If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that three out of our four categories of speakers are nervous presenters to one degree or another. That may seem a little excessive at first, but it actually understates the percentage of people who have some level of fear of public speaking. Very few of us are uniformly enthusiastic public speakers– far less than 25 percent.
Of our four types, the reluctant speaker is probably the hardest to recognize. They may volunteer for every opportunity to speak and then always be nervous about it. Or they may see speaking as something they have to do but not put a lot of thought into the benefits that it can bring them. They may come across as “naturals” even though they feel that they are awkward and not doing a very good job. If you give them enough practice, they can get used to presenting and become enthusiasts.
The reluctant speaker probably occupies the sweet spot for public speaking. They’re capable of delivering a talk without too much worry and fuss, and they are not so overconfident that they don’t bother to prepare for their presentations. (A little bit of fear can actually be a good thing).
The challenge for the reluctant speaker is that they not backslide and let the occasional twinge of nerves make them decide that they don’t like public speaking or that they’re not good at it. They need to make sure that they keep presenting, trying new things and working on their skills rather than just resting in their happy position.