- Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking): Are You Glossophobic?
- Symptoms of Glossophobia
- Causes of Glossophobia
- Treatment Options
- Action Steps
- 27 Useful Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
- 1) Get Organized
- 2) Practice and Prepare Extensively
- 3) Eliminate Fear of Rejection
- 4) Focus on Patterns
- 5) Watch Yourself in the Mirror
- 6) Record Yourself and Learn Your Voice
- 7) Work On Your Breathing
- Practice Some More . .
- 9) Give your Speech to Another Person
- 10) Public Speaking Classes
- 11) Lightly Exercise Before Speaking
- 12) PowerPoint Can Be Really Great, or Really Bad
- 13) Even Warren Buffett Had Public Speaking Anxiety at First
- 14) Sip Water That’s Warm or Room Temperature
- 15) Read Eloquence in Public Speaking by Dr. Kenneth McFarland
- 16) Pick a Subject That You Really Care About
- 17) Know 100 Words for Every Word That You Speak
- 18) Focus On the Material, Not the Audience
- 19) Relax and Forget About Your Fear of Public Speaking
- 20) Don’t Overthink Audience Reactions
- 21) Avoid Talking Too Fast
- 22) Make Your Nervous Energy Work for You
- 23) Pay Any Price and Spend Any Amount of Time to Speak Well
- 24) Meditate 5 Minutes a Day
- 25) The Typical Compensation For a Public Speaking Event is ,500 to ,500
- 26) Have Pride in Your Work & Recognize Your Success
- 27) Develop a Plan to Improve Your Next Speech
- 28) Bonus Public Speaking Tip: Utilize the Powerful Speech Pause
- 29) Training Video: The 4 Types of Speech Pauses
- The Key Takeaways For You From This Video Are:
- Have You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Yet?
- To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Stop Thinking About Yourself
- 1. When you’re preparing, think about your audience.
- 2. Right before you speak, refocus your brain.
- 3. While you’re speaking, make eye contact.
Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking): Are You Glossophobic?
Glossophobia, or a fear of public speaking, is a very common phobia and one that is believed to affect up to 75% of the population. Some individuals may feel a slight nervousness at the very thought of public speaking, while others experience full-on panic and fear.
They may try to avoid public speaking situations at all cost or if they must speak in public, they endure shaking hands and a weak, quavering voice. How to overcome a fear of public speaking? With persistence and preparation, it’s entirely possible to beat glossophobia.
“The fear of public speaking is more common in younger patients as compared to older ones and may be more prevalent in females as compared to males,” says Jeffrey R.
Strawn, MD, FAACAP, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati.
“We know that some individuals tend to have more anxiety related to certain circumstances in which there may be a fear of evaluation and embarrassment.”
A fear of public speaking often is present in individuals with social anxiety disorder, Dr. Strawn says, and these social anxiety disorders may affect 5 to 9% of Americans.
“However, it is important to point out that not all individuals with a fear of public speaking have social anxiety disorder or another psychiatric disorder,” he explains.
“For a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder, clear functional impairment is generally required.”
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Symptoms of Glossophobia
Glossophobia causes a variety of symptoms such as:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased perspiration
- Dry mouth
- A stiffening of the upper back muscles
- Nausea and a feeling of panic when faced with having to speak in public
- Intense anxiety at the thought of speaking in front of a group.
Causes of Glossophobia
Most phobias seem to appear the blue, often starting in childhood or early adulthood. A phobia may arise because of a combination of genetic tendencies and other environmental, biological, and psychological factors. People who fear public speaking may have a real fear of being embarrassed or rejected.
Glossophobia may relate to one’s prior experiences, Dr. Strawn says. “An individual who has a bad experience during public speaking may fear a repeat of that prior experience when attempting to speak again,” he admits.
Or if a person is told to speak to a group on the spot with no chance for advance preparation, and it does not go well, she may begin to fear public speaking.
Glossophobia is treatable, and in general, exposure-based treatments and exercises are the most helpful, Dr. Strawn says.
