Glossophobia is the most common phobia in adults as well as children. It is what we fear more than death! (Psychology Today November 29, 2012 Glenn Croston, Ph.D)
Symptoms and side effects range from dry mouth, weak voice, stuttering, shaking, sweating, rapid heartbeat, flushed face, etc. This social anxiety interferes with an individual’s self-confidence, psyche, and even the ability to function in their job.
It is the fear of public speaking.
“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” (Bertrand Russell, philosopher and mathematician)
In other words, to overcome this obstacle or hurdle, one must learn to manage, not master the fear as it still exists. These hurdles were presented to me literally by my high school track coach, Jack Rafter, who was able to inspire and motivate me to jump over several of these obstacles in the 100m, 200m and 400m races. To say the least, he pushed me out of my comfort zone then and I doubt he realizes his impact, but still even to this day, the discipline and drive he instilled in me over 25 years ago to run an extra mile or a few milliseconds faster continues to propel me forward both personally and professionally!
Fear is energy. Take that energy and redirect it to reach your true potential. The energy quotient is passion, inspiration, motivation. The butterflies will fly in formation, your heart perceived to be thumping loudly will return to its normal beats per minute, the frog in the throat will have leaped out, the sweaty palms, flushed face and dry mouth will all have disappeared. “Action cures fear, inaction creates terror.” (Doug Horton, science fiction writer)
So, to master the hurdle of fear, the action to overcome glossophobia then is to prepare and practice. Know your audience, speak to your passions and transform your self-consciousness into self-confidence. “A good speech should merely be one-on-one conversations…” (westsidetoastmasters.com Part 1 – Business is a Contact Sport)
Preparation is crucial to developing speeches where ideas are presented logically and convincingly. We have a surplus of language, but the art of speaking lies in the economy of words to say volumes. It’s all in the delivery, not the content. In an effort to manage and control the nervousness associated with speaking publicly, believe in your content, practice to give the appearance of spontaneity, remember to breathe and exude the confidence to sell ice to Eskimos!
Thank you, Coach Rafter, for motivating me to jump over those hurdles so long ago!