Some call it flop sweat. Others call it stage fright. Whatever you call that tightness in the pit of your stomach, sweaty palms, and racing heart, we've all experienced it. Public speaking still ranks as a top fear. Even professional speakers feel nervous when the stakes are high. Fear of public speaking has always been a mystery. Why does it happen? How does nervousness manifest? Why does the thought of public speaking send some people into a tailspin? Imagine going about your day, and suddenly your manager says you're expected to give a speech. In an instant, nervousness descends like a wave washing over you. What's going on in the brain?
When I polled people for my book, Knockout Presentations, I asked them why they felt nervous speaking in public. The thread running through most of the responses was the fear of humiliation. Well, it turns out that we're hard wired to worry about our reputations.
Did you know that fear is a primitive reaction to protect our bodies? Some people get more nervous than others and there is a reason for that. There are three main things that affect how you experience stage fright.
Find out in this article on the science of stage fright.