Women and glossophobia | Fear of public speaking

Earlier on in my broadcasting career I was asked to speak at the famous Edinburgh International Television festival in about youth content

Public Speaking

At the time, I was head of programmes at ‘Yoof’ Channel, Rapture TV.  We used to go live in Ibiza and show hours of snowboarding – all very cool.  But the one thing that wasn’t cool at the time was my speech at the EITF conference!

Arrhh, I am embarrassed to say, I sucked!

It didn’t realise it at the time, but I suffered from Glossophobia! The fear of public speaking.

Apparently 75% of us suffer from this type of anxiety – which has devastating side effects. And in my experience of working with thousands of women in business – I’m guessing more women suffer from this than men! 

Do these symptoms sound familiar?;

  • increased heart rate

  • increased blood pressure

  • increased perspiration

  • increased oxygen intake

  • stiffening of neck/upper back muscles

  • dry mouth

  • a hamster wheel of negative thoughts running obsessively in your head

Oh yes, I also recall having an out of body experience as I judged myself from above!  It was a bit of a horror show.

Have you ever felt like that?  Many of my clients in business have described similar side effects as well as shaking, coming out in a rash and total brain freeze! There’s good news!

Since then I have not only helped thousands of speakers, BBC presenters, politicians and business leaders from global organisations (banks, law firms and Deloitte) nail their speeches despite their fear of public speaking, I have also mastered the art of speaking to a large audience myself! 

Can you believe standing on a stage in front of 100s of people has become my comfort zone?  It could be yours!

It’s literally a game changer for you and your business if you can learn to speak in front of a large audience. 

“Esther has been a game changer for me personally and for my status in the market, which will lead to more business for the bank. Esther is brilliant and fun to work with. I would not hesitate in recommending her to anyone”

Senior Woman Leader, Barclays Bank

Now it’s your turn to combat the fear!

Here are three of my top tips to help your glossophobia…(and I have so many more!)

Tip one: Breathe

“Anxiety is the same physiological reaction as excitement, but without breathing” – Janan Kubba, Psychotherapist and coach.

Breathe out for eight beats very slowly “blow out the candle” – then breathe in for five beats and “smell the roses”.  Repeat 3x and you’ll find your heart rate slows down.  This will stop the blind panic.

Tip two: Rehearse

“You reduce nerves by 73% if you practice” – Graham Davies – Author of The Presentation Coach.

Yes, it’s obvious you need to practice, but how many times have you actually forced yourself to do a proper dress rehearsal before a public speaking engagement?

Just make sure you have given yourself enough time to prepare and run through the full presentation/speech at least twice out loud with the clothes you’re going to wear. I always go one step further and I film myself with my little camera and watch it back, yuk! 

Yes, it’s excruciating but I learn from my mistakes and pick out the weak points.  I do praise myself on the good bits but it’s hard.  It does reduce your nerves, believe me, it does.  You’ll feel a lot more confident about your material too.

Tip three: Laugh

A low laugh from deep down in your stomach will help, just before you perform.  Yes, you may feel a bit funny but go to the loo if you need privacy.  Just 1 minute of this fun warm-up exercise will seriously help you to;

  • smile just before you go on

  • relax all your vocal apparatus (that has tensed up)

  • look relaxed, warm and ‘effortlessly’ confident

Eyes and teeth!

You can do it.

By Esther Stanhope – The Impact Guru – who gives you extra oomph!

About the author:

International Speaker and leadership expert Esther Stanhope is a former ‘Live’ BBC producer and journalist from London. She has worked with Hollywood stars and ‘big’ personalities (She’s interviewed George Clooney, Madonna, Samuel L Jackson and produced shows with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson).

Now she helps professionals communicate and “speak like a leader” with more impact and confidence in business; meetings, conferences, pitches & presentations. She helps leaders articulate their message and tell stories so they captivate their audience every time.

Based in London, her global clients include; Deloitte, top law firms (A&O, Norton Rose Fulbright) Barclays, JPMorgan, MPs at the House of Commons, Cambridge University & The Said Business School at the University of Oxford. Esther speaks at events all over the world about empowering people to get their voices heard no matter what their cultural background is. She also appears regularly in the media.

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