People often cite “speaking in front of a group”, or Glossophobia, as their number one fear. The reason is that it is a very vulnerable act – knowing that they will be “seen” and “judged”- and who isn’t afraid of that? However, overcoming fear of public speaking is important, as it is one of the most powerful acts one can perform.
Just how powerful is public speaking? Well, you have probably noticed that it is first and foremost in the Bill of Rights.
To speak and be yourself is to communicate with authenticity in thoughtful, articulate ways that reflect internal balance, as well as external awareness and respect for others.
- Speaking with power and presence is to take responsibility for what we say and how we say it.
- Overcoming the fear of speaking publicly is to accept the fact that we cannot control the outcome of communications, but we can control the manner in which we express our own thoughts and emotions.
As you can see, speaking is much more than just the content of what you are saying. You may have brilliant information, but if you can’t get it across…so what?
Overcoming the fear of speaking involves a willingness to be seen and recognized fully. We are not usually obligated to speak, but if we desire to make an impact and have a powerful effect on those around us, it is required. To speak with power and presence requires skill. It involves taking responsibility for our innermost thoughts and emotions, while clearly communicating these to the listener in a way that invites them to consider what we are saying.
Public speaking is a form of risk-taking. Deciding to be a “risk taker” is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life because it relates to everything you do and how you do it. Do you passively watch your life go by – or are you actively involved?
Taking on risk and being involved includes:
Accepting or embracing vulnerability
- Embracing a goal or inspiration that may be scary
- Deciding to change whatever is necessary
- Choosing to be active and conscious rather than settling for the status quo
- Making friends with risk and learning to accept the feelings that accompany true risk
Powerful and effective public speaking always involves the risk of being misunderstood. Of course, there is also the paradoxical risk of being successful!
Ask yourself, is it only the fear of public speaking that you need to overcome – or is it the fear of success? Remember, real success is seldom realized without taking a risk and leaving your comfort zone.
I think this powerful quote by Mary Kay Ash says is best:
If you think you can, you can.
And if you think you can’t, you’re right.