Stage Fright: Tested Tips and Techniques To Overcome Glossophobia

Many people are nervous when it comes to public speaking, whether it’s giving a presentation to a department or presenting a speech to a huge crowd. Fortunately, this anxiety, known in the medical profession as glossophobia and popularly referred to as stage fright, can be overcome. You can become a more confident public speaker with some practice and a few tactics.

In this post, we will look into glossophobia and how you can overcome your fear of speaking in public.

What exactly is glossophobia?

Glossophobia, or the dread of public speaking, is one of the most frequent anxiety disorders worldwide.

Glossophobia is derived from the Greek words glossa, which means tongue, and phobos, which means fear or dread. Most of us have felt nervous about speaking in public at some point in our lives.

A person suffering from glossophobia, on the other hand, is unable to control their anxiety and has an exceptionally intense fear of public speaking, often to the point of nervous collapse. This can be accompanied by excessive trembling, perspiration, and a racing heartbeat.

Speaking anxiety is not limited to speaking in front of large groups; people suffering with glossophobia may struggle to talk in a meeting, classroom, or other smaller group situation.

Sufferers may find it challenging to speak verbally in order to explain their ideas and thoughts as a result of this. As a result, stagefright may impair the sufferer’s ability to advance academically, socially, or professionally.

Stage fright is a social anxiety disorder with identifiable symptoms and treatment. If untreated, this can lead to feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem, despair, and isolation. There are effective ways for managing and coping with glossophobia.

Glossophobia symptoms include:

  1. Breathing difficulty
  2. Perspiration
  3. Dizziness.
  4. Panic attacks

While some persons with glossophobia may require medical intervention, such as psychotherapy and medication, for many, implementing a few tactics will relieve the anxiety they associate with public speaking.

Why are People Afraid to Speak in Public?

There are several variables that contribute to everyone’s dread of public speaking, and some people experience it more than others. These are some examples:

Your Inherent Makeup

Some people are simply more cautious than others, or they developed this trait early in life. If you are inherently uneasy around other people, you may have a racing heart or sweaty hands in front of a group, but this does not mean you cannot overcome your worries.

Preconceived Notions

When you are concerned about a deficiency, you might sometimes convince yourself that it is true. If a memory or tale makes you uneasy, you may be unnecessarily fighting against yourself. If you have had a poor experience speaking in front of a group, you may be afraid of recreating it in a future presentation.

Inadequate Experience

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The more presentations you give, the easier it will be to get.

Tested Techniques On How to Overcome Public Speaking Fear

You may be pleasantly surprised at how little there is to fear about presenting in public if you arrive prepared and learn to connect with your surroundings to help you project confidence. Here are a few techniques for dealing with nervousness before and during public speaking:

1. Prepare for Your Speech in Advance

Coming prepared is the most effective method to gain confidence. When preparing for your speech, be certain that you;

2. Know Your Material

Spend some time researching the subject and double-checking your talking points.

3. Determine the Parameters for Your Speech

Plan ahead of time as much as possible to reduce your worry. Learn about the organizer’s expectations and how long you’ll be expected to present.

4. Determine the Logistics

Try to visit the venue to become more acquainted with the place. If you intend to employ visual or audio aids, find out if the venue can accommodate them and test them ahead of time.

5. Rehearse Your Speech

Go over the entire presentation, including the visual components, numerous times. If at all feasible, practice in front of individuals you trust, such as family or friends. Make an extra effort to be confident in your introduction, as this will help you get through the experience.

6. Create an Outline or Put Down Your Talking Points

Make a note of when you need to go on to the following slide so your visual aid fits up properly.

7. Plan Your Attire Ahead of Time

Consider the type of clothing you’ll need to wear based on the occasion and venue, and make sure it’s wrinkle- and stain-free. Looking and feeling your best might help you feel more confident.

8. Do Something Peaceful or Invigorating Beforehand

Both a sense of serenity and a burst of energy can help you get in the right frame of mind. Meditation, breathing techniques, or a nice workout at the gym can all help you relax.

9. Incorporate Props and Extras

Using tools that minimize the emphasis on your speech is another method to deal with public speaking anxiety. You could incorporate extras into your presentation, such as a film, audience activity, or a question-and-answer panel, if applicable. Another strategy is to utilize your slides as a guide to help you keep on track with visual clues.

10. Remember to Breathe

Deep breathing exercises might help you relax and feel calmer immediately before your presentation. Furthermore, consciously breathing during your speech can aid with timing and allow for natural pauses.

