Having stagefright which is also known as glossophobia is similar to public speaking and is the largest phobia believed to affect around 75% of the population.
It affects people from all walks of life, whether they are performers or not, where people use all sorts of tactics to avoid it, detract it, and hope to overcome, where if it’s your livelihood is more than necessary to overcome so that you can feel confident and natural when you rock up for an audition, or having bagged a part feel more than ready to step out in front of your opening night audience, ready to give your all to the house.
Surprisingly it’s not always about standing on a large stage, it can also make an impact at a more local level when speaking up in small groups or saying something at work to a colleague where you want to be properly heard.
Public speaking is considered as one of the most important skills an individual can possess, as can be seen on the current television programme The Speaker where a group of kids are being coached in this area.
In last night’s episode they were invited by Earl Spencer (A Public Speaking Coach himself) to his stately home at Althorp in Northamptonshire. The kids were set various speaking challenges that culminated in each of the 8-contestants genning up on the history of a room at Althorp.
They then acted as Tour Guides to a small group of specially invited guests, some of which had been primed to chatter during the talk in order to see how the candidates handled that.
The talks comprised of only 8-minutes but the challenge proved too great for some … only one person, Maria, stood out as combining a good mix, of pace, confidence, warmth, friendliness, together with a good supply of accurate information and humour.
Public Speaking and presentation giving is about communicating information to an audience and as Earl Spencer said, “The bottom line is you have got to be interesting, you have got to be measured and you have got to have something important to say”.
Stand up comedy
This skill can be used in almost any area of life, but most great speakers have a natural ability to display the skills and effectiveness that can help to engage and move an audience for the purpose.
For example, when you consider the way a Stand Up Comedian commands an audience and the well documented aspect of their apprenticeship (so to speak) is spent in mastering the heckles.
This is possibly the reason for British Comedienne Jo Brand’s presence as a judge of the above mentioned programme, the art of the put-down of her hecklers comments became something she gained credit for, because she was always witty and able to get the audience on-side against the comment thrown at her. And maybe this is good training for any walk of life.
The use of language and rhetoric are among the two most important aspects of Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication. And there’s a difference between telling a good tale with friends, and delivering that on a specialist topic to a crowd of strangers, or people who may want to see you trip up (a competitive work environment for example).
However having knowledge of your topic shouldn’t be undervalued, because that is the starting point, from which to weave in the skills mentioned above, which together should ensure a good delivery of your required information. This should enable an effective speaker to blossom by communicating their message in an effectual way.
If this is something you’d like to improve or need to improve your professional stance, it is something that is easy enough to work on, so you become as relaxed and at ease as though you were delivering a story to family and friends round the dinner table.
Step up to the mark
PS – Directing your own destiny begins by arranging a quick 15-min chat which kick-starts having more energy to develop what you really, really want.