Brain reaction to fear of public speaking
In this article, we want to explain the causes of fear of public speaking and our brain reaction to it. What happens when we are behind the tribune? Why it makes us fear so much?
What is our brain reaction when we are afraid?
Fear is a natural reaction that our body does to protect us. For example, when an animal attaches us or something dreadful and unknown happens to us, some interesting stuff happen in our body which I try to explain it simply:
When we are afraid, it activates hypothalamus portion input brain which causes the hypophysis activation. In result, hormonal secretions release from adrenal glands in our blood!
The adrenal hormone blocks the muscle fibers of the surrounding arteries, and it gets narrowed. On the contrary, expands the arteries of the heart and brings more blood to the limb and increases the number and range of heart rate and increases blood pressure.
These hormones also dilate the pupil and cause the contraction of the muscles of the bladder and intestines. (So it is clear why we go to the bathroom before the lecture!)
Adrenaline makes another interesting change in our body!
It makes the neck and head go forward, and the spine tends from a flattened to a bent state, and as a result, it seems that we crouched. In this case, our body completely conveys this feeling to others that we are weak!
The interesting point is that our body instinctively thinks it has to prepare for defense and an enormous danger. So the blood pressure rises, and the digestive system generally stops, which results in oxygen and materials Food does not reach vital organs.
Stopping the digestive system makes our mouth dry, reading from the close distance becomes hard and we can see whatever there is in the distance very clearly, for example, we can easily see the faces of our listeners. That’s precisely the reason we will be afraid.
Who are afraid of public speaking?
In 1973, researchers experimented on 2500 Americans and asked them to write down their biggest fears in sequence. What was interesting is that the fear of public speaking with 41% rate!
Lots of researches have been done about it which shows there are lots of people who have a fear of public speaking. One study that even was interesting for me is Jeffery Honer’s, which showed almost 76% of professional speakers has a fear of public speaking.
Most of the time people are afraid when they want to do something meaningful and huge. Actors are nervous before the show; politicians are not calm before a public speaking and athletes are so scared before their match.
It doesn’t matter if you have a big match or an energetic presentation. What is important is that you have to accept you are afraid to do it in front of people. In this case, some people will be successful if they learn how to control and manage their fear and nervousness and use them as a positive point.
Mark Twain, writer and satirist, says:
“there are two kinds of speakers. those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
I spoke about fear of public speaking in one of my training workshops. I used a Stethoscope, and I asked some of the audience to come up on the stage before starting my presentation and listen to my heartbeat, see if my heart beats fast before my performance or not.
It was interesting. The moment they heard my heartbeat, they stared at me with confusion. They couldn’t believe that I was so nervous before my presentation too!
I have to say it’s good to be afraid. It means we are seeking for a successful presentation and purpose. It shows how healthy we are. The most important thing is how to control it which we explain in another article. All these examples and explanation were to show you how important it is to accept our fear. We don’t have to assume that one day there will be no fear for public speaking. There will be a day when we can manage, control and use it for our purpose.
So for starters, we have to:
Accept the fear of public speaking.