Glossophobia

Just as with any skill, you ought to practice in order to get better. As with public speaking, you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations so that they won’t be so uncomfortable anymore. I do not know how exactly my stage fright came about, but I do remember my first case of a speech gone wrong in middle school. I always dreaded the presentation assignments for school, but it was not until last spring that I saw my potential in public speaking. During the Melvoin Ethics Symposium, I was a participant in an essay competition that included a presentation component. I thought I would be able to rely on PowerPoint for a visual aid, but just minutes beforehand I learned that it was a ten-minute speech rather than a presentation. As you can imagine, someone with public speaking fears, my anxiety went through the roof. Just before it was my turn I remembered the best advice I have gotten for public speaking, “do not be yourself”. I went up there with the mentality of being a Ted Talk speaker and delivered a solid speech that landed me second place. Afterward, I received compliments on public speaking, something I never would think to hear. Since then, I vowed to put myself into more competitive environments and uncomfortable situations to further improve. I would advise to just put yourself out there - outside your comfort zone - and yes, do not be yourself at least until you find your style and become acclimated to the spotlight.