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Fear of Public Speaking as a Cause of Procrastination

Procrastination as a phenomenon began to be studied only in 1977. This term refers to delaying actions that need to be performed. Psychologists define procrastination as replacing important matters with more pleasan

Procrastination as a phenomenon began to be studied only in 1977. This term refers to delaying actions that need to be performed. Psychologists define procrastination as replacing important matters with more pleasant but secondary ones.

A procrastinator realizes that failure to act can have unpleasant consequences. There are some signs of procrastination, such as:

- instead of doing what is necessary, the person is engaged in secondary activities:

- distracted by small things;

- doesn’t like to make decisions, especially when it comes to complex matters;

- for the performance of duties, one waits for a special moment, etc.

The procrastinator must be distinguished from the lazy: the first, unlike the second, always finds something to do, but its activities are inefficient, unproductive, and do not lead to the achievement of a goal.

For example, an expert is going to prepare for a public performance. Suddenly decides that he needs to create a working environment first. Distracted by extraneous minor matters. But none of these many actions has brought a man to a conclusion — a well-prepared speech to business presentation. Meanwhile, the man was always busy. This is procrastination.

It must have been faced by everyone, postponing an important task until the last moment, when it could no longer be delayed.

Reasons of Procrastination

Some researchers believe it’s about a lack of self-control. It’s like overeating, shopping, or gambling. Others attribute the impulse to procrastination to a lack of proper time management, to its errors.

According to the theory of Pierce Steele (University of Calgary, Alberta), the desire to do something depends on the utility of this action, which is defined by four characteristics:

1. Expectancy in success

2. Value or intended reward

3. Date delay

4. Level of impulsiveness or sensitivity to delays

Steele explains the procrastination phenomenon by using the theory of time motivation, which he expressed in an equation to make it visible:

Utility = Expectancy Х Value : Delay for later Х Sensitivity to delays

Based on this formula, Steele concluded that motivation is directly proportional to confidence in success and values, and is inversely proportional to the time before the end of work, for example, preparation for presentation, and sensitivity to delay for later.

This means that the most useful thing to do for a human being is to be sure of a favorable conclusion. He also expects a serious reward for the outcome. The least useful action would appear to be those that still have enough time. There is a paradox: if a person is painfully delaying, cases that require more time will be less useful.

It can be assumed that a person works more efficiently when they have a strong interest in the result, and the time to achieve it is kept to a minimum.

How Does The Brain Protect us

We react in two ways in the stressful situation: the first one is to run, the second one is to fight. In the first case, fear, or as physiologists call it, acts of passive-defensive behavior, and in the second case, aggression. It’s better for our brains to be afraid because fear is less energy-intensive than aggression, which can lead to trauma. It creates a chain of actions that leads to procrastination, avoiding the source of problems.

Two structures are responsible for fear:

1. The hypothalamus is the posterior part of the brain which, when stimulating nerve cells, causes fear or aggression;

2. The amygdala, the gray substance of the temporal lobe, is part of an emotional limbic system.

The balance of amygdala activity with other parts of the brain determines whether a person is aggressive or calm. Most people prefer to stay in the «comfort zone» when the brain perceives this behavior as the most favorable.

But procrastination doesn’t just have physiological causes. The most common ones are:

1. Low self-esteem, when a man is insecure, thinks he can’t do the job, doubts whether he should take it at all, and wastes his time and energy.

2. Perfectionism. Striving for perfection requires a lot of time to spend in detail, which increases the time and, as a result, leads to a refusal to work.

3. Wrong prioritization. The one doesn’t know how to plan, doesn't know what’s important, doesn't know what’s peripheral, he jumps from case to case. As a result, a person chooses the simplest — to do nothing or to do everything at the last moment.

How to Overcome Fear and Stop Procrastinating

Those who like to postpone business «for later» are reliable, they can learn some leadership and soft skills. First of all, we have to realize that there is a problem, and it prevents the general public from speaking about themselves as professionals.

Looking at the Steele formula referred to above, several practical conclusions can be drawn:

1. A person should understand why he needs public speeches: to build a personal brand, accelerate business development, get more loyal clients, increase profits, etc. Goals should be clearly defined and time-bound

3. It is best to plan and rehearse a public performance with maximum focus on achieving the objective.

If you have a fear of performance, there are two things that will help you deal with it:

1. Determine the causes of procrastination. A person is afraid of being criticized, of making a mistake, of getting the wrong result, etc. Understanding the reasons can lead to a strategy to combat this phenomenon.

2. Analyze what procrastination can lead to, what happens if you don’t speak, what you can lose. It can be a great motivation to overcome your fear.

Fear of public speaking can also cause procrastination as a brain’s reaction to stress (real or perceived). But if you set precise goals, if you understand the benefits of showing yourself, if you define success criteria for public speaking, the brain can focus more easily on the problem.

A procrastinator realizes that failure to act can have unpleasant consequences. There are some signs of procrastination, such as:

- instead of doing what is necessary, the person is engaged in secondary activities:

- distracted by small things;

- doesn’t like to make decisions, especially when it comes to complex matters;

- for the performance of duties, one waits for a special moment, etc.

The procrastinator must be distinguished from the lazy: the first, unlike the second, always finds something to do, but its activities are inefficient, unproductive, and do not lead to the achievement of a goal.

For example, an expert is going to prepare for a public performance. Suddenly decides that he needs to create a working environment first. Distracted by extraneous minor matters. But none of these many actions has brought a man to a conclusion — a well-prepared speech to business presentation. Meanwhile, the man was always busy. This is procrastination.

It must have been faced by everyone, postponing an important task until the last moment, when it could no longer be delayed.

Click here to learn more about Voice&Leadership training 

➡️https://voice-and-leadership.kardakova.eu/en.php⬅️

Author

Ekaterina Kardakova

Hello everyone! My name is Ekaterina Kardakova. I am an opera singer, vocal and presentation coach. Learn more about me and my work.

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