Glossophobia

“But you are on TV every day, why are you so nervous?”

I thought for a second and then said, “When I talk, I see one camera and one person.  This is much different.  Much different.”

It was 2004 and I was getting ready to talk to a corporate meeting at a downtown hotel in front of about 3,000 people.  I was scared to death.

Scared to death.

I was suffering from Glossophobia.

The fear of public speaking.

Looking into a camera and talking is one thing, but having several thousand people, who basically have no clue who you are, is a different animal altogether.

Here is the advice someone always gives when they ask about public speaking.

In pictures.

naked-audience

The old, ‘picture your audience in their underwear,’ and you will be fine.

Have you ever pictured an insurance seminar in their underwear?

Exactly.

Doesn’t work.

Then advice from someone else, in pictures.

screaming

A friend said, just become a raging lunatic, laughing hysterically at your own jokes and make everyone feel uncomfortable.

Huh?

Wednesday, I will go speak to a Rotary group in Nashville.  I am fine with public speaking now, I have it down to a science.

I learned by watching others fail miserably. Here are a few examples.

  • Was third in line to speak to a Kindergarten class one day.  Like 4 classes at once, about 100 kids.  Ahead of me, a gardener and an area businessman.  The kids lost interest in 30 seconds listening to these two drone on about their businesses.  The teacher wanted me to talk about being on TV.  You know who else is on TV?  Spongebob.  I spent 10 minutes talking about Spongebob.  The kids were eating out of my hand by the end. 

 

  • Another time, a speaker in front of me, about a minute into his speech, got tongue tied and literally shut down.  Stood there silent for about 3 minutes.  Then he picked up his notes and walked out.  Yes, I laughed.  And you would have too.

 

  • Speaking to a journalism class at MTSU, the speaker in front of me was about 5 minutes into a very boring talk when someone fell asleep.  He called this person out and said, ‘you will wake up and listen to me, or you can leave.!’  Student got up and walked out.  10 minutes into this guy’s speech, I wish I had walked out as well.

 

  • My favorite worst TV moment was at a restaurant and the manager, off camera, told me about all the great things that were going on at his store and they had a special event coming up and he was just so giddy and full of life.  I thought, ‘this will be fun, he is energetic, it is morning TV, this guy is perfect.’  Wrong.  As I went to him and did the introduction, he shut down.  Literally, shut down.  Deer in the headlights look.

Deer in Headlights_800

 

  • It was the worst moment I had interviewing someone on TV.  He started sweating profusely, mumbling, stuttering, and remember, this was a 3 minute segment,  I still had 2 plus minutes to fill.  As I started to describe what was going on, he was next to me, on his phone, telling his wife how horrible he was.  So here I am, talking about this event, which I knew very little about and he is next to me, on his phone, telling his wife, loudly, on how bad he was.  It was one of the most surreal things ever.

So I will go speak today, to about 5o people or so, with the comfort and knowledge of knowing, when things go bad, just mumble or leave.

But never, ever, let them see you sweat!  Hey, that might be a good commercial.

@BIGJOEONTHEGO

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