In exposure therapy, an individual is taught coping skills and, over time, learns to handle the situation that is causing the fear. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is useful because it helps an individual to effectively manage her symptoms.
People with glossophobia also may benefit from anxiety management and relaxation techniques, and a combination of several treatments may be recommended.
“In individuals with a social anxiety disorder accompanied by a fear of public speaking, medications may be helpful, especially when they are combined with psychotherapy,” Dr. Strawn says.
Be prepared. If you want to overcome your fear of public speaking, get yourself organized ahead of time. Try to visit the venue where you will be giving your talk, and carefully review any and all equipment beforehand.
And learn all you can about your topic well in advance. This makes it less ly that you will say something incorrect or go off track. If you do stray slightly, knowing your topic well will increase your odds of recovering quickly.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t just “give” your complete presentation to a volunteer audience once. Do it several times with friends, family members, or anyone else you feel comfortable with. Ask for feedback and review everyone’s comments carefully. You may even want to make a video of your speech so you can see it and make any revisions that you think will make it better.
Pay attention to the material at hand, rather than your audience. Generally, an audience is focusing on the new information they are listening to rather than how it is presented. Chances are that they won’t even notice your trepidation.
Don’t be afraid of the sounds of silence. When you momentarily lose track of what you are saying, you may feel nervous and feel that you have been silent forever.
But it’s probably no longer than a few seconds, so simply take a few slow, deep breaths and proceed. Remind yourself that even if the moment of silence was longer than a moment, that’s okay, too.
Your audience probably figured that the pause was planned and they won’t mind a bit.
27 Useful Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
The average person ranks the fear of public speaking (also known as glossophobia) higher than the fear of death. The truth is, this fear could be hurting your professional and personal life.
You may have been there before.
You feel nervous, your palms sweat, your stomach ties itself into knots. You don’t want to do it. But you can overcome this fear of oral presentations with these simple public speaking tips!
In business, it is essentially important for you to be able to get your point across. It is ly that all of us will one day have to speak in public. Whether we are giving a formal presentation to an audience, or simply asking our boss for a promotion, speaking skills are essential to getting ahead in a professional setting.
The fear of public speaking is very real. However, there are techniques to help you overcome your fears. There are even ways to help harness your energy in a positive way. If your audience is remote, you will want to read these tips on giving a virtual presentation.
Keep reading if you want to learn how…..
1) Get Organized
When you organize all of your thoughts and materials it helps you to become much more relaxed and calm. When you have clear, organized thoughts it can greatly reduce your speaking anxiety because you can better focus on the one thing at hand, giving a great speech.
2) Practice and Prepare Extensively
Nothing takes the place of practicing and preparing for your speech. Write out a script of your key points, but don’t read from the script word for word. Prepare for your speech so well that you could answer any possible question thrown at you.
3) Eliminate Fear of Rejection
“What if my audience hates my speech? What if they boo me off stage?” Try to eliminate all of your fears of rejection. The audience is there to listen to you for a reason.
4) Focus on Patterns
When you speak try to get into a rhythm or a flow. Keep your sentences short and to the point and repeat key points. A short pause in between points can add anticipation to what you are going to say next.
5) Watch Yourself in the Mirror
Practice your speech in front of the mirror as if you were speaking directly to someone. If you really want to learn how to improve public speaking skills then…
Pay attention to:
- Your facial expressions
- Your gestures
- Your body movements
- How welcoming you appear
When you have gentle expressions and a calm demeanor when you speak, you will be more welcoming to your audience.
6) Record Yourself and Learn Your Voice
Record your speech on your phone or video camera. Record yourself giving the talk from beginning to end. Then listen to it or watch it, and make notes on how you could make it better. Some people do not listening to the sound of their voice on tape, so it is important that you get used to your own voice and speaking style.
7) Work On Your Breathing
When you focus on your breathing your voice will have more resonance and you will relax. Breathe calmly and focus on getting into a rhythm. Although this is a public speaking exercise, breath-work will help reduce stress and improve clarity in all areas of life.
Practice Some More . .