11. Engage Your Audience

Consider your presentation to be a discussion with your audience. Take questions after delivering one important topic before moving on if you’re presenting to a smaller group. 

This can help the audience digest your content more effectively and keep them—and you—focused. If you get the chance to chat with audience members beforehand, you will feel more at ease.

12. Maintain an Optimistic Attitude

When negative ideas and self-doubt enter your head, attempt to recall a good aspect to counteract them. For example, if you’re concerned about forgetting a talking point, remind yourself that you can always examine your notes and remember where you are in your speech.

13. Keep a Glass of Water Nearby 

Having a dry mouth during a speech happens to everyone, not just those who are afraid of public speaking. Take sips of water every now and then to avoid feeling like your mouth is full of cotton.

14. Dim the Lighting in the Room

If feasible, consider dimming the lights that shine on the audience so that you can’t see their faces. You might find it easier to glance out into the crowd without focusing on their expressions. 

Similarly, fixing your gaze on a position just above your audience can give the impression that you’re staring into the audience without making eye contact.

15. Slow Things Down

If slowing down your delivery allows you to take more breaths and feel more comfortable, there’s no reason not to use it. Slowing down the pace of your speech might also assist the listeners understand you better and digest each point.

16. Nonverbal Communication That is Comfortable and Confident Might be Beneficial

Smiling can relieve anxiety and make you feel more at ease. Smiling before you deliver your speech boosts your chances of capturing and engaging your audience’s attention. 

To make your smile genuine, try to recall a joke or an amusing moment. If a smile isn’t acceptable given the subject, remember to begin and end with the type of body motions or cues that make you feel the most relaxed and connected.

17. Accept Your Mistakes

If you mispronounce a word, take the time to rectify it before moving on. In most circumstances, your blunders will go unnoticed by the audience, who will be more focused on the issue you’re presenting.

What is the Source of Glossophobia?

People’s glossophobia can be exacerbated by a variety of root causes and triggers as outlined below;

1. Humans’ Natural Reaction to Being Exposed

This fight-or-flight response can be traced back to our ancestors, when humans were threatened by wild creatures and other tribes. 

When exposed to people, such as on a stage in front of an audience, it causes you to stiffen up with nervousness. It will assist to become accustomed to this exposure and to regulate your body language in order to be receptive to it.

2. Negative Childhood Experiences

Some people feel that glossophobia develops early in life and arises from poor self-perceptions such as “nobody cares what I have to say.” 

This could be the result of a succession of negative experiences, such as when students, instructors, or parents do not appreciate what you say, or if you spoke in a group setting and were mocked for what you said.

The National Institute of Mental Health discovered that those with social anxiety had a heightened response when unpleasant comments are read to them. 

The areas affected were those in charge of self-evaluation and emotional processing. This heightened response was not observed in persons who did not have the condition.

3. It is Inherited

Though social phobias frequently run in families, the science behind this is unknown. The biology of fear and anxiety-related behaviors discovered that breeding mice with less fear and anxiety resulted in less anxious offspring. However, further research is needed to determine whether social phobias are inherited.

4. Negative Ideas About Oneself

Glossophobia has been linked to social anxiety and phobia disorders in some cases. Some believe that a person’s self-defeating ideas cause them to believe they will fail when speaking in public. The individual may believe that they must be perfect in order to be useful.

Many persons who are afraid of public speaking are afraid of being judged, embarrassed, or rejected.

What is the Treatment for Stage fright (Glossophobia)?

You can cure your glossophobia in a variety of ways. Here we examine psychotherapy, medicine, exposure therapy, and herbal therapies – different ones may apply depending on the level of your phobia. We then go into practical strategies you may do to overcome your fear of presenting a speech.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has helped many people overcome their glossophobia. Working with a therapist would go a long way in assisting you in determining the primary source of your anxiety. 

You would have to work together with the therapist to tackle your concerns and the negative ideas that accompany them. Your therapist will be able to show you how to change any negative thoughts.

As an example, consider the following:

Instead of thinking, “I can’t make any mistakes,” recognize that everyone makes mistakes or omits something when they present. It’s fine. The majority of the time, the audience is unaware of them.

Instead of saying, “Everyone will think I’m incompetent,” emphasize that the audience wants you to succeed. Then tell yourself that your prepared material is excellent and that you are well-versed in it.

After you’ve recognized your worries, practice giving presentations to small, supportive groups. Expand your audience as your confidence rises.

Antidepressants are intended to treat depression, but they can also help with social anxiety.

If your anxiety is severe enough that it is interfering with your everyday life, your doctor may prescribe benzodiazepines such as Ativan or Xanax.

