Firstly, it's the crowd, speaking to a crowd can be unnerving when you are the center of attention. Secondly, if not a regular speaker in public forums, may not be able to eloquently put the words together to make it fluent - and that can bring an embarrassment. It can be stressful not knowing whether the public accept what you are talking about, especially when you are stammering. There are more reasons than what I state here...
In addition to telltale's answer I feel it's the fear of being judged negatively.
1) It is the fear of being judged in public by other people, in a negative way.
2) All the attention of all the people on you a a single time can be overwhelming too.
3) No one likes to make mistakes while talking especially when talking aloud to a large group of people, which can cause embarrassment.
In addition to the worthy comments previously posted, an additional factor is having nothing to say.
It is difficult to get up in front of a group of people and start talking about nothing. A variation on this is having something to say but deeming it worth nothing, due to previous bad experiences or thinking oneself not worthy of having anything valuable to say.
i think many people fear what can happen 2 them so they fear public speaking; 'stage fright'
I feel like the deepest reason isn't being judged negatively as much as simply being judged. It is fear of the unknown - as all fear is - that really drives people away from public speaking. You have NO idea how the audience will react yo what you are about to say, and it is scary to think of the many different ways they could react to what you are about to say.
Think of it this way. When you at a friend's house with ten of your closest buddies, you have no problem taking the floor and being outrageous. Why? Because you know that your friends will enjoy what you are saying, there is no unknown in the audience to fear. The result is known, thus the unknown anticipation is not there. People simply sike themselves out because of the unknown factors.
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