Submitted by: Gary M. Miller

The causes of the fear of public speaking may be simply something experienced in a minor incident at school or something more severe, but generally public speaking in its mildest form is known as stage fright, a normal and natural fearful emotion. In fact, negative feelings are there to protect us from harm, letting us know if something is not quite as it seems and pushing us to take decisive action to get out of the situation to avoid possible danger or worse.

It cannot be emphasized enough that when our body signals a fear response, our brain interprets this as impending danger. The majority of our fears are in fact learned and not pre-programmed into our brains, and these learned fears are vital to our survival. However, there are times when these fears are not as reliable as we are led to believe. In the case of the fear of public speaking, this is usually almost always the case.

The causes of the fear of public speaking can come under some obvious categories, including traumatic experiences, a related traumatic experience, a gradually building fear, and a learned fear from others. When we experience traumatic things, we are left very fearful and stressed to the point of having this fear permanently etched in our brains. For example, if a child was bitten by a rabid dog and the intensity of the pain, combined with a foaming and ferocious aggressive growling from the animal was so traumatic that the fear was permanently written into the child s brain, the child s nervous system quickly learned to associate this incident and anything related to it with that fear.


In the case of a traumatic experience, the fear of public speaking may have nothing to do with our need to perform or do a presentation in front of other people. People can get this when they are very stressed by something totally unrelated and somehow it gets mixed up with the job ahead of them.

When a person has experienced a related traumatic event, the person does not initially feel fear and instead associates this with someone else, whether in a real life situation or very rarely a dream or movie. For example, a soldier can fight an entire war and never experience any disturbances beyond the norm and then years after returning to a normal life, suddenly starts experiencing fear as he performs in front of other people, without any particular known reason at the time. He associates fear in war to his comrades versus himself.

A gradually building fear can lead to a fear of public speaking later on in life. This usually begins as a mild incident that is gradually added to by further fearful incidents, and in turn the nervous system evaluates each event as a definite fear that should be guarded against and with more and more related fears being added on, it builds its defenses to compensate, getting gradually more and more strong. As a result, a sudden attack of a fear of public speaking results, sometimes an extreme one, and it can take the person by complete surprise.

Interestingly enough a fear of public speaking can also come out of the most harmless events. These events may have begun as a baby or a child, but somewhere along the line something got confused and the brain read these fears as a major threat.

The final possible cause of a fear of public speaking stems from what has been learned from others. It is very rare, but in some cases where a person has experienced a traumatic enough experience, the therapist themselves can unknowingly be traumatized by the information they have to analyze and can in turn suddenly, without reason, fall victim to a fear of public speaking.

Irregardless of whether the fear of public speaking happens during a business presentation or on the stage of a Broadway musical, the fears are rooted in the same common places. This form of social phobia is so common that most people turn a blind eye to it and dub it as stage fright. Most of us would not question state fright as a logical explanation because we just seem to suffer it more than everyone else, or do we? If this does afflict your life more that you can handle or to the point that it has become debilitating or is impeding on your ability to live a normal life then now is the time to seek medical help. This is not a mental illness, but a fear that has rooted inside of you for reasons only known to your brain, but a fear that also be plucked out and eradicated with time and patience.

About the Author: Gary Miller was so scared that he actually passed out during a presentation and couldn’t talk after due to numerous socialanxieties. To learn more about his journey to recovery and weekly FREE Social Anxiety coping techniques, you can visit his web site at:


Permanent Link: