The easy answer, of course, is that they don’t like being overwhelmed by the fear and the adrenaline squeeze that are created around public speaking. But of course it's more complicated than that so I thought I would share why 8 people came to one of my groups in June. It's a good example of the complexity of our thoughts around public speaking.
Brian is here because he shook and sweated in front of the last audience he stood before. He now concentrates on all the things that have gone wrong. The negative memories seem really strong and locked in.
Steve is here because he is worried about when he speaks publicly that people will notice him going red. If he goes red, he has "failed". He thinks that people will see him as weak
Deborah is here because she “knows” people don’t find her interesting. And when that happens in front of an audience her voice gets weaker and she feels small. And that makes her less interesting
Barbara is here because she doesn’t think she deserves to be listened too. She’s not worth it. But she also wants to dance and perform in front of people. So part of her wants to be seen and the other part of her is ashamed
Jonathan is here because he believes that every time he stands in front of an audience that they are noticing all his faults. Every tiny mistake he makes gets attention from a stern faced crowd.
Claire is here because her inner critic tells her that when she speaks she rambles and is incoherent. She wants to impress her audiences but all she does is end up saying the wrong things. So when she does a presentation she massively over-prepares and spends 4 months working hard on each presentation and is absolutely knackered afterwards.
Fiona is a perfectionist. She thinks everyone is noticing all her faults. She thinks she is too young to be taken seriously and other people will think she is a fraud. She HAS to be really good at public speaking so she piles up lots of pressure on herself and then bottles out of doing presentations. It is massively affecting her career. And that of course adds to the pressure.
Becky attends the course because up to now she has seen every audience as hostile. It makes her training career really difficult and she is thinking of changing career if she doesn’tmanage to get better at public speaking.
As you may have noticed that they are all thinking things that are getting in the way. False beliefs thrive around public speaking. We feel like we know things when actually its just our brain coming up with a story. The beliefs that we have often make it far worse for us. Of course I've disguised names but the reasons are real.