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Fear of public speaking

By: Uzma Zahid

Death is the number two fear that people have, and public speaking is the first! “Sidney Shelden. When you consider facing a large audience and standing alone on stage with hundreds of eyes staring, the audience seems to be a herd of sheep waiting for its prey.

No matter how many inspiring ideas we have to inspire, we don’t share with others due to public speaking phobia. Public speaking phobia compels us to wear the veil of silence and avoid expressing our thoughts in front of people.

Why do we face Glossophobia?

Experiencing the fear of brain freeze in public speaking is common. Having an audience’s attention while standing in silence feels like a form of judgment and rejection.
What if people dislike me?
What if I make a mistake?
What if people laugh at me?

Although stage confidence is not everyone’s cup of tea, we can build it by practicing a few techniques.
According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.”

The world witnessed great public speakers who were extremely shy but later on, they illuminated the world with the spark of their voice.

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is not limited to talent or knowledge. Even the most talented people are hesitant to confront a massive audience.

Let me take you back to my school days when I was invited on stage to express my thoughts about scoring the first position. It was a horrifying moment. I was trembling with fear. The podium looked a hundred miles far away, which was as difficult as climbing over a mountain. My heart palpitations resulted in intense anxiety. I started speaking with my quivering voice.

How did I learn to overcome my fear of public speaking? Definitely with some easy tips and practice.
Being an adult, I learned a tip from my friend when she was driving the car. According to her, EIDAB is a safety rule. It sounds unusual, but that’s the technique to safety. The EIDAB rule is to assume EVERYONE IS DEAF AND BLIND around you. You are the only one who can see and hear, it makes us alert safe from accidents. I realized if we visualize the same rule for public speaking, it works. When you think nobody is looking at you, only you can see, it will enhance the energy to speak with confidence. Hence, this is the key to eye contact with the audience.

Consequently, FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT is another golden tip to overcome the fear of public speaking. Practicing this formula will help to get rid of Glossophobia for good. While confronting the audience, pretend as you are unfrightened. You will feel the moment of dominance, confidence, and unmitigated triumph.

There is a Japanese proverb, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”.
Another reason which causes Glossophobia is misinterpreting the facial expressions of the audience. If you have eye contact with the audience and see blank faces, it is not a signal of boredom but can be a sign of engagement in the speech. We should take the facial expression positively while presenting.
Moreover, practicing in front of the mirror and visualizing your audience while practicing will have a calming effect and help to overcome glossophobia.

Additionally, pausing strategically between points lessens nervousness during the speech, and believing in yourself will ignite the passion for conquering the hearts.

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