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Glossing Over The Fear

It turns out that we fear public speaking more than death. Whilst I’m naturally sceptical of such bold claims and I appreciate there may be elements that are questionable about the survey (no real information on the subjects interviewed etc.), ‘glossophobia’ is suffered by nearly three quarters of us – and whether that puts it ahead or behind the threat of the grim reaper, that’s quite a number!

Quite simply, it’s partly a result of the reason we’re actually all here today by having the fear in the first place. Our ancestors had to live in a tribe, be part of a group and not stand out. Frankly, making a ‘fuss’, put us at risk; setting ourselves aside from the tribe made us vulnerable to large animals, the weather and so on. Rejection from the tribe resulted in death. Fast forward to cosmopolitan, developed, digital 2020 (and yes I know, there’s probably somebody in your workplace who still behaves like a neanderthal), we’re comparably at much less risk than ever before in our history.


But deep in the roots of our brains, we still believe that standing up and speaking to an audience makes us vulnerable to rejection. No wonder public speaking comes ahead of death in our fears – because it would appear our primitive mind believes that the former leads to the latter. That cheeky little reptilian brain, eh? There are numerous ways of kicking that thinking back into the prehistoric cave it belongs in – I’ll be exploring that in future blogs so keep checking back in. For hints and tips on public speaking (whether for business or pleasure), sign up to the new free weekly email from Verbu here.

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