How to overcome fear of speaking

Eiei asks: I have something wrong in speaking in public. Most people aren’t interested in me when I am speaking. They change the subject. And I think most people aren’t really friendly to me. And then I’m scared by stress. I don’t want to get low marks at University. But trying to attend it, and scared about it. I hope you will help me. Thank you!

Hi Eiei –


You have probably heard the statistic.  Consistently, when groups of people are asked what they fear most, “Public Speaking” wins.  Even over things like Torture and Death!


As a dog, I don’t really have this issue.  The only public speaking I ever do is barking to grab attention.  “Hey there’s someone at the door!”  “Hey squirrels, stay away from my house!”  “Hey doggy across the street, notice me!”  Once I have their attention, I don’t really have any more reason to speak!  So public speaking, as such, means nothing to me!


So I asked Handsome about it.  And he has a very funny view.  See, he doesn’t fear public speaking at all, because he says that whenever he speaks in public, everyone’s attention is already on him.  They want to hear what he says.  Now of course if he’s boring, their attention might waver, but initially everyone in the audience is hoping he’ll be interesting, funny, and bring them something they didn’t already know.  As long as he can satisfy at least some of that wish, he’s fine.  What’s scary for him is walking into a party where he doesn’t know anyone.  Because then he has no reason to think that anyone would want to chat with him or hear what he has to say!


Now to me, that’s just as crazy as your fear!  Why not just run into the party, sniff everyone’s behind, jump on a few of them and lick their faces, and see who chases you?  It works perfectly for me!!!


But I have to accept the fact that you and Handsome are mere humans, and not as socially adept as us pooches!


So when I look at your question, it sounds like you have both sorts of worries.  You’re scared to do public speaking, but you also are worried that people aren’t friendly to you or interested in you.  So here are my two suggestions:


First, if you’re going to speak to a group, practice, practice, PRACTICE your speech.  Get a friend to listen to you do it.  A friend who’s kind enough to tell you when it gets boring!  Maybe even a friend who can add a joke or two into it.  Get to where you know that what you’re presenting is good.  Then, when you actually get in front of the audience, find one face that’s looking at you who’s actually interested.  And talk to them.  You can also look around (when you feel comfortable enough), so the others in the group don’t feel ignored.  But use that one face who’s listening to convince yourself that what you’re saying matters.  And as long as you feel that, you should be okay.


But second, when you deal socially with those people who, yes, don’t really care that much about you?  Here’s a great trick – ask them about themselves.  Get them talking about their interests, their passions, their dislikes, their views, whatever you can get.  And you know what?  They’ll like you!  They’ll walk away afterwards and say “Wow, that Eiei is a great conversationalist!  I really enjoyed our talk!”


Some people are just like that!


Of course, then I recommend that you spend more time hanging out with people who actually are interested in you, and enjoy what you have to say.  But at least now you won’t be so scared of the self-centered ones!!


Try these out, and you’ll find you not only get better marks at University, you’ll make more friends too!  (Which then might mean that you hang out with all your friends too much and skip your homework and so your marks get lower…  but that’d be a NEW problem!!!)


Best of Luck!  Be Brave!




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