Why People Get Nervous Before Public Speaking by Peter Dhu

75% of people report fear of public speaking. This and the fear of being observed by others can be overwhelming. And we often go into that fight or flight mode, as if we are under some threat to our lives.  In this article, we will explore the six main reasons why people feel nervous before presenting in front of an audience.

Top reasons why people get nervous before public speaking

1. Imposter syndrome

Feeling like a fraud and believing that others are more qualified to speak on the topic can lead to impostor syndrome. The fear of not being good enough or not having enough experience can be overwhelming. Imposter syndrome certainly contributes to nerves before presenting in public.

If you would like to learn more, listen to Sam Dhu’s podcast on Imposter Syndrome.

2. Fear of negative evaluation

The fear of what others will think of you and your message is a major factor in public speaking anxiety. This is known as FOPO (Fear of Other People’s Opinion) and can prevent you from delivering your message effectively. No one like to receive negative feedback or negative evaluation, so it feels safer not to speak up

3. Public speaking topic is out of your depth

Feeling overwhelmed by a complex topic or fearing that the audience is more knowledgeable than you can lead to nervousness before speaking. This can happen when you are relatively new in a role or have just been promoted or you may be filling in for a more senior person. 

4. Social anxiety

Even the most confident individuals can feel nervous in social settings, and presenting in public can exacerbate these feelings. The thought of speaking in front of a group of 50 or more people can cause anxiety.

5. Introversion

For those who are naturally introverted, the idea of being the center of attention can be terrifying. They may prefer to be a bystander or an observer than an active participant or a leader. Many introverts avoid public speaking because they just don’t want to be the center of attention.

6. Fear of failure

The fear of making a mistake, of going blank, of saying the wrong thing or having a complete melt down in front of an audience can prevent many people from even trying to speak.

In conclusion, it is normal to feel nervous before public speaking. The good news is that with training, coaching, and preparation, these fears can be overcome. Don’t let these reasons hold you back from expressing yourself and sharing your message with the world.

Interested in improving your public speaking skills? Join Peter at the Winning Presentation Skills on October 23rd in Perth. Limited seats available, so register now!

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