Public speaking is the number one fear of the average person. It’s a statistic that’s repeated constantly. But the question remains: “Why?”
There are plenty of psychologists that will give you a theory. But here’s another thought. Could it be that we fear public speaking because it is an unnatural act for the human species? Put another way, if you look at the evidence, humans were not designed to stand in front of large groups and speak. As a result, most of us feel uncomfortable doing it.
Consider the evidence:
- Exhibit A: Our voices. We have soft voices that obviously weren’t designed to address large groups of people. If we were intended to address large groups, wouldn’t we have voices that didn’t need microphones to be heard in large auditoriums?
- Exhibit B: Our stature. If we were intended to speak to large groups, we would be much taller. That way we wouldn’t have to stand on platforms when addressing large groups.
- Exhibit C: Our facial features. One of the most expressive things about our bodies is our faces. Yet we have small eyes and mouths. Our facial expressions are only effective when speaking in intimate settings where your listeners can really read your face.
The number one way to overcome a fear of public speaking is to rehearse like crazy. Next time you’re feeling really nervous about a presentation, practice like your life depends on it. You’ll still be nervous, but you’ll do a lot better than you expect.
Joey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”