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‘Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread.’

Source: Wikipedia

Fear of public speaking is a very common phobia believe it or not and a form of performance anxiety. However, in business, it is extremely important for you to be able to get your point across successfully ,therefore face your fear of public speaking . It is likely 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 manager for a promotion, speaking skills are essential to getting ahead in the professional world.

What is the reason for your fear?

Common reasons are fear of being judged, making a mistake, getting hurt mentally and having stage fright and forgetting your subject. Can you think of yours?

Prepare & practice

Preparation is key. Ensure you are confident in knowing your material. It will not necessarily take away that fear ( at first), but it will leave you in a good position to conquer. Plan an outline and key points, practice them in front of an audience. You can make anyone into an audience ( couch cushions, photographs or even your crockery). If you feel braver, you could ask a partner/friend to be your audience and ask them for any feedback.

Don’t ignore your audience but keep the main focus on your material

It is so easy to talk about your topic by avoiding eye contact with your audience. This not only makes the fear worse, this is also makes the audience less likely to connect with you. Try making eye contact regularly for 10 seconds at a time. It will be hard, but this gets easier with practice. Remember, that if you focus on the audience too much and not your material, you are more likely to loose your trail of thought.

Don’t fidget and keep a glass of water by your side

Choose a position for your hands and keep them there. When people get nervous, they start fidgeting with their hands, playing with their hair/face or anything else they can get their hands on. Sitting down or standing up, keeping  your hands together on your lap can ease your anxiety. A glass of water is also very useful, to sip during natural pauses, and prevent your mouth from drying out.

More information

This book by Kenneth McFarland has brilliant reviews and this article brilliant advice.

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