Businessmas Giving a Presentation


You must know what this is as it may be affecting your business in a very bad way!

I’m guessing that like me, until recently, you have never heard of this phobia. So, I’m going to tell you what I’ve found out! Take a deep breath – here it comes!

What is glossophobia? Well put simply it’s the fear of public speaking or speaking in general. More specifically it comes from the Greek – glossa meaning tongue and phobos meaning fear or dread. Twinned with social anxiety, it can cause problems for those affected both inside and outside their business lives. It’s reported that 75% of the population experience anxiety around public speaking, so if you’re one of those you’re not alone. However other surveys put fear of snakes in the same boat.

Let’s also get real for a minute as this can be a real problem if you’re affected. It’s not just about public speaking but can include interviews, talking to new people or the dreaded 60 second round in networking. I’m sure you can think of even more situations than those. If you suffer from Glossophobia either full on or just in certain situation, what can you do about it?

First of all, just appreciate, you’re not alone! Around 75% of the population of the USA would rather die than speak in public in any shape or form. This figure reportedly drops to around 42% in Scandinavia and Australia but it’s still double figures.

Cognitive behaviour specialists identify this as a form of social anxiety. This can manifest in several ways:

  • Heightened emotion – feeling anxious, stressed, sick about the notion of speaking.
  • Racing thoughts – worried about forgetting your words, perceptions of your audience.
  • Physical reaction – maybe physically shaking, pacing, or fidgeting.
  • And others …. Erratic or shallow breathing, blushing.

The good news is that these are entirely normal stress-reactions, your body’s response to a stress or fearful situation. Take comfort in the thought that these are entirely normal reactions, so the next time you’re asked to present and feel a bit sick, know that this is a normal reaction that a high percentage of the population encounter. You’re not the only one to experience these feeling, but you might consider that the people you think are confident speakers are just that because they have had some training and use a range of tactics to help them.

If they have learnt tactics to help them overcome this fear, so can you.

Remember if you feel you are no good at public speaking, that in turn will cause anxiety. If you come with an attitude that “this has to be great or I’ll make such a fool of myself”, then you are in danger of overestimating the importance of what you’re doing. That puts so much pressure on! Everyone wants to speak well but you have other skills that will be just as valuable to your employer and/or audience (who is a lot more forgiving than you realise!)

If you can show your passion (even with your nerves) around the topic you’re speaking about, that really helps. When you strongly believe in “your message”, the desire to share can overcome reluctance to speak. Once you realise what is causing you fear and find tactics to help, then you start your journey towards developing a deep confidence in your ability to deliver your message to any audience, anywhere.

If you want to become more confident in public speaking, keep your eyes peeled for my regular courses or feel free to contact me direct on [email protected]

Happy speaking!

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