“To the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Glossophobia (n): The fear of public speaking. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread.

Jerry tells it like it is.

OK, so Seinfeld may have been exaggerating a bit when it comes to preferring the casket to the podium. However, about 75 percent of people suffer from glossophobia, and many more of us have dealt with its symptoms without knowing the proper term for “stage fright.” Luckily for us, both our president and vice president are seasoned presentation coaches. If the prospect of giving a presentation or speech makes you weak in the knees, check out these helpful tips from our pros to ease your nerves. Before Your Speech
  • Practice, practice, practice.
    • Rehearse in front of a mirror or camera. Recording your voice only reveals an entirely different perspective on how your audience hears and remembers your message.
  • Visualize
    • Close your eyes and imagine the sequence of events from the moment you walk in the room to the final round of applause. See yourself giving a successful speech.
  • Relax
    • Try a breathing exercise, such as the “t-repeater:” Turn your palms up, take a deep breath and exhale the “T” sound.
  • Prepare
    • Organize your materials well before your presentation. Remember Murphy’s Law: What CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong. A backup plan goes a long way toward preventing anxiety. What will you do if your original slide deck crashes? What if the power goes out, or you don't end up having a projector?
  Day Of 
  • Sleep
    • If you’re well rested, you’ll be at the top of your game and better equipped to deal with anxiety.
  • Eat and Drink
    • Drink room-temperature water or tea with lemon along with a healthy, protein meal. While it can be tempting to hop on the Starbucks Express, too much caffeine will increase pre-speech jitters.
  • Breathe
    • Taking a few minutes to meditate or do some stretching. Diffusing the anticipation of an event can help reduce built-up stress.
  • Chat yourself Up
    • Remind yourself that you are prepared and capable of giving a great speech.
  The Moment of Truth
  • Meet and greet
    • Chat with members of the audience beforehand, if possible. It will humanize them and help you feel more connected to them.
  • Start strong
    • Speak strongly and confidently from your first word but don't use up all your energy in the first five minutes.
  • Eye contact means human contact
    • Don't just scan faces in the room. Speak deliberately to one or more people while making a point, then move to another face in a different part of the room.
  • Everybody makes mistakes, even you.
    • Oops! You goofed. Take a moment to collect your thoughts, and then keep going. It happens to the best speakers in the world.

Don't let yourself go off the rails. 

Finally, great speakers weren't made in a day, either. Choose one aspect of speaking publicly to focus on whenever you have the opportunity to get in front of people. It won't be long before you're helping someone else out with their "stage fright." 

    Leave a Reply