According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. – Jerry Seinfeld
While there are some people who are naturally confident when speaking to a public, most of the population is afraid of public speaking.
From an evolutionary perspective, our behaviors and emotions are a result of an adaption to the environment, which was completely different thousands of years ago.
Our “lizard brains” are adapted to the times when humans were organized in small tribes or communities. They depended on each other to survive, whether to collect food of everyone, defend themselves from predators, take care of the children or hunt together to feed the whole tribe. That’s why we are social animals (like primates).
How is fear of public speaking an adaption to this environment? Imagine speaking in front of your whole tribe at that time and make a complete embarrassment of yourself. You could be ostracized. You could insult the leader and be killed. You could be left to die alone.
It was indeed advantageous to any individual to be careful with his words in front of large public. Thus, the fear of public speaking ingrained in our brains.