In this blog post: Why The Fear of Public Speaking Is So Common, I bring you, Part 1 of a 2 Parter Blog Post on overcoming your fear of public speaking. To do this, I give you the key extracts from a podcast interview I did with Radio 2 and Hay House Radio presenter, Janey Lee Grace on how to deal with your presentation fears and become the best public speaker.

Because, did you know that public speaking or the fear of public speaking, is probably one of the top fears in the world?

Yes, it’s one of the top fears in the world!!

So if you are sitting at home now and you suffer from a fear of public speaking or doing presentations, then you are not alone.

But don’t worry, this blog post (and the full podcast available at the bottom of the page) and the next blog post: How To Quash Fear of Public Speaking Forever, are going to help you not only fight that fear, but hopefully help you start to enjoy doing public speaking and presentations.

No time to read all the blog post? Then skip to the summary section at the bottom.

Are you ready?

Why The Fear of Public Speaking Is So Common

This is Part one

Here are the key extracts from the conversation to help you:

Prosperity K: Would you mind reassuring the listener as to how common being scared of public speaking actually is?

Janey Lee Grace: Yeah. It’s incredibly common and I was amazed when I first started looking into this. I was going to do some coaching and training around public speaking and I saw these various stats and articles that said that particularly women, that the fear of public speaking comes above death and divorce. I was like, “Really? For goodness sake.” I think in the States it comes just above the fear of spiders. Now, I don’t think that necessarily those statistics really ring true. I mean, of course people wouldn’t rather face death or divorce than speak in public, but it does just show how emotionally charged it feels, so that if someone asks you, “Could you, there’s a stage over there. I’d love you to step up into the limelight and speak,” the initial reaction is one of, “Oh, my goodness, no. I’d rather die.”  It really is emotionally charged. So I was amazed at just how common the fear is.  Also, I then met someone who has a brand, fantastic business, great message to share and she told me that she had been offered an opportunity to speak to Fox News about her business but she turned it down. She just said, “I don’t feel ready. I’m just too afraid.” I just thought, wow, so many opportunities get missed and that’s the sad thing, really, because it’s just skills. It can be overcome, I really believe that.

Prosperity K: And you helped this lady, didn’t you? You helped her overcome her fear of public speaking.

Janey Lee Grace: Yeah. Absolutely. It doesn’t need to take many sessions at all with people. I’ve also worked with people who have reached a stage in their business or in their work where they’re getting a lot of media interviews and it’s a common misconception that’s it’s perfectly okay just to rock up to be interviewed, but actually, you really do need to do a bit of preparation first. I’m really thrilled to bits, actually, that I’ve been able to turn around a few of those situations where otherwise the whole interview would have just ended up on the cutting room floor because although the guests might be fantastic they’re really, really not a good interviewee and so exactly the same things apply, really. It takes just some tweaks in your confidence level and your preparation to be able to speak on stage or in an interview setting.

Prosperity K: You’ve probably lifted the weight off of many people’s shoulders by saying what you’ve just said. 

Janey Lee Grace: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I really, really do think that’s absolutely possible. There are a few different kind of elements to it and there are different ways of doing this with different people. For some people, techniques like NLP and neurolinguistic programming really, really work. Things like EFT, emotional freedom technique, you know, little tapping sequences. The reason that those kind of little techniques can work so well is because a lot of this is from our subconscious mind.

At a conscious level we just say, “Oh, my goodness. I’m bound to say the wrong thing or I’m fearful I might slip over or I just don’t look right or my voice doesn’t sound good at the moment,” or whatever those excuses, really, might be. But at a subconscious level, we have these kind of deep rooted fears, often these limiting beliefs that have been there since childhood and maybe we stood up to speak in a classroom and a teacher made us feel small, you know? Those kind of beliefs can stay held really deep within your subconscious mind and they can be hard to overcome, but quick to overcome with the right little techniques.

Prosperity K:What would you say, Janey, is the difference, if somebody is at home listening to this, how do you think they would know that they’ve got a fear of public speaking as opposed to a phobia, which is a whole different realm.

Janey Lee Grace:I mean, I’m not a psychologist or anything, psych anything, so I couldn’t give you an exact definition. What I would suggest is that if something is a phobia, that’s a real deep rooted thing that would probably mean that that person, it’s unlikely they’d even be listening to this call because it’s an actual phobia. They’re not at a stage, probably, where they even want to deal with that. That’s not something they actually want to deal with or, if they do, great, but it’s going to take some deeper work.

