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Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking Like an Expert

Ayesha Khan is a chemical engineer by profession. She loves traveling, solitude, reading books, and writing & also a BTS fan.

“Words have incredible power. They can make people’s hearts soar, or they can make people's hearts sore,”

By Dr- Mardy Grothe.

Introduction To Public Speaking Fear

Verbal communication is the oldest way of human communication. The ability to speak confidently without fear is important in human life. Many forms of communication are present in the business and social environment. Whether its email, presentation, meeting, telephone, video calls, interviews, workshops, social gatherings, etc. Nowadays an increasing number of people realize the advantages of good interpersonal communication for the success of their businesses, jobs, and relationships. Whether your goal is to convey your solutions to clients, increase professional growth, convince another person to follow your words and ideas. Learn how to convey the ideas confidently without fear.

What Is Public Speaking Fear Or Glossophobia?

Glossophobia is a terminology used for the public speaking fear. According to the Wikipedia definition "The term glossophobia derives from the Greek word glōssa, meaning tongue, Phobos means fear or dread". Public speaking fear is a common phobia, 75% of the population experience anxiety, fear, panic, trembling voice, nervousness in this phobia. The person having glossophobia tries to avoid any public speaking. Glossophobia aka stage fright can occur in the meeting, classrooms, social gatherings, etc. If untreated, public speaking anxiety can lead to serious effects on one’s quality of life, career goals, academic and social life.

Symptoms Of Public Speaking Fear (Glossophobia)

Stage fright causes serious physical and verbal symptoms. Start worrying that what people will think of us, we will stumble over our words, we will forget what to say. People experience the fight or flight response. The moment the brain suspects fear, the release of adrenaline hormones happens in a body because of a chemical reaction. The fear hormones circulate through the bloodstream to cells of your body. This is the body’s way of preparing to defend itself against perceived threats. The fear heightened when you expose yourself to people around you.

Physical symptoms:

Physical symptoms of public speaking fear are:

  1. Increased heart rate.
  2. Raise in blood pressure.
  3. Dilation of pupils.
  4. Acute hearing loss.
  5. Intense dread, trembling.
  6. Sweating, particularly on the hands and forehead.
  7. Nausea or vomiting in extreme cases.
  8. Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
  9. Dizziness.
  10. Muscle tension in the neck and upper back muscles.
  11. Nervousness or panic attack.
  12. Frequently needing the bathroom.

Verbal Symptoms:

Verbal symptoms of public speaking fear may include

  1. Dryness in the mouth.
  2. The weakened tone of voice and feeling energy less
  3. Voice trembles because of tension.
  4. Shaking or quivering voice.
  5. Hesitation words such as ‘umm’ and ‘ah’
  6. Stammers or tics.
  7. Vocalized pauses

Transform Your Fear Into An Achievement

You should not take your public speaking fear like a hurdle in your professional and personal growth. The building of career and business is much easier when you speak confidently in front of people or groups.

If it worries you that fear may worsen instead of improving your public speaking. Don’t worry. Your fear of public speaking will be better with the help of these simple 6 steps.

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1. Deep breathing:

Such strong emotions and anxiety trigger your body in the response of stage fright. Your muscle tightens, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes down, breathing shallow. In front of the audience, you cannot escape from this fear you have to face the audience, people. But you can control these emotions with the simple technique of breathing. The fastest way to regain confidence and control irregular emotions is through deep breathing. The moment you will start deep breathing you will start feeling confident & relaxed. Do deep breathing before, after, and during the presentation, speech, and public speaking.

2. Shifting focus outwards:

According to studies many people worse than they could because they focus too much on their physical symptoms I.e. butterflies, shaky hands, sweaty palms, and their embarrassment instead of concentrating on the breathing and their speech. Shifts your nervousness from how I Am looking towards the message and ideas you want to deliver the audience.

3. Visualizing:

Visualization or mental rehearsal is a part of the training of many top athletes for competition. Besides aesthetics, research has shown that visualization helps to improve performance in such areas as communication and public speaking. To ensure that your presentation goes smoothly, aside from the actual presentation and the rehearsal of your speech. Take 10-15 minutes a day to relax, close your eyes and visualize the room you are speaking in, the people in the auditorium, and yourself confidently delivering your speech, smiling, and moving across the stage.

4. Focusing on facts, not fears:

Instead of focusing on irrational fears (e.g. mind going blank, the audience getting bored) concentrate your thoughts on positive facts such as following

“I have practiced my speech many times “

“I am an expert on the topic”

“I have notes with major bullet points to keep the structure of my talk”.

Focusing on positive facts and on what you can offer takes your thought away from irrational scenarios about what can go wrong.

5. Full understanding of your work:

As there is a proverb “Think before you speak,”. I have extended this quote a little and my mantra is “Think before you speak, understand before you deliver ideas or message and listen before you answer”.

6. Building your speech on clarity, not complexity:

Speech, presentation, message, ideas, and whatever you want to convey to people it should be to the point, organized, clear, and compose of minimum words, allows you to relax and not worry so much about forgetting something important

Final Thoughts

Public speaking skill is not an inborn talent. Some find it easier to speak in public than the other, but successful people/speakers have trained themselves through persistence, practice, and preparation. No one can escape the adrenaline rush in front of people. The major difference between the successful and unsuccessful speakers is that successful speaker has learned to transform the fear into success. Fear is not only a normal reaction but sometimes it boosts our performance. Psychologists agree that some amount of fear heightens your awareness, boosts your concentration, sharpen your thinking, and boost energy. Follow these steps and make yourself a successful speaker.

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