Fear of public speaking is by far one of the most common phobias today. Many people struggle to speak or present in front of a large group. For some the fear is moderate, where they experience extreme nervousness but are otherwise able to cope with their experience. For some, the phobia is so strong that it causes panic attacks when faced with a public speaking situation.
No matter where you are on the anxiety spectrum, fear of public speaking is a very real phobia. Since the ability to speak in front of large groups is a common part of many jobs, volunteer opportunities, and friendships, it’s important to try to overcome this fear of public speaking so that you can feel confident and comfortable in front of an audience.
Learning to Speak in Public
Within my Long Island anxiety therapy, the strategy stems around addressing what specific component of the fear is affecting your ability to speak in public. Usually it stems from a fear of judgment, although it could be related to similar fears, such as a fear of making mistakes or a fear of embarrassment.
Our goal in therapy starts with the following:
- Changing the View of the Group – The first step is learning to view the group of people as a collection of individuals, rather than as one large, single group. This will help you visualize that individuals have different opinions, and they themselves have different personalities all their own. It’s not one group you’re either pleasing or disappointing. It is many different people that each have their own thoughts, actions, moods, and more.
- Focusing on the Supportive Person – Once you can see them as individuals rather than a group, we start to talk about learning to focus on a supportive individual, and work on a single person as your captive audience rather than expecting an entire group of people to all appreciate your presentation.
- Avoid Exaggerating the Importance of Other People’s Opinions – Many of us have that little voice that tells them that they should care what someone else thinks, and in some ways making sure we are seen positively by those around us is important. But it’s not “that” important. There is a benefit to showcasing your best-self, but it’s important to make sure that that internal voice isn’t exaggerating what the effect of failure would be.
We are all our own worst critics. In therapy, we’ll work on these factors, and the anxiety that causes you to fear judgment from those around you. If you have a fear of public speaking in Long Island, contact me today to get started.