When someone asks me how he can build effective communication skills and improve his public speaking, I quote to him the words of Elbert Hubbard, who said, “The only way to learn to speak is to speak and speak, and speak and speak, and speak and speak and speak.”
9) Give your Speech to Another Person
There are plenty of people you can practice on. Be sure to tell the person to be completely honest with you in their critique.
Examples of people you can practice on:
- A significant other
- Your friends
- Your parents
- Your dog
Speaking directly to another person will help relax you and give you experience with getting feedback from someone. If they have questions about your speech, it is ly that members of an audience will have the same questions.
10) Public Speaking Classes
Find a great coach or mentor. There are many groups that you can join to learn the art of public speaking. A group such as Toastmasters is non-profit and helps people get over their fears by having them practice speaking on subjects over and over.
11) Lightly Exercise Before Speaking
Exercising lightly before a presentation can get your blood circulating and send oxygen to your brain. Take a walk before a speech or do a few knee bends.
This little trick is one of my favorite speaking tips. You’ll be amazed by what a little blood flow can do.
12) PowerPoint Can Be Really Great, or Really Bad
Sometimes, having a powerpoint can be your best friend. It can help you if you lose your train of thought, keep your audience engaged, and give people a good place to grab notes and main points from.
However, do not put paragraphs and 1,670,987 other things on one slide. To learn how to create an impactful presentation here: 16 Tips to Create a Great PowerPoint Presentation.
13) Even Warren Buffett Had Public Speaking Anxiety at First
Buffett got over his fears by teaching investing principles to people twice his age. He forced himself to talk to people. He practiced these skills over and over again. Fast forward to today and people hang on his every word. In fact, Warren Buffett quotes have become some of the most famous and sought after bites of investing wisdom in the world.
14) Sip Water That’s Warm or Room Temperature
Sometimes squeezing some lemon into your water helps as well. It helps lubricate your throat. Try to avoid sugary beverages before speaking. These can dry out your mouth and make it harder to talk.
15) Read Eloquence in Public Speaking by Dr. Kenneth McFarland
McFarland, who passed away in 1985, is also known as the “Dean of American Public Speakers,” and in his book, he didn’t talk about methodology or technique at all.
His central message, which influenced me very strongly when I began speaking publicly, was that the key to eloquence is the emotional component that the speaker brings to the subject.
To put it another way, the starting point of being an excellent speaker is for you to really care about your subject. So, here are some inspirational quotes to help inject some passion into your speeches.
16) Pick a Subject That You Really Care About
How to pick a subject that you really care about:
- The subject should have had an inordinate impact on you
- You want to share it with others
- You intensely feel others could benefit from your knowledge
- You can speak about it from the heart
When you speak about something you passionately care about you will be more comfortable and feel more confident in your element.
17) Know 100 Words for Every Word That You Speak
Ernest Hemingway wrote that “In order to write well, you must know 10 words about the subject for every word that you write. Otherwise, the reader will know that this is not true writing.”
I personally feel that, in speaking, you must know 100 words for every word that you speak. Otherwise, your audience will have the sense that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
18) Focus On the Material, Not the Audience
Focus on delivering your material in the best way possible. Don’t worry about audience reactions.
19) Relax and Forget About Your Fear of Public Speaking
When you let go of your stress and relax it eases your body and makes you less tense. Look at #24 for an interesting way that might help you to relax . . .
20) Don’t Overthink Audience Reactions
There is always going to be someone in the audience on their phone or yawning. Remember that there will always be people who are bored or tired. None of these audience reactions have anything to do with you personally.
21) Avoid Talking Too Fast
Talking fast during a speech interferes with your breathing patterns. If you talk too fast you will breathe less. Feeling short of breath will make you panicked and more susceptible to fear. Practice slowing down when you speak, and you will be more calm and relaxed.
22) Make Your Nervous Energy Work for You
Learn to channel your nervous energy into positive energy. Being nervous is a form of adrenaline. You can use it in a positive way to help give an impassioned presentation during public speaking events.
23) Pay Any Price and Spend Any Amount of Time to Speak Well
Make a decision right now that you want to learn to speak and learn to speak well. Be willing to pay any price and go to any lengths to achieve your goal.
