Are you afraid of Public Speaking?

“Hey, you gotta present tomorrow.” Is this your worst nightmare? Do you suffer from Glossophobia? Its meaning is as fearful as the term, for a lot of us. You don’t need to google, Glossophobia means fear of public speaking.

It won’t even surprise you to know that of all the phobias out there, public speaking rests at the top. It affects 3 out of 4 people![1] So the good news is you’re not alone but the bad news is, you can’t get away with this fear if you want to be a successful professional. You can take a sigh of relief for not being the only ones who suffers from anxiety attacks when you have to speak in front of even a handful of people. But this realization doesn’t make it any less damaging.

If the moment you hear the words “stage”, “speech” or “in front of people”, your knees start to tremble and your mouth becomes dry, you’ve landed onto the right article, for we are going to try and list down some doable solutions of this social anxiety disorder.

  • Your heart is your best friend. Speak from it. Use your own stories because they come naturally to you and you don’t have to memorize them. Also, your stories will build a stronger connection with the audience.
  • Breathing is important to survive – it is also great to calm your nerves. So breeeathe in and out to automatically get a break and control your pitch.
  • Let’s stick to the basics – practice makes perfect. And don’t just practice while sitting on your bed, get into the real-life mode and practice in a pressure situation. As per Sims Wyeth, “Rehearsal transfers your words and ideas from the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for higher order conscious thought, to your cerebellum, which orchestrates the lightning fast motor activation needed to perform complex actions, like speaking to crowds, teaching your fingers to play a new piece of music, or learning your lines for a play.”
  • You might be great at improvising while you’re at friends’ gathering but let’s keep it at a minimum while you’re on stage. Unless you’re a pro at it – then go for it by all means. But if you’re not, then don’t wing it. Stick to the plan.
  • You might use the ‘I wasn’t born with it” excuse for a lot of talents, but not for Public Speaking. You can acquire it by practice.
  • Know your emphasis words – know your message. Research and ensure you know What you want to say and How you want to say it. Make sure when you get off the stage, you’ve delivered what you came to deliver.
  • Finally, just know this isn’t the end of the world and the people in front of you are just that – people. What makes you laugh, cry and attentive, will work on them also.

So, trust your instincts, research and practice. These may seem like simple tips but that’s the entire point, just like every other skill, you’ll acquire this one with continuous efforts.

[1] https://brandongaille.com/14-fear-public-speaking-statistics/