Thursday, January 02, 2014

Speaking Out Loud

According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” - Jerry Seinfeld

Do you remember the first time you had to stand in front of your school class and read your poem or report assignment. The entire class sat their squirming and heckling under their breath as you approached the blackboard, crinkled paper in hand. The paper trembled slightly as you cleared your throat and looked closely at the first words before you.

A rush of nervous shivers came over you as those first words came out.

Each of us has been in some form of speaking before others at one point in our lives. Or we will have that opportunity eventually. Are you ready for it? Or are you fearful of the idea itself? You shouldn't be. You should easily take on the thought, the task, and have the temerity to speak in front of any sized group of people.

Those people really do want to hear what you have to say.

One can understand how others develop glossophobia or speech anxiety. It is a fear of public speaking and comes from the Greek word glōssa, meaning tongue, and phobos, fear or dread. We all tend to have this fear in one small or very large form. Most of this fear is due to the feeling of being alone in front of others. And with that "being alone" is the fear of people being critical; meaning disagreeing with what or how we are saying something.

You can get past the fear and be an excellent speaker.

In a Psychology Today article, they provide five tips for helping you with public speaking.

1. Don’t Expect Perfection from Yourself
    None of us are perfect, all of us know that.
    Why then kick ourselves over every little perceived mistake we make.
    Others will never know your mistakes; give yourself permission not to be perfect.

2. Avoid Equating Public Speaking to Your Self-Worth
    Being good at public speaking or not has nothing to do with your value as a person.
    It is simply a skill that you can learn and become better at with practice.

3. Avoid Being Nervous About Your Nervousness
    All of us get nervous and many times that can be a good sign.
    Channel that nervous energy into a high energy performance.
    Nervousness is our adrenaline flowing, that’s all, a form of energy.

4. Avoid Trying to Memorize Every Word
    Unless you’re reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or your marriage vows.
    There’s no need to memorize every word of any speech.
    Attempting to will simply increase stress and greater nervousness.

5. Avoid Reading Word for Word
    Avoid reading word for word from a script.
    There’s a big difference between reading and speaking.
    Speaking is creating an impact with your content and personality.

There are many other ways, methods and practice tips for better public speaking. The only one that I know of which is time proven is actually standing up time and time again to speak. If you never try, you will never get over the fear of public speaking.

Start your new year by giving a toast to those at the dinner table or to a group of co-workers at lunch. It will be a first step in easing the fear of public speaking. It is also a much better alternative to being the person of interest at a funeral.

Stay inspired my friends.

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