6 Facts about Public Speaking Anxiety

When I was a child I was ultra shy. The middle child in my family, I developed the pattern of letting my older sister do the decision-making and my younger brother handle conversation.

That pattern made me comfortable yet did little to help me break away from the communication barriers I created. What this means is, I had problems entering conversation, getting to know people, making decisions and feeling confident around people. Later in life when encouraged to speak up at meetings or to groups, I suffered physical anxieties like diarhea triggers, focus issues, cold hands, and weak knees.

Can you relate? Chances are, you can. Lawyers (58%-64% are introverts) have high propensity toward speaking anxiety. Very talented in the written word they can lose sight of skills as speakers.

Fortunately I learned techniques to break down my public speaking barriers and so have many attorneys. Before you break down your barriers, consider these facts.

6 Facts about Public Speaking Anxiety
1. Public Speaking remains the #1 phobia.

  1. Glossophobia – Public Speaking
  2. Necrophobia – Fear of Death
  3. Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders
  4. Achluphobia – Fear of Darkness
  5. Acrophobia – Fear of Heights

What this means to you –  Even many speakers have this fear. But they still speak.

2. Social phobias, regardless of which they are, begin with shyness in childhood. They progress when not addressed.

What this means to you – Speaking anxiety gets worse unless you break it down; children can learn public speaking skills. So can adults.

3. While fear of public speaking is common, it leads to lack of success when we do nothing about it.
It keeps us from speaking up in meetings even when we have ideas and progress to share. It keeps us from networking and building new relationships beneficial to us and others. And it keeps us from seeing ourselves as able to teach, train, influence and motivate in our work environment, in court and within our professional network. Instead, it pigeonholes us into mediocrity.

What this means to you – get past it.

4. Three out of four individuals suffer from speech anxiety.
Yep, that’s a whopping 75% of us. That includes extroverts. Take the following test to determine where you stand with speech anxiety.

5. Women and men are equally affected with public speaking anxiety.
Does this surprise you? In many of my Peer Presentation Groups, the demographics are 50/50 with male and female working to improve their confidence.

What we’re used to hearing is that speaking anxiety is high. Not that we work to bread down our barriers. But we do. So can you.

6. More men than women seek assistance with speaking anxiety.
My hope is the more women professionally develop themselves, this fact will change. Although men seek out individual support on their own, women readily agree to be coached when given the encouragement.

If you can relate to any of these facts, I encourage you to do something about it. Find self-help. Books are the starter for discovering how you can begin thinking about yourself and gain motivation for actually tackling the phobia. Confidence in 3o Days is useful for handling speech anxiety and many other anxieties. Toastmasters is a wonderful way to meet great folks who, like you, are trying to tackle this anxiety.

Are you a business builder? Then get more individualized help. Use a coach – especially one you enjoy being around. Seek the assistance of your firm’s professional development director. Share this post with them so they know you aren’t the only one suffering and won’t be the only one to benefit from a Peer Presentation Group. It will change your life. And many others.


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2 Responses to 6 Facts about Public Speaking Anxiety
  1. […] Why do so many people suffer? Perhaps it’s due to the fact that about half of the population are considered to be […]

  2. To your question, Ethos3, “about half of the population are considered to be”…
    Were you going to say, “introverts”? Because that is the case, despite popular belief. However, it is not only introverts who fear public speaking. Extroverts want to be liked so much OR they want so much successful results that they can experience extreme anxiety as well.

    How were you intending to finish your earlier comment?

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