When I first recognized my fears of public speaking it really wasn’t a big issue. It was more of an inconvenience rather than a mentally crippling issue, as it became over time. Like most things we experience and suffer with, fears of public speaking was something I thought affected me and not other people. Boy was I wrong. After talking about it and doing some research I learned it is ranked as the number one phobia / fear that people have. That alone helped me feel better about it but it didn’t help relieve the problem.
My fears of public speaking got worse over time. At first it was uncomfortable to speak as a young girl in school in front of the class, which didn’t seem to be a problem. Heck, most kids don’t want to get up in front of the class because our “friends” like to torment and ridicule, as kids are so good at doing. But the public speaking fears grew over time like a weed in my mind. I couldn’t kill it no matter what I did. But eventually I found a way that was easier than I could have ever imagined. The first part was to recognize what this was, I wasn’t alone in this and it could end. Little did I know the traditional ways of going about ending public speaking fears are like trying to hold the tide back at the beach when it’s coming in. Fat chance sister.
If you are like I was and have felt that oncoming increase in your heart rate, start to sweat and get shaky at just the thought of going up in front of the room to speak and rather jump out the window to freedom, then you know what I experienced. I’m not in Mensa but I’m surely intelligent enough to speak fluently on whatever the topic is to be presented. It was like that in school and in my work career. I know what I’m talking about, I know how to talk, I know people and talk to them all the time but when it comes time to speak TO the group the public speaking fears come on as if I was in front of 100,000 people and there is a countdown from 10 to 1 and the spotlight is on me. It just made no sense to me, but then again, phobias and most fear doesn’t really make sense, does it?
All I can say is my heart goes out to anyone who has dealt with fears of public speaking or still experiences it. But it can end and you can be free of the fears of public speaking once and for all. And I’m not the only one who had done it, which means you can too. By the way, when I tried the oldest trick in the book to overcome my fears of public speaking, looking at the audience as if they were all naked, that didn’t help. I just felt like a nervous wreck in front of a bunch of naked, out of shape people.