Serotonin and other brain chemicals serve to regulate a person’s mood. The mood level drops during phobic episodes. Antianxiety and antidepressant medications can aid in the adjustment of these brain chemicals.

Exposition Treatment 

Exposure therapy is thought to be the most effective treatment method for public speaking phobia. The therapist leads you through regular exposure sessions in which you will be required to encounter public speaking situations.

During such exposure sessions, the therapist also teaches various relaxation strategies such as muscle release exercises, mental visualization exercises, and meditation. The individual gradually develops a tolerance for fear and worry.

Herbal Treatments

There are a variety of herbal and homeopathic medicines that can help reduce the anxiety experienced before public speaking events for persons with lesser symptoms.

Homeopaths may offer Aconitum napellus or Gelsemium, for example, based on the specific history, symptoms, and nature and temperament of the individual. 

Herbal medicines such as lemon balm, lavender, and passion flower, among others, can also aid to soothe and calm one’s anxiety before a public speaking event.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Glossophobia

Glossophobia’s psychological symptoms might result in abrupt hearing loss or other physical problems. When the mind becomes clogged with thoughts, tremendous tension develops, impairing a person’s hearing.

As a result of the high anxiety or stress, heart palpitations or elevated heart rates may develop. This can induce an increase in blood pressure, and the bodily response causes pupils to dilate. 

Here are a few examples of common physical symptoms:

  1. Accelerated heart rate
  2. An increase in blood pressure
  3. Pupils dilation
  4. Acute hearing impairment
  5. Trembling and intense fear
  6. Sweating, especially on the hands and the forehead
  7. In severe cases, nausea or vomiting may occur.
  8. Breathing difficulties or hyperventilation
  9. Dizziness
  10. Tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back
  11. An anxious feeling or a panic attack
  12. Needing to use the restroom frequently

Verbal Manifestations

Some of the linguistic symptoms of glossophobia can lead the person to strain when speaking. The person’s voice may quiver and shake, and he or she may repeat hesitations such as ‘umm’ or ‘ah’ before pausing vocally. 

This reaction makes the sufferer feel uneasy and apprehensive, exacerbating the symptoms of stage fright.

Because the strong worry may hinder one from speaking properly, speech anxiety might result in disordered speech, stammers, or tics. Speech abnormalities can also arise as a result of stress-induced reactions during public speaking.

Here are some examples of common speech symptoms:

  1. A feeling of dryness in the mouth
  2. Weakened tone of voice and less energy.
  3. Voice trembling or quivering
  4. Pause words such as ‘umm’ and ‘ah’
  5. Tics or stammers
  6. Pauses in speech

Improve your confidence by participating in interactive practice tasks for abilities like public speaking, impromptu speaking, providing feedback, and more.

How Many People are Affected with Glossophobia?

According to one estimate, 75% of people feel anxious or uncomfortable while giving a public speech, and 10% are terrified. One of the most common fears is public speaking, which ranks among heights, death, and snakes.

According to a YouGov poll conducted in the United Kingdom, more than 2,000 people were polled to rate 13 common phobias, with glossophobia coming in third, only beaten by fear of snakes and heights.

Glossophobia can Occur Under the Following Situations:

According to Barbara Fish, the student may experience dread in the classroom if the teacher does not call on him to answer a question. 

It can happen at work when a manager has panic attacks at the prospect of giving a presentation to her superiors.

Before going on a job interview, a job applicant may become emotionally distressed at home. It can happen at a party when the chance of meeting someone new is hampered by butterflies in the stomach and sweaty palms. The prospect of speaking in front of an audience might paralyze us.

Here are some scenarios in which Glossophobia may also occur:

  1. Musicians, actresses, and actors perform in front of large audiences.
  2. Presentations by businesspeople to their teams. 
  3. Making a phone call to a friend or coworker about something. 
  4. Children who are afraid of being questioned by their instructor. 
  5. Giving a wedding speech, such as a best man speech.
  6. Looking forward to attending a conference where you would meet a lot of new individuals.
  7. Flight attendants and pilots making announcements to passengers. 

Conclusion

Fear of disease is understandable, especially with so much information about various diseases now available online.

The fear of public speaking is a social phobia that can be triggered by a variety of variables such as genetics, learned behavior, and previous experiences.

It is the most frequent fear, and those suffering with glossophobia may experience anxiety when interacting with others, performing in public, or a mix of the two.

Treatment involving psychotherapy approaches is likely to produce the best results in terms of reducing irrational anxieties associated with public speaking. So what are you waiting for? 

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