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Public Speaking Fear? You Should Be Afraid

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By Paul Evans

Like most pubic speaking consultants, I usually hammer all the reasons a person should not be afraid of presenting. However, the more coaching I do, the more I realize the fear is legit. People should be afraid of getting in front of a group.

While there is a lot to gain from speaking publicly, there is also a lot to lose. Here are seven reasons to be scaredÖ

Number One: No skill.

Would you want someone repairing your car that knows nothing about mechanics? The average speaker receives no training, takes no classes, and doesnít read one book on presenting. He or she expects to do an adequate job with no experience.

Number Two: Not Fearing Death

The OLD adage is that public speaking is the #1 fear. If you would RATHER die than speak, then you donít need to be speaking. Period.

If you spillover Niagara Falls walking a tightrope, youíre going to die and it will all be over. When speaking you wonít die. Youíll live to face the embarrassment, the whispers, and the snickers. But youíll still be alive. If you look forward to a Niagara, yet look away from speaking then put on your swim trunks and stay away from the podium.

Number Three: Failing to Organize.

One of my services is critiquing the outlines of speakers. On average the format and structure is elementary at best and confusing at worse. Itís as if the speakerís brain spewed out on a sheet of paper and left it at that. Organizing does not take long, nor is it difficult, but only a handful do it successfully. Without a proper outline the fear is understandable.

Number Four: Confusing Writing and Speaking

Writing is formal. People rarely forgive errors in spelling and grammar. From this article Iíll get several people attempting to correct me. However, there is room for error when speaking. The ears are very forgiving and the brain is sharp enough to fill in the blanks.

Speakers get tripped up when they try to talk like they write. They become more academic and antiseptic and who wants to listen to someone like that. How many college professors did you find hypnotizing? Do you remind yourself of a monotone bore? Frightening, yes?

Number Five: Trying to Survive.

ďI just want to get through the speech and get it over with.Ē If that is your attitude then be afraid. Chances are extremely high that you will not do well. ďSurvivalĒ causes you to do and say things you wouldnít without the duress.

Number Six: Lack of Commitment

This ties into the first point. The majority of speakers do a single presentation and thatís it. No problem. A book can help them. On the other hand, there are thousands of monthly, or even daily presenters who fail to make marked improvement. Why? No commitment.

You canít take one class and do brain surgery. You canít attend one seminar and suddenly become a tax expert. The same with speaking. One book, class, or course will not create excellence. To become the best you have to commit yourself to long term achievement.

Number Seven: The Freeze Factor

Chances are high that you will forget something and freeze during your speech. Unless you know how to play it off, or use the moment, you will look uncomfortable, or even stupid. People will talk about it afterwards. They will mention how they felt sorry for you.

It seems that folks are always looking for ways to be afraid. Well, you just got seven reasons. The question is: What are you going to do about it?

About The Author: Paul Evans is the executive creator of Instant Speaking Success. His company has helped over 35,000 speakers avoid the fear and strengthen their skills. If you just want to survive one speech go to wwwGreatPublicSpeaking.com If youíre committed to becoming a speaker visit www.InstantSpeakingSuccess.com and click the speaking success zone.