For many people, fear, it’s a fear because on one level, some kind of subconscious level they know that this is a good thing for them to do. It feels exciting but scary. They know that actually would be a fantastic way of sharing a message that they want to share. They know that it would be good for them to be able to convey their thoughts or their feelings or their skills, if it’s a job interview, but it just feels scary. That’s when it’s a fear, I think, when there’s a sort of unspoken, almost, actually desire to overcome it.

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Prosperity K:Yeah. I love what you said. You said it’s something they probably want to do, they would like to do it and they know it’s good to do, but for some reason they’re being held back from doing it.

I remember where my fear came from and it was from school. It was a school play  and I didn’t realize that until about a couple of years ago, really went back and thought about things. It was from that. So yeah, you’re right. This fear can come from years back, childhood.

Janey Lee Grace: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Prosperity K: Okay. You’ve said already that if somebody is suffering from some kind of presentation fear, it’s definitely something they can turn around in most cases. I would ask you why do you think presentation fear is so common? What do you think is underneath all of that, do you think? In adulthood, I mean.

Janey Lee Grace: I think there’s a couple of different elements to it. One is that we all want to present a certain way. We want other people to think we look good and we know what we’re talking about and we’re not clumsy and we’re elegant and clever and all the other things that we all want other people to perceive us as, or most of us do. So if we’re about to put ourselves in the limelight, then all of our insecurities come into play. We immediately start to think, “Oh, my goodness. I’m not slim enough or tall enough or my voice is not going to sound right and I might trip up when I get on stage. I might drop my water. My papers might all go flying. We kind of immediately visualise this whole slapstick scenario and we fear other people judging us because all of us tend to think that the minute we step up on stage there’s going to be a whole audience full of people just waiting to judge us.

Of course, we all conveniently forget that when we sit in an audience and someone comes on stage, our heart goes out to them and we want them to be great. But immediately when it’s us, we think, “Oh, no. I can’t put that kind of insecure person up there in the light.” I think a lot of it is about our image and our whole ego around that.

And then the other element is the actual content of the speech. Are we going to be able to remember it? Are we going to get it right? Are we going to say something that’s incorrect that’s going to be challenged? If a question is asked, are we going to know the answer? It really comes down to how intelligent we’re going to appear and our image, in most cases. You know, it’s a very interesting one, public speaking, because it’s not quite the same as having the confidence too. A performer can have confidence and, in fact, I’ve met people who seem very confident. They’ll be at a party and even without having a few drinks they’re up on the table dancing or whatever, or telling a few jokes. But ask them to stand up at a conference and give a talk and they fall to pieces. So I do think there are several different layers, but without doubt, the image of oneself comes into play and the intellectualising of it all, I suppose, what the actual speech is going to be.

Prosperity K:Yeah. And ultimately, it’s the fear of being judged. I think you hit the nail right on the head there.


Full Podcast Interview with Janey

For the full interview with Janey on my podcast click here.

Summary – Why The Fear of Public Speaking Is So Common

Why The Fear of Public Speaking Is So Common

So in summary:

  1. Particularly women, The fear of public speaking comes above death and divorce.
  2. So many opportunities get missed because people shy away from public speaking because they are scared.
  3. Public speaking can be learnt. It’s a skill.
  4. Boosting your confidence and investing in preparation is they key to be able to speak on stage to a good level.
  5. Public speaking fear is often on subconscious level. We have deep rooted fears and limiting beliefs that have been there since childhood.
  6. The difference between PHOBIA & FEAR of public speaking? It’s a fear when you know that this is a good thing for you to do. It feels exciting but your scared.


Gemma McCrae

Gemma is a leading Life Coach & Business Coach, Award Winning Podcaster and the owner of Prosperity Kitchen. Regularly featured in the national press, Gemma is one of the “go to” people on Life Coaching & Business Coaching. Gemma counts VIPs, High Net Worth Individuals, Entrepreneurs, Career Professionals, Stay at Home Parents and all manner of other amazing people as her clients. She specialises in Personal Development, Career Coaching, Employee Coaching, Executive Coaching, Confidence, Motivation, Health and Small Business Coaching.

Janey Lee GraceJaney Lee Grace is a presenter, singer and author.  She is co-presenter on the UK’s  biggest radio show, BBC Radio 2’s  Steve Wright in the Afternoon.  She began her career singing backing vocals for Kim Wilde,  Boy George and toured the world as a backing singer with George Michael and Wham!  She reached number 8 in the charts with the single 7 ways to love (Cola Boy) in the early 90’s.  Janey is a major influencer in the world of natural health and well-being,  she has written five books on Holistic living including the number One Amazon best seller Imperfectly Natural Woman and currently writes columns for many magazines.  Janey has also written You are the Brand PR secrets yo fasttrack your visibility and runs training workshops and consultations on Media Breakthrough for holistic brands and experts.



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