I recently came accross the word Glossophobia while writing our Presentation Skills in Travel course, and was fascinated by it. I live in Glossop, in the gorgeous English Peak District, so of course I was intrigued. However, they’re unrelated and the term actually means ‘a fear of public speaking’. I’ve delivered thousands of training courses and seminars; I know I have a level of Glossophobia. Do you?
The National Institute of Mental Health states that 73% of the population has public speaking anxiety, so you’re not alone if you do. Some well-known figures including actors, singers, politicians, and pastors experience anxiety ahead of public speaking, including Britain’s Prince Harry. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has openly spoken about his self-doubt when speaking publicly. The American rapper Jay-Z has his own unique way of overcoming his immense stage fright, by grabbing his crotch. He described it as ‘so when you get up there, you feel naked, right? So, when you feel naked, what’s the first thing you do? You cover yourself. His wife, Beyonce, has an alter ego called Sasha Fierce. She says ‘I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m on stage; this alter ego I’ve created that kind of protects me and who I really am.”
Many celebrities and businesspeople who must ‘go on stage’, be it standing in front of a boardroom table or an arena with thousands of people, adopt a different more confident personality. I admit to doing this also. I can experience immense feelings of stage fright when I start delivering a training course. I overcome this not just through breathing, being present, and detailed preparation, but also by adopting my work alter-ego, created by wearing super high heels. They just seem to make me feel more confident, almost like a power pose.
The singer Robbie Williams is not shy about being paralysed by stage fright, often feeling he can’t go on stage at all. It’s reported that the belly breathing techniques he uses to calm his nerves are also used by Adele.
If you think you also suffer from Glossophobia, or you’d like to improve your presentation skills within the travel industry, we‘ll teach you the skills you need to help you when the spotlight is on you, ensuring your preparation, presentation, body language and voice all have a positive impact.
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