Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

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.
by Mike Corthell  

I have it, I think we've all had it at one time or another. We feel self-conscious when we do it. ''What will people think, are they judging me?'' Remember giving that oral book reports in front of the class? Speaking in front of a group, speaking in public?

''Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise:
and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.''
—King Solomon(Proverbs 17:28)

Well, then we don't want to be thought a fool do we? How then, can we gain some confidence and get our message across in our sales meeting or when we have to give a toast at our daughter wedding?

Let's see...

Your chest tightens up with panic, your head starts to spin. You start to focus on the thoughts racing through your mind and then you forget what you wanted to say. Sometimes you even forget to breathe properly, making your voice crack. You start making your speech, all the while feeling like that proverbial fool. Enough of that people.

Search your soul. When you start to tell yourself that you can’t do something, or that you are bad at public speaking, check whether you’re basing this on who you are now—not the person you were 10 years ago or in grammar school.

Get your tunnel vision on. It is scary, very scary, but be committed to the moment and stay in that moment. As you keep speaking, your vision will clear and you will feel more comfortable. When it is over you will feel a marvelous sense of accomplishment.

Feel it, just feel the nervousness, FEEL It! A rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms may make it feel like you’re headed for the ditch, but studies have shown that performance actually peaks under moderate stress levels.Moderate fear and stress activate your body and they keep you alert.

Learn From the Experts Spend some time watching experts talk about public speaking and body language. One of the best video sources of inspiration I came across is a well-known talk by Olivia Fox Cabane, a leadership coach who specializes in teaching charisma.(watch below)

Forget the PowerPoint. Do you like watching people read verbatim from a presentation? I don't. The best speakers are storytellers not readers, and if you’re using slides, your audience will follow the screen instead of you. If you have to 'powerpoint' it, interject yourself personally into it with asides.

Get personal with YOUR people. Yes your people. They are your audience aren't they? Finding common ground with your audience is one of the keys to any good speech. We are all united by the same human desires and fears. Don’t be afraid to go personal. And don't forget to use humor.

Be yourself, let your style shine through. Be real.  The real you is what is beyond all of those conditioned beliefs and thinking patterns that you have accumulated throughout your life. Don't be what you think they want you to be. Be yourself. Your audience will love the genuine article.

Watch this video. It is worth every minute you spend watching it. Not only does Ms. Cabane give great advice on how to become a more charismatic person, she also sets a great example for how to give a riveting speech. This is a great presentation:

Another great video is Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on how body language shapes who you are internally. Let's watch...

Summing up...Find a safe place to practice, take cues from the experts, seeking out opportunities to get up in front of audiences, and re-thinking certain ideas you hold true about who you are and what you're good at. And practice, practice, practice! Good luck!
Believe in yourself...what a feeling!