How to Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking

What do people fear most? Many studies tell us that it is public speaking. In fancy language, fear of public speaking is called glossophobia. I’m going to tell you about a fun, inexpensive way to conquer your fear of public speaking that will make your life better in many other ways, as well.

In this economy, Randy is glad to have a job. He is part of a team in a mid-size financial firm. His manager sees promise in Randy and wants to help him advance in his career. He tells Randy that at an upcoming meeting, he will do the PowerPoint presentation on the new products his company is offering. Randy smiles, but inside he feels like the ground is opening beneath his feet. Randy is terrified of getting up in front of an audience and speaking. What can he do?

How many of us have found ourselves in a situation like this? Why are we so afraid to speak in front of others, and what can we do about it? The main reason we are afraid of public speaking is because our main fear in life is humiliation. We don’t want our failures to be exposed to all. What could be more dangerous, then, than looking like an idiot in front of a crowd?

I love speaking in front of people, but my body still reacts as if I am in grave danger when I am about to give a speech. As I approach the door of the place I am supposed to give my spiel, I start to think, “I don’t have to do this. I’m just going to turn around, get into my car, and drive away.”I am having one of the three basic fear reactions: run away!

If your body has one of the other basic fear reactions – to freeze – you are in trouble. Because just when you need to be relaxed, think, be funny, and speak, your entire body is telling you to lie down and pretend to be dead. Not a great formula for a winning performance. So what can you do?

There is a worldwide organization that has been around for almost a hundred years whose sole purpose is to help people master the art of public speaking. The name of that organization is Toastmasters International. Toastmasters has helped untold numbers of people not only conquer this fear, but become masters of the podium.

Toastmasters has a terrific system to help people become competent communicators, and leaders, too. They provide its members with a safe, supportive environment where you can practice your skills and get helpful advice and direction on how to proceed and improve. By taking you through this process one simple step at a time in a group of encouraging people, member’s fears gradually melt away. Before you know it, you look forward to getting up and speaking.

If you go on the internet to http://www.toastmasters.org you will be surprised to discover how many meetings there are in your area. Toastmasters welcome guests to meetings. You can visit as many groups as you like, to get an idea of how Toastmasters works, and to find a group that fits for you.

The best way to get over a fear is to, with support, gradually and repeatedly face the thing you fear. Toastmasters is the best way that I’ve found to do that with people’s number one fear, glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking.

Randy’s manager suggested he join Toastmasters, which he did. Now he wins over clients all the time with his great presentations. By facing his fears, he is succeeding in ways he never imagined he could.

Dr. Glenn Berger is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, business and artist’s coach, and young person’s mentor. He sees patients in New York City, in Mt. Kisco, NY, and around the world by Skype.

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