Did you know that the highest ranked phobia in the world is GLOSSOPHOBIA? Oh wait!… I hope you know what Glossophobia is. It is a common term in my field and it is one of the phobias I help people overcome. Glossophobia, (as fancy as it may sound) is defined as the fear of public speaking. It might also be the fear of speaking in general.
Glossophobia is a phobia many people suffer from. According to research, one out of every four persons suffer from Glossophobia. Can you guess the scary stat that amounts to? That means about 75% of the whole world suffers from this phobia; Putting it as the most common phobia to ever exist, and one that is readily visible across every age group, tribe, culture, social status, nationality, and so on.
According to research, people’s number one fear is public speaking (Glossophobia), number two is death (Necrophobia). Meaning, some people would rather be lying in the coffin at the funeral than face a large crowd for the eulogy. (Choi!) The term “Glossophobia” is derived from two Greek words – “Glossa” which means “tongue or language” and “Phobos”, which is the personification of fear in Greek.
After all said and said (Lol!), the truth is that the number fear in the whole world is just an illusion. Public speaking is not meant to be feared at all – and that’s the irony of life. Ok, come to think of this: If you are standing on a podium, facing the audience. Who is in charge? You or the audience? (You see?!) If during your talk, you point to someone to stand up, maybe for an illustration or something. More often than not, the person (however shy and reluctant) would respond (obey).
Did you know that a lot of great speakers today didn’t just suddenly appear at the point where many people take them as public speaking mentors? In fact, a lot of public speakers suffered from Glossophobia. You’ll hear statements like “I could not stand and face a crowd to talk, even at 21” “Every time I had to face the crowd, I felt like I was going to pee myself” “The first time I heard the sound of my own voice from a microphone, I decided that was the last time”. Real statements from people who went on to become celebrated speakers.
You could then ask – How then did they become such crisp and excellent speakers? Well, the answer is nothing but a combination of a Change in Mindset, Investment and Practice – Simple! Changing how one sees the act of public speaking is really important, just as investing in personal development, and attending seminars and trainings. But you might not see results if you don’t practice. Practice makes perfect, and public speaking isn’t an exemption.
Public speaking is a skill and we need to understand there is the art and science to it; especially if you’re looking to take up a career in public speaking. If it were not so, there wouldn’t have been schools and coaching academies, including mine, teaching people on the science, art, and business of public speaking.
But just for a quick glance through, here are some quick tips to overcome Glossophobia, and get that WOW feedback.
1. Relax; take deep breaths and release the air slowly
2. Get Organized
3. Eliminate Fear of Rejection (sometimes this requires therapy)
4. Speak to a mock audience (your friends, partner, parents, etc.) and ask for sincere feedback
5. Record Yourself and Get Used to Your Voice
6. Pick a Subject that is of Immense Interest to You
7. Have a routine of positive affirmations that serves as an anchor before you go up e.g say stuff like ‘It’s showtime….”
8. Visualize the end of the speech before you begin. See the ovation and feel the positive energy of the great feedback you will get
9. Practice, and practice some more. You’re only as good as your best rehearsal.
10. Attend Public Speaking Classes.
Hope these quick points help.
There is an interesting connecting between speaking and success. It’s imperative you master the use of your tongue. God gave us mouths to speak (not just to eat, lol). Glossophobia can be overcome.