Glossophobia – Fear of Public Speaking by Katy Lee

Hello, Katy Lee here. Due to a speaking event I am attending this weekend, I decided to share my thoughts on public speaking again. Enjoy!

Writing is an isolated venture, except if you want to keep the lights on. For someone who wants to make a living as an author, stepping out to sell your work requires finesse in the art of public speaking. For an introvert, such as me, the idea of pitching to editors and agents to sell my work, triggers panic to set in. The concept of building a platform to gain readership means talking to people. Sometimes one-on-one. Sometimes on a stage. The point I am making here, though, is there comes a time when writing is no longer sequestered.

Are you ready to start talking?

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is remarkably common. In fact, some experts estimate that as much as 75% of the population has some level of anxiety when it comes to this. There are some people who fear it more than death, but most are able to control this fear to get the job done.

Many writers believe they have chosen a career that allows them to avoid public speaking. They think speaking jobs are in the corporate world or in sales. Or perhaps they think standing up in front of a group is found only in a classroom, teaching, or on a stage, acting. But things could not be further from the truth.

Agents and editors want to hear the excitement about your stories right from your mouth. If you have an opportunity to meet a literary professional face-to-face, you need to be ready to shine. Also, readers want to know you personally. With the social networks available now, this task is easier than ever, but chances for more intimate settings like a speaking event will help you connect with more people. Relationship building will give you a platform to succeed.

Now, I could tell you to get over your fears and get up there and start talking, but I’ve been in your shoes and know that’s not possible. Your fear is real. For me, prayer was my first step. As in inspirational writer, I firmly believe God has given me these stories to tell, and so I told Him if I was going to do this, then I would need His help in relieving some of this fear. And as always He came through.

Opportunities presented themselves to me where I could learn coping skills for stepping out and opening up. Leadership classes such as Toastmasters were taken. I was then offered the children’s ministry director position for my church – speaking to children. Now there’s a scary task. But I did it, and little by little my fear went away. My fumbling over words lessened. My voice got louder, and I stood straighter. Yay God!

But about a year ago, I was invited to speak to a group of women at a monthly Aglow meeting. At first I said, “No, I could never do that. Children were one thing, but adults? Never.” But in the end I did end up accepting the invitation. Since then I have been invited to speak all over New England. It has been an amazing adventure.

The Unlocked Secret: God does not want us to fear anything. In fact, His Word tells us, He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) And I don’t know about you, but if it’s not from Him, then I don’t want it. So goodbye fear, and let’s talk.

Question: Do you suffer with a little bit of Glossophobia, too? How do you overcome it?


16 thoughts on “Glossophobia – Fear of Public Speaking by Katy Lee”

  1. Great post Katy! I don’t fear speaking in public, but I’ve done it a LOT! In my pre-stay-at-home-mom career I was in front of groups, large and small, on a pretty regular basis. I look forward to talking to groups, but I do like to be prepared. I spend a lot of time figuring out what I want to say and I like to rely on Powerpoint to take some of the eyes off me.
    I think the largest group I’ve been in front of is about 150…maybe someday I’ll be fortunate enough to be in front of a truly large group of 1,000 or more!

  2. I don’t fear public speaking either. That fear was drummed out of me by six years of performing on stage for drama club. And that experience has served me well. It came in handy for work when I was told out of the blue that I was giving a presentation to an auditorium full of people (including my boss, colleagues, and VIPs).

    And J is correct, knowing what you’re going to say and being prepared goes a long way toward making it easier. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t get the adreline rush of nerves right before addressing a group, but if you give it a few minutes, and know what your saying, it helps a lot and the fear dissipates (or fake it ’till you make – the audience really can’t see the fear in your head!).

    I am a Boy Scout merit badge counselor and one of the most rewarding badges is public speaking. I decided to be a counselor for this badge because it killed me to see boys racked with fear of speaking in front of review boards, the troop or at ceremonies. I’ve had several of the boys thank me later, telling me it came in handy for school presentations or when they had to give their speechs for their Eagle Ceremonies.

    And while you can’t just get over the fear, practice, knowing what you’re going to say and being brave can get you there. Oh, and try to remember, we’re writers. Finishing a novel and putting it out there takes courage too. If we can do that, we can learn to overcome fear of public speaking.

  3. Excellent topic.
    Now you all know me as a bit of an extrovert, some might even call me a ham. The truth is that every time I have to speak or sing in public–and I have done both–my voice shakes,my knees wobble, and my lower intestine acts as if a laxative has just kicked in. It gives new meaning to the term, no guts, no glory.

    TMI, I know. But the reality is that we are all fearful of looking like an idiot in public. I agree with J and Casey about the ways to overcome stage fright, but the bottom line is remembering that the pros who love you will still love you even if you look silly. Thinking about that when I get up to perform takes the pressure off to be perfect. So I now be careful of what I eat beforehand and I expect the gutters for the first few minutes. Once I get past that, the rest is easy. My inner ham takes control and its just me and the Mic.

  4. I used to be very nervous in front of a group, but having done it for a while now, the fear is less. Oddly enough, I get more nervous introducing someone than when I myself have to speak. But practice really does make perfect. And just because you’re scared doesn’t mean you can’t hit a home run just the same. 🙂

  5. Forgive the typos on my previous comment. I was commenting from my I-phone. I meant to say, “those” who love you, and gitters, not gutters. Mistakes are reminders that we are human, and that perfection is highly over rated. If you can’t laugh at yourself, rest assured, someone else will. So my advice is don’t be afraid to be funny…if their going to laugh, give ’em something to laugh about.

  6. I had to force myself to exit my cocoon 37 years ago when I opened my private practice as a psychotherapist, realizing it wasn’t enough to get a degree, I had to actually let people know I existed. It helped that I had to raise two daughters on my own. My first talk was–imagine! in front of a men’s club, followed by a group of psychologists, experts on dreams. I talked about dreams, my own take on them. I got a plaque from the first group, and lots of interested questions from the second. And, I didn’t die. I’d been on television programs several times, and I still didn’t die!
    It was important for me to make a note of that.

    At some point I found that Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking tape by Love Tapes (still in existence and going strong) was tremendously helpful. I’d given many talks, classes and workshops over these past few decades, but the two things I find really helpful is to simply “fess up” when you start. It’s amazing how it engages the audience’s empathy when you admit to being nervous. They start smiling, and you just cushioned a possible fall. Then pick out someone whose smile is the most genuine and every now and then bring your attention back to them, and in your mind keep the focus on them, and it feels like you’re simply talking to a friend. P.S. As you see, Katy Lee, nowadays no one can shut me up! 🙂

    Of course, since I’m an ingenue in my writing career, a few more hurdles will have to be overcome! 🙂

    1. I understand. Seriously. When I stand up, I have to seperate myself from my body. And I have to have everything written down. otherwise, my mind goes blank.

      Try little groups of friends first. Pick a topic you are knowledgable about. Write some notes down, and give it a whirl. It does get a little easier each time.

  7. Toastmasters!!! That word alone casts fear in me! I DID have to give a short speech at the RT Convention for an award. I bawled the entire way through it. I don’t think I’ll ever worry whether public speaking is my gift, Katy…the proof is in the pudding!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.