How about fretting about all the stuff that could go wrong or errors you could make?
If you said yes, you’re not alone.
3 of 4 adults admit to suffering from speech anxiety or ‘glossophobia’ according to a recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health.
In a similar study we completed 18 months ago, just 1 in 5 Irish adults claimed to have any confidence when speaking in public.
Any yet, most of us feel entirely comfortable about having conversations with our friends, families or peers. Indeed, we Irish are famous for our ‘gift of the gab’.
So, why do the rules seem to change once we have to be upstanding in front of others?
The most common fears people have of speaking include:
- I’ll forget what I want to say
- I’ll stumble over words
- I’ll go blank
- I’ll look foolish
Have you noticed something all of these things have in common?
It’s the ‘I’ bit. In other words, a focus on self or ego
Lose your ego and gain an audience
Here’s the thing, while there may be an ‘i’ in speaking, it’s so not about you.
Shocking as it may seem, your audience is almost never as focused or bothered about you (the speaker) as they are about themselves.
Most audience members are much more interested in the old marketing mantra of WIIFM – what’s in it for me.
So spend less time worrying about how you look or sound, check your ego (if you have one) somewhere before you speak and concentrate all of your energies on the only thing that counts – what your audience gets out of the experience.
What do you think?
Does parking your ego seem like a hard thing to do?
What makes your nerves jangle before you speak and what tactics do you use to calm these?