Are you someone who, at the mention of speaking in public, comes out in a cold sweat wanting to hide in the furthest corner of the room? If so, don’t worry! You are not alone. It’s very common. So common in fact there’s a word for it; Glossophobia. (Greek; glōssa, meaning tongue and phobos, fear or dread.) You are one of millions of people who suffer from it
Symptoms of Glossophobia prior to delivering a speech or simply at the thought of having to verbally communicate with any group vary. Symptoms can be mild anxiety, slightly sweaty palms through to severe physical symptoms with people experiencing nausea or feelings of panic.
For most individuals speaking in public is not a natural talent, and nerves before a speech are experienced by many people. We’ve worked with many very senior, even public figures that experience significant issues in dealing with their nerves. Indeed the Duchess of Cambridge was reported to be racked with nerves before her first public speech. (Sadly she’s not one of our clients!!)
One of the things we encounter that is sad and frustrating, is to see people who don’t get the credit for their ideas and acknowledgement of their expertise, or don’t persuade and influence on the things they want to change because they always back out of actually presenting and speaking about those ideas. All is not lost however. Like many phobias there are things you can do to alleviate your anxieties. There is support out there to help you to manage your fears so that you can step up to the stage when the occasion demands it.
There are 2 ways of looking at handling nerves: physically and psychologically. In a physical sense it’s about using relaxation techniques to rid your body of the tension it’s holding and to make you feel physically better. Breathing is critical, slow deep breaths from the stomach (not just from the upper chest) are crucial both for their calming effect and for good quality vocal projection.
From a psychological perspective it’s about taking control of the negative self talk in your head and replacing it with more positive and confident messages to yourself. People achieve this by using things like visualisation techniques, repeated positive affirmations and using upbeat or calming music to affect their thoughts, feeling and state of mind.
Whilst presenting may not come naturally to an individual, anyone with the correct help and support can acquire the skills needed to present in public. Presenting – like all skills in life – needs to be taught and practised. While some people have natural ability and others find Glossophobia dogging their presentations, everyone benefits from developing the key skills so their speeches and presentations are remembered for all the right reasons.
If Glossophobia is holding you back from stepping up to the stage and making your voice heard, don’t sit back, go out and find the support that will allow you speak up, speak out and get the credit and influence you deserve. Follow this link for more details.