I have seen people leapfrog over others in their careers by overcoming their speaking anxiety. In the long run the better you are and the better you get at it the farther and farther you will go in your business career.
24) Meditate 5 Minutes a Day
Meditating can help clear your head of negative thoughts. In an article in Forbes, Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America discussed his public speaking anxiety and how meditating for 5 minutes a day helped him to eradicate negative thoughts from his mind.
If you’re interested in learning the practice of meditation, Jack Canfield published a very helpful article for beginners. Be sure to check out How to Meditate for Clarity, Intuition, and Guidance for step by step instructions and a free guide.
25) The Typical Compensation For a Public Speaking Event is $4,500 to $7,500
Public speaking can be a great source of income. Here’s a video I made recently about speaking in 69 countries and how I began public speaking.
26) Have Pride in Your Work & Recognize Your Success
Your strongest critic is you. When you finish a speech or delivering a presentation, give yourself a pat on the back. You overcame your fears and you did it. Have pride in yourself.
27) Develop a Plan to Improve Your Next Speech
Practice makes perfect. If there is a video of your speech, watch it and make notes on how you can improve on it for next time.
- How do you think you did?
- Are there areas you think you could have improved?
- Did you seem stiff or make any weird facial expressions?
- Did you use a PowerPoint to your advantage? Did it help?
- Did you use “um” often?
- How was your rhythm?
Write everything down, keep practicing and improving. In time you will banish all of your fears of public speaking.
By the way:
You should always save the final version of your speech for later use. Most speeches can be converted into a book which will help you further develop your career. If you’re interested in doing so, be sure to learn how to write a book using my proven process.
28) Bonus Public Speaking Tip: Utilize the Powerful Speech Pause
The powerful speech pause might be the most important speaking technique you will ever learn. Not only will it help you overcome your fear of public speaking, but it will help you master your control over the emotional impact of your speeches.
This secret is something that I’ve used for many years. In fact, dramatic pauses are so powerful that they should be illegal.
In music, all of the beauty is contained in the silences between the notes. In speaking, the drama and power of the speech is contained in the silences that you create as you move from point to point.
This is an art that you can learn with practice.
29) Training Video: The 4 Types of Speech Pauses
There are 4 kinds of speech pauses that you can use to put more power into your presentations.
In this three minute video below I explain them to you.
The Key Takeaways For You From This Video Are:
- Use the sense pause to allow people to absorb the new information and catch up with you.
- Use the dramatic pause to make a point stick in the listener’s minds.
- Use an emphatic pause to emphasize an important point.
- Use the sentence-completion pause to make a statement or quote a line in which everyone is familiar, then let the audience answer it for you.
Many speakers are nervous when they stand up in front of an audience. As a result, they speak faster, with a higher pitch to their voices, and without pausing.
When you are more relaxed, you speak more slowly, pause regularly, and have a much better tone of voice.
Practicing pauses and allowing silences when you speak will enable you to speak with power in any situation.
You may also find some of the blogs, courses, and videos on my public speaking resource page helpful as well!
Have You Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Yet?
Hopefully, you found these tips beneficial and now you are no longer are you one of the people who fear public speaking!
As mentioned, a huge component of overcoming your fear of public speaking is making sure you are prepared and confident in the material you are presenting.
To help you jumpstart the process of writing your speech, try using my proven 5-minute speech formula so you can create a well-formatted presentation and start practicing now!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today.
He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement.
Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on , , , Pinterest, Linkedin and .
To Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, Stop Thinking About Yourself
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Most of us — even those at the top — struggle with public-speaking anxiety. When I ask my clients what makes them nervous, invariably they respond with the same answers:
“I don’t being watched.”
“I don’t the eyes on me.”
“I don’t being in the spotlight.”
And it follows that when they get up to speak, nearly all of them initially avoid making eye contact with members of the audience. Therein lies the problem: While avoiding direct eye contact may seem an effective strategy for coping with speaking anxiety, it actually makes you even more nervous.
