If you fear public speaking more than going to the dentist—or even death—you are not alone.

Not only is this type of fear often extremely intense, surveys indicate that over 50% of the adult population of the United States experiences fear when speaking in public.   As Jerry Seinfield put it quite accurately on one of his shows: Most people at a funeral would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.

People in all areas of life fear speaking in public

Blog post, Amex forum, photo, 050511, fear of public speaking_032613We have had a number of clients whose fear of public speaking was so great that they turned down promotions rather than take a job that required them to speak in public on a regular basis.  Another client turned down the chance to go to law school because she would have to speak in front of the class in so many courses.

Perhaps the saddest call we ever had was from a man who called to say his daughter had just announced to him that she was about to get married … and this news made him very unhappy.  Why?  Because he realized he was going to have to make a toast at her wedding!

In fact, there is nothing inherently scary about talking to a group of people.  Rarely is there any type of real threat.  So what makes speaking in public so common and so frightful?

After helping almost 4,000 people permanently eliminate this problem, we’ve discovered that there are a few specific beliefs that cause it in most people.  Let me tell you what they are and explain why they result in this widespread fear.

The beliefs that cause a fear of public speaking

  • Mistakes and failure are bad.
  • If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m not capable.
  • I’m not competent.
  • What I have to say is not important.
  • People aren’t interested in what I have to say.
  • I’m not important.
  • What makes me good enough and important is having people think well of me.
  • Change is difficult.
  • Public speaking is inherently scary.

To make it real that these beliefs could cause such terror in so many people, ask yourself this question: Imagine someone, whom you don’t know, who had all the beliefs I listed above.  Do you think she would be afraid to speak in public?  In fact, wouldn’t you be willing to wager that she would have public speaking anxiety?

I think most people would agree that anyone with these beliefs would fear public speaking.  And here’s why: a belief is nothing more than a statement about reality that we feel is true.  And if we think it is true that it is bad to make mistakes and if we do we’ll be rejected, and if our sense of importance is dependent on others thinking well of us—then we would have to be terrified when we stand up to speak in front of others because we could make a mistake, leading to rejection, and because we would feel less important if people thought less of us.

Knowing a belief isn’t true doesn’t lessen its hold over us

But you might be thinking: I am afraid to speak in public but I don’t agree with most of these beliefs.  I especially don’t believe I’m not good enough.  Here’s a strange thing about beliefs: It is possible to intellectually disagree with a belief we hold.  In other words, early in life we might have concluded as a result of interactions with our parents that it’s bad to make a mistake (because mom and dad got upset when we didn’t live up to their expectations).

Now, today, we might realize that innovation is possible only if we are willing to try new things that might not work out.  Mistakes are an inherent part of the process of doing something new and different.  So we “know” that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  But merely knowing that does not get rid of beliefs.

If the fear is not inherent in public speaking and if the fear is caused by specific beliefs, then eliminating the beliefs will eliminate the fear.  Not reduce it or make it easier to deal with.  Eliminate it.

People who eliminate their beliefs eliminate their fear

Watch this short video where several people who were plagued with this common fear describe how getting rid of the beliefs helped them eliminate the fear.


Research proves that getting rid of the beliefs totally eliminates the fear

A study conducted by the University of Arizona several years ago determined that if the beliefs listed above (and a few conditionings) were eliminated, the mean level of fear of the subjects studied fell from 7 to 1.5 on a scale of 1-10, one being no fear whatsoever and 10 being terror. The researchers followed up with these formerly “fearful speakers” six months later.  And in the words of Dr. Lee Sechrest, Professor Emeritus University of Arizona and primary researcher, “We had expected that the fear would come back but it didn’t. They had, in fact, changed. Their fear of public speaking was gone.”

The fear of public speaking is not inherent in human nature.  If you suffer from this fear, get rid of it … for good.

Note to readers: I do my best to present useful information to my readers and not use my blog posts to “sell” our products and services.  Today, however, I’ve included “testimonials” from people who have used TLM to get rid of a problem as the result of a note my daughter Brittany sent me recently:

Dad. You are great. You don’t brag, but you also don’t show your results. You need to include your success in what you write. You do a lot of work to defend your theories and then don’t follow through with any success stories. It is important to demonstrate that this stuff works, not just because it makes sense, but because people have told you it does. People want to hear it from other people, not just from you. I love you.”

By the way, this post is based on one that previously appeared in American Express Open Forum a couple of years ago.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Please post your questions or comments about the fear of public speaking.  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

If you think others will find this post useful, please tell your friends and followers by using the buttons located both at the top and the end of this post.

To get my blog posts as podcasts, sign up for the RSS feed above or look up “Morty Lefkoe” at iTunes to have the podcasts sent to you weekly.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.

For more details how you can quickly, easily, and permanently eliminate the fear of public speaking, check out http://speakingwithoutfear.com.

Copyright © 2011-2013 Morty Lefkoe

Use this information to improve your life

Your fear of speaking in public is not due to “human nature.”  You can rid yourself of that terrifying prospect once and for all.  To prove this to yourself, get rid of three of the 11 beliefs that cause a fear of public speaking (and a bunch of other unpleasant feelings) by using a free belief-elimination process at http://recreateyourlife.com/free.  Your fear will not totally go away because you still hold many other beliefs, but you should notice some shift.