It’s Monday morning and you are in the middle of an office meeting that has been called on an impromptu basis. Out of the blue, your boss asks you a question you were not expecting. All eyes are on you, and from the look in her eyes and tone of voice, she wants an answer like two minutes ago.
Problem is, your brain seems to have gone on instant paralysis. The tongue has frozen, and you can’t seem to string a coherent response together. You start sentences and then stop.
You are hesitant, and this only leads to your body temperature rising to almost fever status. The heart rate quickens, and the salivary glands seem to have ceased operation – all the moisture that should very well be in your mouth appears to have dried up.
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All this while the boss is looking at you like ‘C’mon, spit it out already!’
And you are thinking, ‘If only my brain would cooperate!’
Does that sound like you?
Well, speech anxiety is something most people struggle with. And if it makes you feel any better, study after study through the years has ranked glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) among the biggest fears on planet earth (so, it’s not just you!).
These crippling feelings that leave you tongue-tied are something a lot of people grapple with every day.
And that is completely normal. It is a fear deeply ingrained in the human genome.
But in the build-up and heat of it all, it is very easy to forget that you are not the only one who gets nervous especially when all YOU keep seeing is other speakers delivering smoking performances. In truth, they just might have learned how to get a grip over their nervousness – as YOU too very well can.
Cognitive behavioural theory categorises the fear of public speaking as a social phobia, a phobia researchers believe is partly created by the tendency by most people to overblow the consequences of their failure. In other words, a large part of the fear we feel by speaking in front of people is made up in our minds, perceiving it as a high risk than it actually is.
That traces to the fight-or-flight response (aka the freeze response) which is a self-defence reaction triggered by both real and imaginary threats.
But did you know even professional public speakers who do this for a career get the jitters too?
In fact, many of us in this business are more afraid of being afraid than they are of the actual speaking.
And the reason?
Well, some harbour this feeling that some unconceivable things might befall them if they allow the audience to notice their fear. The entire audience will go berserk and boo them off the stage and that they will lose their job and the audience will lynch them and…(you get the picture, right?)
What Can You Do About It?
The truth of the matter is that fear has a well-studied list of negative effects it can have on you – and not even seasoned pros are exempt.
But there is a silver lining in all of this: not a single one of these effects spells the end of the world for you. Not one. None. Nada.
It all depends on how much you give in to that fear. Channel it positively and it will work wonders for you, however hard that may be hard to believe. Give in to it and it will take total control over you, which explains the anxiety you get from speaking in front of people.
The secret to overcoming the fear of public speaking lies in understanding fear itself. Because when you do, you no longer need to be afraid of its effect which should then be…petal-soft.
A favourite quote I like to use about fear is one by Jimmy Iovine which goes:
“Fear, fear’s a powerful thing. I mean it’s got a lot of firepower. If you can figure out a way to wrestle that fear to push you from behind rather than to stand in front of you, that’s very powerful.”
How We Can Help?
The NSA understands the aspect of fear of public speaking pretty well. That is why we have a tried and tested programme aimed at teaching the fundamentals of public speaking and how to overcome the crippling fear of speaking in public.
And why do we have faith that this programme can transform you into a confident individual and speaker?
Our approach is focused on the individual that is YOU as opposed to a blanket solution to cure all ailments. We concentrate on your personal weaknesses and teach you how to turn them into strengths.
We understand that each of us is unique in our own ways, and what works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa. We also understand each of us has the ability to overcome speech anxiety – if only we knew how.
A creation of renowned international speaker Jillian Haslam, the NSA public speaking training programme aims to give a voice to three core groups: students, the youth and professionals, each programme specially tailored for each segment.
Jillian is no stranger to public speaking. This includes speaking engagements in schools and universities across different continents, corporate speaking and conferences, motivational presentations to both large and small audiences around the world, giving radio and television interviews and various engagements with the media, among a host of other speaking occasions.
However, public speaking was not always easy for her. As she is keen to remind her audience on every stage she graces, it took her years to totally overcome her fear of public speaking which was, most times, paralysing.
A unique feature of her public speaking courses is that she will teach you from the perspective of someone who has been there before; someone who truly understands what it takes to conquer the engulfing fear of expressing yourself. Her courses will impart upon you practical techniques that really work, but even more importantly, she will show you those that do not!
Jillian designed the NSA programme to share her firsthand knowledge and experience with anyone and everyone who wants to overcome their speech anxiety.
She has three fundamental messages on public speaking which should resonate with everyone:
- Every person can learn how to be an effective speaker
- Don’t leave it until you get caught out
- “If I did it, anyone can” – Jillian Haslam
Whether it is answering questions and actively participating in the classroom, whether is making a work presentation, a team meeting, a wedding speech, reading the eulogy, or any other event – expected or unexpected – our course will help give you that voice that you so deeply desire.
'I have known Jillian ever since we were kids at school. All her friends realised that she had been blessed with an enormous depth of insight and perception. She listened to all our adolescent problems and dispensed advice so simply and effortlessly; and now her choices in life have led her towards being a life coach and mentor to countless other people who will no doubt be blessed by her as I have. As a life coach and trainer, Jillian's uniqueness is that she does not dispense readymade solutions but affords people an insight into their minds and souls. They can then explore their own feelings and confront and overcome their own obstacles. What more, she imparts this gift of clarity and insight with a style that replete with humour and sympathy at the human condition.'
Delicia Jones, Departmental Head, Youth Education, UK
'Jillian is a terrific orator who enlightens the spirits of her listeners. My first session with her helped me identify my inner strengths. In every session that we had she imparted useful information that equipped me to face difficult situations. Jillian is skilled and extremely talented. I greatly appreciate the compassion she shows in helping people and casting light on the right path to follow in life. I am grateful to her for the skilled guidance, love and support she has given me.'
Namrata Prabhu, Business Management Graduate, UK
'Jillian is an excellent life coach and much more. Her expert assistance helped me work towards my goals with great confidence. Jillian is flexible and has an intuitive sense of what is right from moment to moment. I thank her for a wonderful experience.'
Greg Stuart, Author & Trainer, UK