To understand why, we need to go way back to prehistoric times, when humans perceived eyes watching us as an existential threat. Those eyes were ly predators. People were literally terrified of being eaten alive.
In response to that prehistoric reality, the amygdala, the part of our brain that helps us respond to danger, kicked into full gear. And when our fight-or-flight response gets triggered, we understandably feel intense stress and anxiety.
What does this have to do with public speaking? Turns out, everything.
Here’s the bad news: Our brains have transferred that ancient fear of being watched onto public speaking. In other words, public-speaking anxiety is in our DNA. We experience public speaking as an attack.
We physiologically register an audience as a threatening predator and mount a comparable response.
Many people’s physical responses while speaking resemble how their body would react to physical signs of danger (shortness of breath, redness of face, shaking).
So today when we speak in front of a group and feel the eyes watching us, we feel painfully visible, a caveman exposed in daylight. And because our brain is telling us that we are under attack, we do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves. We construct walls between ourselves and the source of danger — in this case, the audience — to repel the attack and blunt any danger.
What do these walls look ? We focus on our slides. We look down. We retreat into our notes. In the process, we disregard the people in front of us, wishing them into invisibility. Even the most confident speakers find ways to distance themselves from their audience. It’s just how we’re programmed.
Fortunately, there is a solution: human generosity. The key to calming the amygdala and disarming our organic panic button is to turn the focus away from ourselves — away from whether we will mess up or whether the audience will us — and toward helping the audience.
Studies have shown that an increase in generosity leads to a decrease in amygdala activity. Showing kindness and generosity to others has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which has the power to calm the fight-or-flight response.
When we are kind to others, we feel calmer and less stressed. The same principle applies in public speaking.
When we approach speaking with a spirit of generosity, we counteract the sensation of being under attack and start to feel less nervous.
Admittedly, this is hard to do. As a speech coach, I often find that my clients who are the most generous in work and life have the hardest time speaking in public, because their brain is telling them, “Now is not the time to give. It’s time to run!” But it’s absolutely possible to become a generous speaker. Start with these three steps:
1. When you’re preparing, think about your audience.
When we start preparing for a presentation, the mistake we all make is starting with the topic. This immediately gets us inside the details — and makes it harder to break down the wall between us and others. Instead, start with the audience.
Before diving into the information, ask yourself: Who will be in the room? Why are they there? What do they need? Be specific in your answers.
Identify the audience’s needs, both spoken and unspoken, and craft a message that speaks directly to those needs.
2. Right before you speak, refocus your brain.
You are the most nervous right before you speak. This is the moment where your brain is telling you, “Everyone is judging me. What if I fail?” And it is exactly at this moment that you can refocus your brain.
Remind yourself that you are here to help your audience. Be firm with your brain. Tell yourself, “Brain, this presentation is not about me. It is about helping my audience.
” Over time (usually between four and six presentations), your brain will begin to get it, and you will become less nervous.
3. While you’re speaking, make eye contact.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is speaking to people as a group. We scan the room — trying to look everyone at once — and end up connecting with nobody.
In reality, each person in the room is listening to you as an individual. And so the best way to connect to your audience is by speaking to them as individuals. How? By making sustained eye contact with one person per thought. (Each thought is about one full clause.) By focusing at one person at a time, you make each person in the room feel you are talking just to them.
This is hard. We are accustomed to scanning the room. Making direct eye contact can feel uncomfortable at first. Yet, as you practice it more, it will actually make you less nervous. It is far easier (and more effective) to have a series of one-on-one conversations than it is to speak to everyone at once.
When my clients use this technique more than three consecutive times, they almost always report a decrease in speaking anxiety. (Note that the most important people to look at are those who are at the far edges of the room. These are the people who are already at a disadvantage.
By being extra generous to those at the edges of the room, you bring everyone in.)
We know the power of generosity to give us a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and meaning. Generosity is just as powerful in speaking. It turns a nerve-wracking and even painful experience into one of giving and helping others. A generous speaker is calmer, more relaxed, and — most important — more effective at reaching the audience and making the desired impact.