By Elizabeth Ziemba, President, Medical Tourism Training, Inc.
Do you suffer from glossophobia? If you do, you are not alone.
A Dreaded Experience
The fear of public speaking – glossophobia – is one of the most stressful activities that people experience. According to the National Institutes of Health, 74% of Americans suffer from the fear of speaking in public. In a survey of types of fears, people were more afraid of public speaking than death. According to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, “In other words, at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”
Yet in our professional lives, we are often called upon to give presentations to audiences of all sizes from team meetings to keynote speeches. Now that the spring conference season is in full bloom, many of us – myself included – will be delivering presentations to share our knowledge, network, promote our services, and enhance our skills.
Tips for Effective Presentations
Keith Pollard, an accomplished and skilled presenter, offers ten tips for effective presentations in the IMTJ blog. This sage advice from a seasoned professional is an excellent check list for improving public speaking skills and overcoming glossophobia.
Keith’s list which is available at www.imtj.com includes:
- Get trained
- Plan and rehearse
- How to kick off
- Grab attention
- YOU appeal
- Make it visual
- Be original
- Stick to time
- Final words
My particular favorite on the top ten list is the first one – get training. Training options exist for every budget and include books, CDs and DVDs, social organizations, and training courses as well as personal coaches.
A quick Internet search reveals numerous topics giving advice about overcoming glossophobia. With clever titles like No Sweat Public Speaking and Public Speaking Tips for the Terrified Newcomer, there is no shortage of affordable books offering ways to defeat the fear of public speaking. Many titles are available as CDs and DVDs including The Seven Principles of Public Speaking and Coping with the Fear of Public Speaking. There is a downloadable app called Fear of Public Speaking and an MP3 download, Public Speaking Hypnosis.
Organizations such as Toastmasters International help members improve speaking and leadership skills through learn-by-doing workshops. There are 13,500 clubs in 116 countries and membership fees are modest. While building presentation skills, enjoy meeting other professionals, networking, and making friends.
Training workshops to overcome the fear of public speaking are available worldwide. Many organizations send staff members to workshops or hire coaches to teach the fine points of public speaking. For example, the Dean of a US medical school requires that each member of staff who may be interviewed by the media attend an intensive three day program. This one-on-one training includes mock sessions of fielding questions from the “press”, videotaping of prepared speeches as well as speaking “off the cuff”.
Given the power of the media and the immediate Internet posting of embarrassing misstatements and miscues, anyone who may be interviewed by the media should invest in some type of public speaking training.
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