Public speaking anxiety affects most of us to some degree. Even the most confident public speaker will have anxiety before speaking – it’s completely natural. A few nerves are actually healthy, it means you’re taking the task seriously and want to deliver a great speech and to impress. Watch a few regular speakers – spot the nerves, spot the sweating … it will be there! For many however, the thought of standing up in front of a group of people fills them with absolute fear and terror. Even the thought of walking up to the podium and the thought of everyone watching their every move can send them into a blind panic to the point that they will find every reason not to do it.
So, whilst most people feel nervous when they have to speak in public, those who are glossophobic are consumed with an extreme, irrational fear. This is why those afflicted with this phobia will theerefore go to great lengths to avoid situations which require them to engage in public speaking, thus limiting their life as well as their career options.
Glossophobia – Fear Of Public Speaking
A person may experience public speaking anxiety because of many reasons and some of them may be very complex due to the interplay of many factors. A traumatic experience that a person had either during his/her childhood or adulthood can lead to glossophobia. Psychological conditions that a person may have can also cause this phobia.
The symptoms of speech anxiety include:
- Intense nervousness before public speaking; the very thought of communicating to a group can make a person very nervous.
- The tendency to avoid events in which the person is the center of attention among a group of people.
- Physical distress, feelings of panic, nausea, etc.
The symptoms that are more specific can be categorized as verbal, non-verbal and physical. The physical symptoms arise from the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic response to the situation with a reaction referred to as “fight-or-flight”. The adrenaline rush that ensues serves to enhance the reaction, causing symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, dilated pupils, perspiration, dry mouth, etc.
Some of the verbal symptoms that a person may experience include vocalized pauses and a quivering voice, among others. The non-verbal symptoms may include frequent fidgeting, avoiding eye contact and wiping hands on trousers.
Top Tips To Cure Public Speaking Anxiety
Research: Take the time to research other important speeches on your subject. The internet has a wealth of recorded speeches so that you can observe how they do it. Focus on the qualities that you liked in their speech and emulate them. Look for qualities such as their ease in speaking, their humor and how they capture the attention of the audience.
Preparation: You won’t be confident if you don’t know you subject so make sure you take your topic, study it in great detail and plan and structure your speech and rehearse – you won’t believe the confidence that a good preparation can give you, the opposite is also true of course.
Enthusiasm: It is very important that you display enthusiasm when you are speaking publicly – how many talks have you sat through trying to stay awake and focused whilst the speaker drones on in monotone. There is no way that you will get others excited about a topic if it seems like you are bored with it. If the topic is one that is a bit more emotionally driven, you have to show them that you care.
Voice Projection: Project your voice when you speak in front of an audience and make sure everyone can hear you ok before you start. This is particularly true if you do not have the benefit of a microphone. You want everyone in the room to be able to hear you, so do not be afraid to speak as loudly as necessary to accomplish that. There is no point in making a speech that most of the audience cannot hear – the ones who can’t will immediately switch off and the atmosphere will deteriorate.
Look At Your Audience: Don’t stare at the floor, the screen or your notes, instead look your audience right in the eye and scan around to show them you’re addressing each and every one of them. Look around the room in a relaxed way. Make eye contact and connect with individuals here and there throughout the audience. This technique will help you engage the audience and make them feel comfortable.
Props: If you’re using a power-point presentation on screen, flip chart or similar props keep the number of slides to a minimum, no more that 15 if possible. Use titles as headlines and not descriptions – don’t simply read you speech off the screen but introduce each subject with a headline the go on to discuss it. Do not use a laser pointer to run over words as you read them from a screen. This gives your audience the idea that you think they are incapable of reading for themselves. Once they begin to feel insulted, it will be much harder for you to convince them to listen to you.
Humour: You will win your audience over if you add a little humor to your speech. There is nothing wrong with trowing in a joke or two and putting a smile on your audience’s faces. However, do not go overboard on the jokes, as your audience will not take you serious. It’s worth considering starting with a bit of a joke if it’s appropriate to your subject – you won’t believe what a little laughter can do to your confidence.
Interaction: Allow the opportunity for questions or comments throughout your speech. They may not remember what they meant to inquire about. Control you presentation but allow people to ask questions at appropriate times throughout the speech. This will really help them appreciate you as a speaker.
Conclusion: To have a truly memorable speech, work on a great ending. There are going to other parts in your speech that are important to your audience, but your final point is what so many people will remember most. A boring ending will make them forget your speech quickly. How many concerts have you been to and how many bands finish with their biggest hits? It’s the same principle here … the grand finale!
Experiencing public speaking anxiety, anxiousness or nerves before and during your time in the spotlight is normal, but it’s also unproductive. Your best bet is to take a more comprehensive approach to public speaking. Before your next engagement, practice following these important guidelines. You will find that your confidence is improved and that you are better able to communicate your message.
Glossophobia Treatment Options:
It is estimated that about 75% of the people experience nervousness and anxiety when they have to do public speaking. However, many people are able to control or manage their fear. People who experience significant fear may have to undergo some kind of treatment to overcome the phobia.
The treatment options available are as follows:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: In this treatment method, people learn to replace their fear through positive self-talk. They will also be taught relaxation techniques and what they should do when they experience fear or panic.
Medications: Medications may be prescribed by a physician or doctor sometimes so as to help people get control on their fear. Typically, medications are used along with a therapy. Most often, medications or drugs such as beta-blockers are prescribed to alleviate physical symptoms. The beta-blockers act by binding themselves to the heart’s adrenalin receptors.
Complementary Therapies: Many people may derive beneficial effects from complementary therapies that include hypnosis, psychotherapy, yoga or meditation that help them to overcome glossophobia. Natural remedies that include use of herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies are also available for those who want to avoid any kind of medication.
Speaking Groups: Once a person who has glossophobia has been able to successfully work through his/her worst fears, he/she can join one of the speaking groups – Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs, POWERtalk Internal, etc. – to polish their public speaking skills.
Summarizing: Glossophobia is common, but in certain individuals it may become life-limiting. However, the treatment success rate is very high and the first step that the person who experiences severe anxiety, when it comes to public speaking, has to take is to consult a doctor or therapist or look at one of the online self help programs and beat your public speaking anxiety or phobia once and for all!
Fear Of Public Speaking – Self Help Treatment
Do you ever panic at the thought of getting up in front of some people to talk? Is this a part of your job, but you just can’t do it without looking like a shaking leaf?
Some of us do anything we can to avoid speaking in front of people such as avoid social events, miss meetings, call in sick, ask someone to do the presentation for us, etc. That’s why there are a growing number of self help program available to help us beat the fear of public speaking anxiety.
Beat Your Fears recommends the following program. It will teach you how to be a confident and fearless presenter … you need never fear public speaking again and actually look forward to it and enjoy it!
Sounds too good to be true … check it out and see for yourself.