Glossophobia / speaking anxiety and how to overcome it in times of the COVID-19

July 8, 2020

 

The extraordinary conditions of the COVID-19 pandemie have reshaped our understanding of work, highlighting the importance of teleworking. This article is intended for those who, due to circumstances, have switched to the home office, whose business has gone online, who needs to participate in online meetings, make online reports and presentations.

 

According to scientific research, the fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 75% of the population (you can read more about it here).

 

We are afraid to look stupid; we are afraid that something will go wrong; we are afraid that people will laugh at us; we are afraid that audience will not like or accept us. Such fear and anxiety only get stronger when we have to speak in unusual conditions. Speaking in front of the camera is a good example. It is challenging because, for example, we don’t see the reaction of our audiences or opponents, we can’t adjust our speech to better fit in.

 

In order to feel confident before and during a speech, we need to prepare for it in advance, reflecting upon our fears and reworking them as much as possible. (You can read more about fears and anxieties and how to overcome them in the article).

 

 

What and how to prepare before the online meeting

 

The first thing to do is to take care of the technical side of the issue:

  • Find a quiet place where no one can disturb you;
     

  • Such a place should be well lit (if there is not enough natural light, you need to think about a lamp);
     

  • Make sure that a device which you are going to use is fully charged (phone, tablet, laptop);
     

  • There is a fair chance that your meeting may last longer than planned. Make sure you have a power bank and a charger next to you;
     

  • Think of how to set up your phone or tablet (you may need, for example, a special stand);
     

  • Prepare in advance all the necessary accessoires, such as microphone and headphones;
     

  • Don’t forget about paper and pen

 

How do we look?

 

Even during online meetings, we need to pay due attention to our appearance: the impression will remain and it should be pleasant.

  • During the session you may need to get up, stretched leggings, for example, are unlikely to leave a good impression.
     

  • Psychologists have proven that the choice of clothes affects our internal state. If you are dressed appropriately for the meeting, your concentration and final result will be much higher.
     

  • Remember that a small pattern on your clothes (small cells or squares, thin strips) create ripples on the camera that are not pleasant to the eye. This may distract or even annoy people on the other side of the screen. It would be better to avoid such an effect.
     

  • Perform a certain ritual before your online meeting. This will give you additional vitality and will help to get into the working mood straightaway. It could be a cup of coffee or a few energizing exercises.

 

Mindset workout

 

No matter how challenging it may be to talk on camera, try to remember these tips:

  • Address the people on the other side of the screen, not the camera;
     

  • Be alert and involved: cohesion as well as detachment is felt at a distance just like when you are in the same conference room;
     

  • Be focused on the subject of conversation: online you can be contacted at any time and everyone will look at you;
     

  • You know your topic well, remember this. Try to do your best in order to deliver your topic to the audience. As much as possible, think over the plan; if you need additional information, find and study it; think over the questions that the audience may ask, how will you answer them? What will you do if you cannot answer right away?
     

  • Remember that the camera does not like fuss and sudden movements. The ability to relax is very important. If you have problems with this, it is better to work them out in advance.

 

Intonation and body language matter! 
 

And, finally, some tips to help you feel more confident when speaking in front of the camera:

 

  • Sit comfortably, straight, occupying the entire surface of the chair, and not its small part (you don’t want to make an irreparable effect by your fall). Place both legs on the floor, the angle at the knee is 90 degrees. In this way you will feel support, and therefore, confidence.
     

  • It is a common mistake to look at your own image on the screen. If you do this, your look turns out to be absent. Look straight at the camera, imagining that you talk directly to the people on the other side of the screen.
     

  • Do not hide your hands under the table. If your hands are visible, this creates a more complete picture.

 

Solutions that work

 

We are convinced that everyone can learn the art of speaking in front of the camera and enjoy all the bonuses this may bring: confidence; structure; well-developed beliefs; the ability to lead the audience and interact with it through different emotions; the ability to cope with fears and dependence on the opinions of others (what would they think about me?); ability to answer questions; not to lose career opportunities; credibility and deals.

 

 

In Gross Leadership we work with companies and individuals who are keen to turn any challenging situation into a new opportunity. Our clients choose, recommend us and come from such well-known companies as Credit Suisse, UBS, Novartis, Nestlé, GSK, IKEA, Swiss Re, ETH Zurich and others. We know how to help our clients to rediscover and reinvent themselves. We will be glad to see you among our customers.

 

You can get in touch with us via this website and find out what solution can we offer to treat your issue/s. You can get to know us and decide whether our approach suits your expectations. In our turn, we believe that we are capable of helping you achieve a desired result.

 

And what about you? Do you find online meetings more challenging or more relaxing than the regular ones? Do you experience any physical or emotional difficulties to behave naturally in front of the camera?

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players…”

 

(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)

 

We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!  

 

With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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