Nally) Beat Your BLIC SPEAKING!
Sunaina Girdhar, 32, runs a successful events company in Mumbai, and a major part of her job requires making business pitches and presentations to prospective clients and colleagues. She’s amazingly thorough—and confident—when it comes to researching, meeting, and schmoozing with clients, but there’s a little problem...Sunaina is terrified of making business speeches and proposals. “I know it sounds silly, given my profession, but just the thought of talking in front of people makes me jittery. I often find myself in a situation where I’m in front of 10 people and am dumb-founded for words. Which is why I have a team of people who do the job for me, while I sit quietly on the side, saying as little as possible. I’m great at doing everything else, as long as you don’t ask me to talk. I know this harms my career at some level, but I really can’t help it.” Unsurprisingly, Sunaina is hardly alone. Glossophobia, popularly known as speech anxiety, is a medical condition that arises with the fear of public speaking. And according to a poll by the Wall Street Journal, public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world! Worry not though, because we have the solutions! According to Glenn Croston, Ph. D., the panic of getting in front of a crowd comes from a fear of rejection. “At a primal level, the fear is so great because we are not merely afraid of being embarrassed, or judged. We are afraid of being rejected from the social group, ostracised and left to defend ourselves all on our own.” As a social psychologist, teacher, and a sufferer of social anxiety, Dr. Signe Dayhoff had intense fear of public speaking every time he got up to teach a class. “My tongue stuck to the roof of my dry mouth and I couldn’t swallow. I blushed, sweated and trembled,” he said. Getting help made him deal with the situation better. “As I recovered 12 years ago, using patience, persistence, and practice, I discovered that nearly 20 million individuals at any one time suffer from some form of social anxiety.” Feeling afraid on stage? Tackle the physical symptoms first, says Senior Medical Writer, Daniel J. DeNoon. “Dry mouth? Take a little sip of water. Knees knocking? Shift your weight and flex your knees. Hands trembling? Put them together.” And Dr. Paul L Witt’s solution to a quivering voice is to pause, take a deep breath or two, and smile. He it is amazing what a smile will do. As for sweating? You should forget about it because nobody really sees that anyway, says Witt. All you need to do is admit that you are a bit nervous about speaking to your audience. They will be more forgiving if your nervousness shows up later on. Also, you’ll feel more relaxed now as they won’t be expecting a world-class presentation. And then imagine their surprise when you deliver an excellent one! A