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7 Things To Remember If You Love A Person Who Fears Public Speaking

7 Things To Remember If You Love A Person Who Fears Public Speaking

When I watch someone I care about, who has a fear of public speaking, give a speech, I suffer too.

The fear of public speaking can be a challenging fear to cope with. And not just for the people who suffer from the fear, but also for those of us who are standing in the wings supporting the sufferer.

It’s emotionally draining. It’s mentally taxing.

And it can be uniquely frustrating. Because it is the kind of fear that can be avoided — buried, ignored, forgotten. Avoiding situations where you are forced to speak in public is not particularly difficult. And because of this, when we see a loved one put themselves in a position where they are speaking in public and struggle through the experience, a part of us is proud and another part is thinking: why are you bothering?

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Here are seven things to remember if you love someone who suffers anxiety from public speaking.

1. The fear of public speaking is very common

For 30% of Americans, public speaking is their worst fear. Think about that. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have a significant fear of public speaking. This is a common, everyday fear that many, many people share.

It does not feel the same stigma as other fears because it is so common. It doesn’t get the same attention, despite its prevalence, because avoiding public speaking is relatively easy.

For some sufferers, however, public speaking is something they need to do. Perhaps their job or career requires it. Perhaps they simply cannot let the fear go untamed. Regardless, they meet the challenge head-on. Presenting when you fear public speaking is uncommonly brave.

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2. This fear is hardwired deep inside our “Lizard Brain”

The fear of public speaking is a natural, human reaction. It is, in fact, the result of our evolution as a social species.

We fear rejection by the group because being cast out of the tribe in primitive times meant certain death. As a consequence, we are hardwired to seek social acceptance. Standing in front of a group and putting yourself out there threatens that. We all suffer from this fear to a lesser or greater extent.

3. It is not about just needing to relax

Stress and adrenaline are synonyms for physiological arousal, which is actually a good thing. It gets us going. It is needed for peak performance.

Sufferers of public speaking anxiety struggle to control and contain their reactions to this physiological arousal. The major sources or triggers of speech anxiety are:

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  • Lack of preparation
  • The fear of making mistakes
  • Concerns about appearance
  • Projections about a lack of audience interest, and
  • Lack of previous experience public speaking

Taming the anxiety of speaking in public is not really about relaxing. It is about developing coping skills, particularly coping skills targeted at these key triggers.

4. Sufferers are aware that their fear is sometimes irrational

Being aware of how irrational their reactions to public speaking are does not, in and of itself, stop the adrenaline from pumping. Of course, if it was simply a case of realizing that they shouldn’t be nervous or afraid, then millions of people would not suffer from this fear.

Because of this, pointing out the fact that the fear is irrational, or that a sufferer doesn’t need to be afraid, doesn’t help.

5. Sufferers are grateful you care – they are just not interested in your advice

That doesn’t mean that sufferers do not appreciate or benefit from your concern. Compassion, understanding, presence, and support are all hugely helpful. But advice on what to do or how to cope, more often than not, misses the mark.

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If you feel a need to be more actively engaged, focus on supporting the sufferer to cope with the key triggers of anxiety, such as a lack of preparation or a lack of practice and experience.

6. The anticipation of speaking can be as bad as the speaking itself

For sufferers of public speaking anxiety, the run-up to the speech itself can be when anxiety levels are at their peak. Sufferers can be at their most vulnerable and most anxious before the public speaking event even starts.

Often, the moments right before a public speaking event are where you can help the most by providing companionship, distractions, or by just being there.

7. Facing the fear is tough – and this is how it is overcome

At the end of the day, giving a speech when you suffer from a fear of public speaking is a particularly brave act. There are steps sufferers can take to learn to cope with the anxiety (adopting the right mindset, preparing well, visualizing success, humanizing the audience). But, ultimately, facing the fear is how the fear is overcome.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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