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Tips to Overcome Glossophobia
programs > skill development modules > presentation skills > glossophobia



Prepare - The confidence to speak well comes from putting the time in to preparing well.  The old adage "Proper Preparation Prevents P--s Poor Performance" is very true.


Practice, Practice, Practice - Part of preparation is to make sure that the presentation is perfect by rehearsing the presentation as many times as you can.


Realise that 90% of nervousness doesn't show - Most of the symptoms of nervousness, butterflies, sweaty palms, faster heart beat, etc., never show to an audience. If you set your notes down on a lectern, the audience won’t be able to see even shaky hands.


Get rid of the beliefs and behaviours that cause fear - Many of our fears about public speaking come about due to unwarranted and unjustified thoughts. It may be true that Fear is actually "False Expectations Appearing Real".


Visualise the outcome that you want - Instead visualise positive success. Picture the opening, body and the close. Picture everyone smiling, laughing at your humor, applause at appropriate times and then coming up afterwards telling you about the great job you did.


Never write out your presentation word for word - just make brief notes. A little spontaneity adds a tremendous amount of character to your talk. Written speeches are almost always boring, and when you read text, it is much more difficult to make a connection with your audience.  Winston Churchill when asked to comment on the maiden speech of a fellow parliamentarian commented that “he only made three errors, firstly, he read the speech from a prepared manuscript, secondly, he read it poorly and finally, it wasn’t worth reading.


Look for a friendly face - Prior to your presentation stage introduce yourself to a few members of the audience in the front row. During your talk look these people in the eye to ease your nerves and connect with your audience.


Arrive early for your presentation - Get an idea for the setting, mingle with your audience, and test any equipment that you will be using.


Relax before speaking. Take a few short breaths - When many of us get nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. This robs our brain of oxygen and can create a negative reinforcing cycle. What happens is that we originally take a shallow breath out of nervousness and try to speak. Somewhere along the way, we realize that we won’t be able to finish our sentence, so we speed up. That makes us more nervous, so we breathe even more shallow. When this cycle occurs, just pause, take a deep breath, and continue.


Speak on topics in which you have expertise - If someone were going to ask you to present about a business topic, the main reason would be because you are the most qualified person to speak about the topic. You are qualified because of your experience. Your delivery should be as casual as if your best friend came up to you and asked, “How is your project going?” This will allow you to deliver your topic is a way that makes the audience feel as if you are talking to each person directly.


Be excited and enthusiastic about your topic - If you aren't, no one else will be either. If you give your audience energy, they will give energy back to you.


Look your best - When you look good, you feel confident.


Avoid mood altering substances - Some people mistakenly think that drinking lots of coffee or alcohol, smoking cigarettes or popping a tranquilizer before speaking will improve their delivery. Your relaxation may turn to sluggishness. Your pep may turn to jitters. It's best to avoid these substances altogether.
Additionally, eat lightly, or not at all, one hour before speaking. A full stomach can lower your energy level and concentration, because your body is busy digesting food. Any nervousness can make digestion difficult. You don't want a belch or a gurgling stomach interrupting your speech!


Look for opportunities to hone your skills – The more opportunities you have to speak the better you will become.  Many people join organisations like Toastmasters to both practice their speaking and build on their skills.







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