The term came from
the Greek words “glossa” and
“phobos.” “Glossa” means “tongue
or language,” and “phobos” is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. It’s estimated that 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety,
making it one of the most common phobias that exist(Schwerty,2014). It’s said
that fear of public speaking (‘Glossophobia’)
is the No. 1 fear in America and fear of death is No. 2. ‘Glossophobia’ is faced by students as
most of the school going students are not aware of the term ‘Glossophobia’. In most of the school
students do not like to take part in extra curriculum activities where they
have to give presentation. They always try to avoid it and thus they face
problem in their first stage of university life while giving presentations. According
to Barbara Fish, M.Ed., ‘the fear
may happen in the classroom where the student prays that the teacher doesn’t
call on him to answer a question’ (‘Glossophobia’).
Greeks at first developed the art of speaking in public. Greek oration is known
from the works of classical antiquity. When the Greek orators spoke, a
representative spoke on behalf of them. It could be a client or a constituency.
So the citizens who wished to succeed had to learn the techniques of public speaking
(K.K). Roman orators copied and modified Greek techniques of public speaking.
Early training in public speaking took place in ancient Egypt. The Greek
oratory which was written over 2000 years ago showed about the experiences
about the orators of the ancient Greek. In Greece and Rome, the main component
of public speaking was the composition and speech delivery.
With the rise of scientific method, there came changes on the writing and
speaking skills. There came changes all in the ways of speaking and writing
skills. If someone is not good at speaking, it might break his or her dream to
become successful. Most of the renowned personalities like Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Marcus
Garvey, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton all have problem while speaking in
public and later they were able to improve their lacking and so advanced their
careers in large part due to their skills in oratory. There are two important aspects of public
speaking 1. Language and 2. Rhetoric. Having knowledge and understanding of the
use and purpose of communication can help to make a more effective speaker
communicate their message in an effectual way.
“According to most studies, people’s number one
fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two.
Overcoming a fear of public speaking begins by asking yourself what
exactly you are afraid of. Is it the words not coming out, forgetting what you
have to say, having someone in the audience who knows more than you do, or the
presentation being so bad and embarrassing that your social and career
relationships will be ruined forever? But it is true that each of these
which is not good at all. And recognizing this improbability is the first step
we can do so solve ‘Glossophobia’. If
we can identify our own problem by yourselves, it will be better for us to
overcome it. The truth is that dealing with speaker anxiety is one of the
toughest things anyone can deal with. Again the students can improve their
conditions by preparing themselves for presentations by following some of the
following steps. Like by learning as much as about their topic, find out who
would be their audience, practice more and more, anticipate questions audience
may ask, dress well but comfortably, keep a glass of water, stop telling that
they are nervous, find some friendly faces in the audience, speak slowly. By
pursuing the steps they can improve their fear of public speaking and also give
their best in their presentations.
To solve ‘Glossophobia’, we
take medicines to cure it. We can see that this is no new
problem. There have been hundreds of studies on this topic and there are
organizations, such as Toastmasters International and International Training in
Communication, which provide training and courses in public speaking to help to
reduce the fear. Unfortunately, no such ‘professional’ institutes are present
in Bangladesh and a great deal needs to be done in this regard.