All speaking is public speaking (well unless you are in a room by yourself with no-one around who can hear you).
Yet around 75% of people claim to have fear of public speaking and would rather not do it (if someone else can do it for them). In fact, some people are so paralyzed by even the thought of public speaking it sends them into a panic spiral.
From speaking up in a meeting at work, to speaking at an event of some sort, to giving a speech, there are so many places and times in your life that you will need to speak that getting over your fear will help you feel so much more comfortable and confident about these experiences.
Talking with Justine Armstrong on Fearless Public Speaking
I sat down to chat with Justine Armstrong, a psychologist who specialises in helping people become great public speakers and overcome their fears of public speaking, and we discussed why it is such a fear and a few of the myths that you will have heard that are supposed to help you get over your fear (but don’t help, that naked audience is not a good idea).
I know as an introvert, and formerly a shy introvert, that public speaking was something I avoided at all costs until I reached my thirties and I had lost some of my shyness and started to feel a little more confident in myself. I could only ever speak when performing a role (for work), I saw it like acting which allowed me to get over myself a little. Since starting my own business I’ve really had to get over this fear and even doing things like making live videos (which I now do regularly) felt very scary to me for a long time (until I actually started doing it and fortunately didn’t die). In fact, much of my fear of public speaking dissolved when I learned that my fear was ungrounded.
One of the most important tips that Justine shares in this video is on thinking about your audience and how you are serving them, rather than thinking about yourself. This can help you take the focus off yourself and think more about what is going to make a better experience for the listener.
Justine offers a free masterclass to help you overcome your fear of public speaking – you can find it here.
How do you feel about public speaking? What tips or techniques have helped you overcome your fear of public speaking? Please do share in the comments.
Oh wow, Imogen, this post really resonates with me! I am definitely in the majority of the 75% of people who fear public speaking and I am also that person who freezes in debilitating panic! I have done so many things in my life to get over this fear like going to law school (I never did stand up in a courtroom, the schooling part of it was enough to make me bail on that career rather quickly) and taking a job as a corporate trainer which sent me all over the country running training classes in front of lots of people who knew the field way better than I did! But I embraced the challenge and spoke in front of large groups all the time. But like you, it was more like acting a role and to this day, being “myself” in front of a large group is very intimidating! However, the way you started this post is forcing to me evaluate this fear further…all speaking is public speaking and I speak all the damn time. Like I never shut up! So thank you for this powerful message!
Glad that this has helped you reframe your fear! GLad that you have overcome it too.
I clicked on Justine’s link when I finished reading this post and she had a webinar starting in just 45 minutes so I registered and did it! She really offered some incredibly valuable information. I think my biggest takeaway was “shift your focus”. It is such a simple thing that I literally had never thought of! So thank you so much for this post. I have gained a bit of knowledge that I would not have otherwise!
I never took debate classes while still in school because I couldn’t imagine speaking in front of so many people. But like you, as a professional, I eventually learned how to do so and was often called upon to make presentations. I think that it was my knowledge on the subject that I was speaking that helped me overcome my fears of speaking in front of a crowd. Now I wouldn’t give it a second thought if asked.
So true -I can talk forever about a subject I know about, but don’t ask me to speak on a topic of which I have no or little knowledge or just haven’t thought about before!