Puberty is a time of physical and emotional changes, and everyone experiences it differently. It is a time when we are most vulnerable to new fears developing. The fear of public speaking seems to occur during this time. We care deeply about what other people think of us. Our self-confidence and self-worth are tied into our fragility of ourselves.
The most common fear of speaking in front of a group is “That I will make a fool of myself.” When I ask my clients, “What do you think you would do that would make a fool of yourself?”
“Forget a word.”
“Say something stupid.”
My next question is “What would happen if you did one of these things?”
The typical reply is, “People would laugh at me.”
The irony of this situation is that we are a mirror reflection of our audience. Research shows that the listeners indicate they wouldn’t feel like laughing any more than the speaker would. In fact, they claim they would get tense and uneasy because they would feel bad for the speaker.
Others want you to do well. They are internally rooting for you just like you root for your favourite sports team. Your fears of public speaking are simply self-imposed.
Scientists know that throughout our lives we are able to form new neural pathways in our brains. The more positive experiences we have in public speaking the more quickly our self-confidence builds. Face your fear of public speaking by changing your mindset. Always be proactive rather than reactive. Put yourself in as many speaking situations as you can. Reverse your inner dialogue from “I can’t do this.” to “I can do this.”
Affirmations are short positive statements that we say to ourselves to help give us courage in times of feeling defeat. Reverse negative self-talk into confidence and allow yourself the chance to feel good.
Written by Bette Elly Klimitz