10 Reasons Why People Fear Public Speaking (Part 1 of 2)

Fear of public speaking is one of our most common fears. This angst limits victims from communicating their thoughts effectively in order to reach their potential in their careers, finances, and in life.

Glossophobia (fear of public speaking) is a very serious issue.


Over the years, I have coached people who have been able to deal with this phobia or are presently wrestling this issue. From research and experience, I have identified 10 top reasons why many people fear public speaking.

1. Being Judged

Most people fear criticism; they don’t want to be judged, and because of this, they shy away from sharing their ideas in public. Some of these people prefer to remain silent, instead of confronting their fear to speak their ideas.

Quick tip: accept the fact that your thoughts and actions may be judged. Many people will have reasons to critically analyze your thoughts but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak them.

2. Lacking substance

This is pretty straightforward. If you feel like you lack substantial content then you will feel inadequate. Even when you do have significant content, be consciously aware that there are many people who will still think you lack the requisite intelligence to speak to them (I have this happen to me). People may pre-judge you and therefore judge what you have to say.

Some may even know your story or background. This may tempt them to believe you have nothing to offer to them. Don’t be discouraged. Choose to develop your content and let it stand on its own once you present it.

3. Being found out that you are not an expert

Most people fear public speaking when they are discussing a niche in which they aren’t an expert. This is compounded if there are professionals from that subject matter in the audience.

I have experienced this. I have spoken to people with more technical understanding and have felt the weight of the impostor syndrome. If you can relate, then work to exude a humble self-confidence throughout the presentation. Speak only the things you clearly understand and open a forum where people can insert their expertise. If you can, turn the presentation into a discussion. And, DON’T make false or unverified assertions.

4. The fear of failure

I believe this is perhaps the MAIN reason why people don’t want to stand up and speak. People fear they may make mistakes such as forgetting to say a point, mispronouncing a word or some other mistake.

Yes, making mistakes can make you look stupid or awkward. Or, you can use it as a motivation for success. Get prepared then speak, if you do make mistakes, learn from them and improve.

5. Being criticized during the presentation

Some people are afraid that they will be criticized by a troll during their presentation. They fear what happens on twitter might happen in real life.

Being called out by someone right in front of your audience is a lot of pressure. Even an experienced communicator can be flustered. Honestly though, it rarely happens. Don’t let this rarity deter you from your path. IF it does happen, quickly regain control by asking them to speak with you afterwards while you remain focused on your topic. Don’t let the troll gain control.


Next post will continue the top 10 reasons. Meanwhile, which fear can you address today. Courage does not appear when fear is absent. Courage arises when we decide that fear will no longer control us.

– Mike Acker