Making sense of belonging
Original Article by Kelly-Ann Allen Featured in InPsych
Do you dread public speaking? Does the mere thought of standing on a stage behind a microphone before an audience erode your inner core? Or can you portray an air of confidence to get the job done knowing deep down you are masking an underlying anxiety? Most of us fear public speaking, but have you ever stopped to wonder why?
We walk through life treading carefully between the unspoken norms and boundaries of social interactions. We modify our remarks, gestures and actions to ensure our behaviour is acceptable for the context, group, culture or community we are in. Most of us strive to fit in and belong.
When asked why they hate public speaking, most people give reasons based on irrational thoughts related to other people (e.g., fear of being laughed at, ridiculed, embarrassed, made to look stupid). These concerns are usually not related to the act of speaking itself, but rather, our fear of social rejection which is a product of our need to belong.