What is Glossophobia? How To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Glossophobia is a form of speech anxiety or the fear of public speaking. It can arise from a number of environmental, biological and psychological factors.
But if you suffer from Glossophobia, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. It’s a common issue which 60-75% of the population experience. In this article, I’m going to discuss 5 ways to help you combat Glossophobia.
How you feel about yourself
For many, self-worth and self-belief do not come easy. But they are one of the most important parts of dealing with Glossophobia. If you cannot love and believe in yourself, then you will struggle to overcome your fears, because a byproduct of self-belief is not worrying about what others think.
Rather than seeing the bad and what could go wrong. I invite you to picture the good things which you have achieved. The work you have done to get to where you are. Your wins and how you have learned from your losses. Remind yourself how great you will feel after your presentation, speech or leading the team meeting.
What others think doesn’t make any difference to the successes you have brought to your life. Although, this doesn’t matter anyway, because your audience will want you to succeed and they’ll be willing you to do well. They are there to listen to you after all. Stay positive.
Know your topic
A sure-fire way to get nervous when doing a presentation is not knowing your stuff. The last thing you want to be worrying about is the very thing which you’re supposed to be discussing. Pick a subject which you know inside and out, or be willing to do some serious homework.
I spoke with someone, who for the sake of the story I’ll call Lewis. He had a group presentation planned at college but one of the speakers didn’t turn up. Their group was rescheduled to go last, towards the end of the term. Although prepared the first time around, he hadn’t relearned the material when it was time to go again.
Lewis struggled the whole way through. Shaking and unable to control his trembling voice. From this day on, he suffered from Glossophobia. It followed him through university, where he had more bad experiences and then into work. Years of anxiety and a fear of public speaking caused because he didn’t know the topic well enough.
Did you resonate with the story about Lewis? Did it grab your attention? Was it similar to something you have experienced? People love stories, especially when they can relate. It helps them to engage but more than that, people have used them to share their ideas for centuries. It’s how we communicate ideas.
If you want your audience to engage with you, and allow you to feel at ease, then use stories in your presentation. If you can, include a personal story. You will speak with energy and passion because it is something real. There is nothing like an audience connecting with your story to improve confidence.
Plan, prepare and practice
Plan – Assess how much time you have and split it accordingly. You don’t want to spend a long time on prep then have very little left to practice. Write down all the key ideas which you wish to cover. Any relevant ideas for stories, icebreakers or facts.
Prepare – This is where you put together your ideas. Write out your presentation script and create clear and concise slides and notes. Where possible work with bullet points and cue cards.
Practice – Practice as much as possible. Whether on your own, in front of friends and family or by making recordings. When testing on friends and family, be sure to get feedback in relation to length, language and style. Get used to listening to yourself talk. Watch your videos back, taking notice of tone and body language. Tweak and amend your script until it flows. This will help you to massively increase your confidence.
The most authentic person you can be is yourself. You have been you your whole life and have years of experience. This is the person you should be when speaking if you want to curb Glossophobia. If you decide to take on a different persona then you’re acting. Unless you have training in this field, acting in front of a crowd will increase anxiety and fear. Be authentic, be yourself and remember, your audience is there to see you.
Watch the video – Glossophobia? How To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Give yourself a break, be kind to yourself and focus on the good. Make sure to know your stuff, winging it and worrying about your topic is a sure-fire way to get nervous. Stories will help you to connect with your audience and give you a confidence boost. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. But don’t forget to plan and practice. Most importantly, be yourself, go out there and have fun.