed by others. To avoid this issue, it's important to feel confident about yourself and your speech so that you don't worry about anything while presenting in front of an audience.

9. Not enough time to prepare thoroughly
People with an extremely tight schedule often put off preparing for their speeches until the last minute. Sometimes, they simply don't have enough time to prepare for their presentation. This type of anxiety can cause people to run into problems while presenting on stage due to their lack of preparation time. It's important to have some free time in your schedule so that you can prepare for your speech ahead of time. 

10. Too much pressure
If you are being pressured or forced to give a big presentation at work or school, it can lead you to get nervous about public speaking. If someone is constantly pressuring you to do well or perform well, it can make you feel nervous inside and make your speech seem like it's not important enough for this person. Since you feel pressured, you can become nervous in public and thus give a bad speech.

11. Time constraints
Time constraints can cause people to feel extremely nervous and stressed when in front of others. This is because they haven't prepared enough and haven't had enough time to prepare their presentation before the big day comes. 

Once again, preparation is key when it comes to public speaking and finding ways to overcome your nerves as it will be reflected in the end product. A lot of people fail to do this and their talks are lackluster as a result. The reality is that public speaking is not any different from regular conversation. If you're asking yourself, "How can I overcome my anxiety the next time I have to give a presentation?" the answer is simple. By putting in the work beforehand, you'll be able to overcome your anxiety because you'll know what you're talking about.

Here's how:

Take your time and organize your presentation well ahead of time so that there will be no surprises when it's your turn to speak. 
Think about the topic at length so that you feel comfortable with it before going live on stage or in front of your audience. Make sure that you're able to convey your message in a clear and concise manner. Practice your speech beforehand with friends, family or even by yourself. You don't have to go overboard with this, but you should practice it at least once or twice before getting up on stage. Remember, preparation is the key to overcoming your anxiety and becoming more effective when presenting to an audience.

Recognize the signs of anxiety or panic.
This way you'll know what to expect when they come along. If you feel too hot, use some ice packs or cool down with a glass of water. If you feel too nervous, try to find a quiet place to sit or stretch. Listen to your breathing and embrace the feeling of your heartbeat. Think about how your body is reacting, which will allow you to focus on the present moment. Focus on what's important in the speech and remember that slow controlled breathing is the best way to remain calm. If you're having trouble with this, consider counting numbers in your head instead. If all else fails, fake it until you make it. People will most likely believe that you're confident as soon as they see that you are anyway!

Public speaking is a unique activity because it makes everyone feel a little uneasy. For this reason, you've got to remember to breathe and take a moment to refocus your thoughts if you feel anxious during a speech. That's why many people choose to practice their presentation beforehand by going through it slowly and carefully until they feel comfortable with the content. If you want to be the best speaker that you can possibly be, now is the time to start working on those techniques. It will help keep those nerves at bay as long as you're prepared!
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