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Three Mindsets behind the Fear of Public Speaking

The actor George Jessel was known in his lifetime as the Toastmaster General of the United States because of his frequent stints at hosting and acting as a master of ceremonies in various affairs, both political and showbiz. He once said that, “The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” That is a very apt way to describe the fear of public speaking. To a lot of people, nothing is more frightening than the prospect of speaking in front of a crowd.

However, not many people are aware of the fact that it is they themselves who are causing their own fear of public speaking. More often than not, the fear of public speaking is something that the mind creates on its own. It becomes a kind of self-fulfilling mantra; once the mind conceives of it, it starts to believe in it.

So, if a person has a fear of public speaking, most likely he or she is only afraid because of a certain mindset that he or she has come to have. What are the mindsets that cause people to have a fear of public speaking? Here are three:

  1. The mindset that public speaking is difficult. Sometimes, the fear of public speaking stems from the mindset that a person may have, which is that public speaking is a difficult task and that should be left only to those who are capable of doing it. And so, the people who have this mindset shy away from opportunities of speaking in public because they think they are not capable of doing it.

  2. The mindset that public speaking is for smart people. There are times that the fear of public speaking comes from the notion of some people that in public speaking, it is essential for them to appear smart. Certainly, the need to look smart adds to a person’s credibility as a public speaker, but sometimes it is taken too seriously. As a result, they convey far too much information than what is necessary in their presentation, they mimic other public speakers instead of just being themselves, or they brag about being an expert on the topic they are handling instead of showing humility before their audience.

  3. The mindset that in public speaking, the audience needs to be controlled. In some cases, a person’s fear of public speaking rises from the belief that his or her audience needs to be controlled as the speech or the presentation is delivered. The thing is, the members of the audience will fidget and talk among themselves no matter what the speaker does. The speaker will never be able to control his or her audience; what the speaker can control are his or her own thoughts, behaviour and visual aids.

Public speaking is a challenging, but nonetheless a rewarding and fulfilling task. However, there are a number of mindsets that lead people to have a fear of public speaking. To overcome the fear of public speaking, these mindsets must be overcome as well.

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