Any guesses as to what glossophobia means? If you guessed the fear of public speaking, then you either read the title of this blog post and put two and two together, or you’re one of the 74% of people on this planet that suffer from speech anxiety. I get it; public speaking is a huge responsibility. As a speaker, it’s your job to share knowledge, inspire and influence others, and that’s a hard enough task in smaller social settings, much less large conferences or board meetings. 

If you’re part of the population who fears public speaking, you’re not alone. If I’m being truthful, public speaking made me nervous for a long time. Some people make speeches look effortless, but I was not one of those people. Nonetheless, between my role at Medix and coaching, I found myself in more situations that required some aspect of public speaking, and so I knew this obstacle was something I would eventually need to overcome. 

I looked into countless options to aid me in being more comfortable with public speaking, but one book, in particular, was the guide that changed my speeches forever. I’ve since read this book more than a handful of times, and I’ve actually listened to the author speak about his book on many separate occasions. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Harry Kraemer’s, The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership. I won’t go into extensive detail on the principles because truthfully you should read the book; it’s incredible. But if you need a quick synopsis, it discusses each of the following four principles. 

  1. Self-Reflection: The ability to reflect and identify what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most.
  2. Balance and Perspective: The ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, including differing viewpoints, to gain a holistic understanding.
  3. True Self-Confidence: More than mastery of certain skills, true self-confidence enables you to accept yourself as you are, recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement.
  4. Genuine Humility: The ability never to forget who you are, to appreciate the value of each person in the organization, and to treat everyone respectfully.

By adapting and leaning into each of these four principles, it allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and to be more genuine when public speaking. When it comes down to it, these principles ease my mind and are always something I recall and reflect on when preparing my speeches for various events. 

There is an overwhelming number of resources out there to help those struggling with speech anxiety, but I strongly encourage you to begin your journey with this book. I also encourage you to lean on those you trust to help and support you, and before you know it you’ll be an old pro at public speaking!