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Social anxiety

Public speaking – yes please

Frustrated presenterIf I said I had a fear of public speaking, you would probably believe me. You’d probably say, “Me, too.” After all, most people do fear public speaking, and I should fear it even more than most. And it’s true that most sufferers of social anxiety do fear public speaking and many to such an extent that they would never dream of trying it.

Sorry, but I don’t. I feel much more at ease giving a presentation in front of a hundred people than talking to one person – not everyone I talk to, but most people.

Why? Because a presentation is planned in advance. When I know what I’m going to say, I know I can look at any number of people and say it. I’m not shy. A conversation is spontaneous. When you talk, you have to be able to think up things to say. While worrying about whether your clothes are suitable for the occasion, whether the other person felt the sweat on your hand when shaking it, whether the expression on your face fits the mood you should be in, you have to make up some witty, or at least presentable, remark. And I’ve never been good at multi-tasking.

So I’m not good at talking, and knowing that makes me more afraid of it. Also, knowing that most people aren’t afraid of it and don’t understand others who are makes me more afraid of making a mess of it. And talking, as opposed to public speaking, is something we all have to do – often. And I want to talk, too. It’s just….

I think I’d rather have had a fear of public speaking.

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By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

7 replies on “Public speaking – yes please”

but you are getting better…i am talking less and you are talking more…and if i were there i would have taken a gazillion pictures of you…i love to talk but couldn’t get up in front of all those strangers…bravo girlfriend…i think you rock!!!

I rely too much on cues from my listener. I can talk one on one–if the other person is willing to meet me half way–easily enough. I can cut short a chat if I get a bored vibe and I can take the conversation up or down. I can sense this is working and this isn’t and I should ask them about this and about that. I can sympathize with just about anyone.

But a group. I can’t read that many people. It’s like me vs them. Not quite so confrontational, but groups have expectation that individuals can’t keep up on their own. One on one people let their guard down. They don’t have to impress the group they’re with so much. In a presentation I have to plan it and kill the tangents–I love tangents. It drives me mad. In a group there are too many people to please and I am a suffering people pleaser.

This is why I’m almost never mad at someone I just talk to. They become more human. I forgive just about everyone because one on one, I don’t know how not to. But a group? Very different.

Great topic this week. You have good timing.

Couldn’t agree more. It is maybe a question of control – you own the presentation; it is objective; you have something that other people want or need.
Conversations can put you into some else’s power. you are dependent on a positive response from them.
Conversations with people who know you or know about you expose you to being found out

Amazing! You posted three minutes before Stephen and you made similar comments. Control – you’re right.

Thank you for alerting me to your blog. I’ve read through from start to finish and I love the honesty with which you write. Your post on writer blogs has really made me think about mine. And your observations about the point of writing are really inspiring.
I identify completely with what you say about public speaking/presentation giving. Being in control in that way is liberating. Making conversation is not, because there is no control and how you are received is very important to self-esteem.
I hope that your blog is useful to you and I shall keep popping back, cos I’m sure you have much more to say.

Stephen

PS – loved the post on normality. It’s exactly why I wrote a book of stories about ‘normality’.

It was the name of your book: “Being Normal” that first attracted me to your blog. Thank you so much for visiting and reading. I shall return to your blog, too.

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