Tag Archive: glossophobia


Glossophobia? (Part 4)

Throughout my years in school, I have experienced numerous interesting anxiety/stage fright stories. Looking back to my junior year in high school, I was chosen to be a drum major for the band. A drum major, in a nut shell, is responsible for conducting the band during performances. One day during rehearsal, my band director had to leave class for a few minutes and asked me to conduct the Star Spangled Banner. This was my time to shine. For my first time conducting the band, I wanted to make a spectacular first impression. As I made my way toward the podium, I could feel my heart beat begin to thump in my chest. The butterflies were taking flight in my stomach as I stepped up to the wooden podium. My arms felt like they weighed 50lbs each as I lifted them up to start the song.  During these few moments, I was experiencing the phenomenon known as “stage fright” or anxiety.

Merriam Webster defines anxiety as, “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” See, the definition of anxiety is anxiety’s problem. Our mind becomes uneasy because it senses an impending or anticipated ill. The fact is, that impending or anticipated ill has the potential to be an AMAZING experience. The problem is that our brain tends to seek out the worst possibilities that could happen, which in return cause us to feel apprehension. While in my communications class over the summer, my professor explained to us the process of stage fright and how we can cope with stage fright. I listed his advice below:

The process of stage fright:

  1. It starts with a mental thought known as fight VS flight.
  2. Adrenaline is pumped into the blood stream.
  3. Our heart rate increases and then because of that, we need more oxygen so our respirations increases.
  4. Digestive system is suspended so that…our blood concentrates in the large muscles in arms and legs. Our arms and legs may shake and we may feel butterflies in our stomach.
  5. Finally, our temperature increases so we may sweat a bit as well as feel cold, sweaty palms.

How do we cope with stage fright?

  1. Self-fulfilling prophecy (Positive Thinking) – If the mind can make you feel anxious, it also has the ability to put our thoughts and bodies at ease.
  2. Animate arms and legs. This encourages blood flow throughout the body.
  3. Great posture (chest out, shoulders back, chin up). Be confident in yourself.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! “Winners practice until they get it right; champions practice until they cannot get it wrong.” – Anonymous

In the end, the most important piece of advice for you to overcome glossophobia is to have courage in yourself. Believe in yourself! As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or
think you can’t – you are right.” I always say, you are what you think, and if your mind can cause you to feel uneasy about public speaking, it can also give you the confidence to prevail
over glossophobia. To wrap up my Glossophobia Series, I want to leave you with a Simple Truth’s video about courage entitled, “Courage doesn’t always roar.”

LINK: http://www.movieofcourage.com/

In the comments below, share a story or experience where you had to find the courage to overcome a fear such as public speaking or stage fright.

<< Glossophobia? (Part 3)

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Glossophobia? (Part One)

The first thing I was thinking when I saw that word (Glossophobia) is what in the world does it mean!? Well, the word represents something that most people around the world fear more than death, public speaking. “As many as 75%  of people have Glossophobia. Statistically, far more of us claim that we would prefer death to giving a speech; even comedian Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that at a funeral, most people would rather be lying in the casket than delivering the eulogy” (Glossophobia.com).

This summer, I was required to take a Communications class for school. Many people told me I would have no problem with public speaking, but the butterflies in my stomach were telling me otherwise. In order to pass the class, we had to prepare three speeches, one with a group and two flying solo. Yes, I was rather nervous in the beginning. Yes, I had been dreading the thought of taking this class. And yes, I had Glossophobia, but by the end of the semester, my attitude began to change. I had been equipped with a toolbox of thoughts that changed my outlook on communication. My professor provided our class with many valuable notes that I want to share with you in my upcoming series. By the end, my goal is that readers will be ready to challenge their Glossophobia and be successful in the realm of public speaking and communication!

My professor started our first day of class by challenging us to define communication. When everyone shared their definitions, we all had multiple ideas about this one simple word. In a way, that is what he was attempting to show us. This one word is used by people every day, but everyone has their own unique way of expressing its meaning. He then provided us with seven characteristics to give us an image of communication…

1. Communication is constantly occurring

2. Communication is constantly changing

3. Communication usually involves an exchange

4. Communication involves a relationship

5. Communication is heavily influenced by culture and co-culture

  • Culture:  attitude, beliefs, and values of a group of people
  • Co-culture: a group within a culture that has attitudes, beliefs, and values that are different from the larger culture (Gender, race, Midwestern, etc.)

6. Communication is power

7. Communication is a process

We will dive deeper into these ideas later in the series. For this first post, I want to discuss characteristic number seven. Communication is a process because it usually involves both a sender and a receiver. In a nutshell, this is what occurs between a sender and receiver during communication:

Sender encodes a message, delivers it through a channel, message goes through barriers, receiver decodes the message, receiver encodes feedback, delivers feedback through a channel, feedback goes through barriers, sender decodes feedback (all of which takes place within a situation).

Even though the above definition may seem complex, it does not even begin to dive into all the variables that both the sender and receiver express! Within the structure of communication exists verbal and non-verbal cues, proxemics, kinesics, paralanguage, haptics, and chronemics that all add meaning to the message being conveyed. Have no fear because I will explain these variables and how they can add meaning to your message in upcoming posts. In the future, we will also be discussing the structure of your speech, delivery of your speech, and tackling what some people fear more than death, communication anxiety, also known as Glossophobia.

As for today, I hope I have expanded your horizons on the meaning of communication. I want to leave you with a question to ponder that my professor also shared with us:  Can one not not communicate? (OR–are we always communicating? Are there times when we are not communicating?)

Share your thoughts in the comments below!