I’m sure you’ve heard that people fear public speaking more than death.
Lately I’ve been hearing that it’s a bogus stat, but that’s beside the point. The fact that the two get compared at all gives the fear of public speaking a serious legitimacy.
Just to be clear of what were talking about, it also gets called glossophobia, speech anxiety, or even "performance anxiety." (The last one sounds like something straight outta Viagra's marketing dept.)
Mark Twain added something similar. He said this:
I think we can agree that public speaking would be a hell of a Halloween costume.
On the surface it sounds like a problem the size of an elephant’s package, but is it really?
Should the problem be wiped off the face of the earth? After all, Tactical Talks was founded on that premise.
Come with me and let’s find out:
Really a bad thing?
Since I suffered like a lobster in boiling hot water, I will say this: FEAR SUCKS!
But is it a BAD thing? No. It’s actually a good thing.
The first reason is that it shows that you care. If you felt nothing you’d be a soulless shell spewing empty words about a topic you didn’t care about, to an audience who didn't care about you, either.
It’s basically giving you the energy needed to excite the audience. That’s a pretty good reason on its own.
But the SECOND REASON may sound a bit heavy handed.
Hear me out. It's one that’s not talked about much, and might even be a bit devious.
Here it is:
It keeps competition at bay. It’s like the “Gatekeeper” holding down competitors from flooding the market.
It’s like a government mandate, like having to purchase a liquor license to sell booze. If you can’t afford one, say goodbye to your plans to have the best damn night club in the world!
Likewise, if one can’t overcome the fear of public speaking, professional speaking would be nothing more than a pipe dream.
If there wasn't any fear, everyone and their mom’s 2nd cousin, 4th removed (I don’t know what that means) would have the skill. People would be gettin' replaced. And worse, someone’s always willing to do it for less.
This goes for job skills, professional speaking skills, best man speech skills, eulogy gurus, etc.
Get it? Good. Fear is friend!
Exceptions do exist...
Okay, so what about people who aren’t looking to be a professional speaking guru ninja master?
Or what about those who just want to be able to speak up for themselves or clearly express themselves without dying inside?
I must admit, I have a soft spot for those individuals. I wish FEAR gave them a pass.
The fear of speaking up, whether for fear of making a mistake or looking foolish in the midst of other human beings, is a burden carried by many. I know it intimately.
Unfortunately, fear does not discriminate. Fear is an unsympathetic dictator and cares not about my feelings. Yours either.
Does overcoming the fear require super-human abilities?
Competition is limited, yes, but does that mean it takes a super-human to overcome the fear of public speaking?
Everyone has the ability to overcome this limiting fear. Most aren’t willing. I understand why. I wanted to crawl back into my hole many times during my journey.
Still, there’s too much to lose by merely sitting on the sidelines wishing it would leave you alone.
Fear is overblown; the potential gains from confronting them is not.
Wrapping it up...
I’m happy the fear exists.
It holds down those that aren’t willing to put in the time to develop a skill they’re absolutely capable of doing.
I’m also grateful for the feeling it gives me every time I speak. It feels awesome. An adrenaline rush mixed with a feeling of accomplishment. I think it's what keeps me coming back for more.
Can’t beat that.
So, fear, I want to thank you for your constant presence. You keep us honest and stifle dissent like a boss.
Do you think fear is a bad thing? Comment below...unless you're too scared. And share this post why you're at it 🙂
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life. In less than a year since, I’ve started this website, Tactical Talks, competed and won 3 separate public speaking contests, wrote a book, and spoke at one of the top universities in southern California (SDSU).
And look, I’m not telling you this to “show off.” My purpose is to show you that it’s possible to start doing the things that YOU want to do. And that’s my goal. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.