Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or speaking in general.[1] The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread. Many people only have this fear, while others may also have social phobia or social anxiety disorder.
The [physical] symptoms include acute hearing, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, increased perspiration, increased oxygen intake, stiffening of neck/upper back muscles, and dry mouth.
The verbal symptoms include, but are not limited to a tense voice, a quivering voice, and vocalized pauses—which tend to comfort anxious speakers. 
By this definition, I am glossophic to some degree. You can read the full definition on wikipedia.

I am certainly prone to stomachache or maybe they are butterflies in my stomach, experience increased blood pressure and increased perspiration and get overly jittery before I have to make a presentation in front of a crowd. THREE is a crowd.

Quite frankly, I do not know what triggers this anxiety. Yes, I am an 'ESL' but there are others out there whose english is worst than me. I don't see them almost keeling over from...glossophobia. I believe it might be the fear of appearing as a complete idiot to my audience, but then again, I become the goofiest person around in a non formal (read, non public speaking or attention focusing) setting. 

Many people report stress-induced speech disorders which are only present during public speech. Some glossophobics have been able to dance, perform in public, or even to speak (such as in a play) or sing if they cannot see the audience, or if they feel that they are presenting a character or stage persona rather than themselves. Being able to blend in a group (as in a choir or band) can also alleviate some anxiety caused by glossophobia.
Estimated 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety/nervousness when public speaking.
That too is true. I have grown up performing on a weekly basis in front of an audience of strangers, and yes I get stage fright, but not even close to what I feel before I have to make a speech/presentation. People do not believe that it affects me that way, I am after all a seemingly normal person, with hyperactivity tendencies (according to my friends) and an outgoing demeanor. Just do not ask me to speak in a setting where people are all looking at me. And trust me, I have tried to picture all of them naked and it was not pretty in my head!

I accompanied a friend to his Toastmasters meeting last week, with the understanding that I would not have to speak. They asked the guests to introduce themselves at the beginning, which was expected and I kept it short, my name, who brought me here, and I just wanted to check it out, and then they went on with their normal agenda. At the end of the meeting though, they asked for guests' feedback, which came quite surprisingly to me. First, panic. Second, listen to what the other 2 guests are saying. Third, panic, it's my turn. What went through my mind then was the fact that the other 2 guests are well-spoken and articulate and I tried not to look like a complete idiot for my friend's sake. My first instinct was to refuse to talk, but he was looking at me directly with an arched eyebrow and I couldn't let him down! I am not sure if speaking was the right choice. I might have let him down by uttering whatever came through my mind, which was 'This was interesting...I did not think it would be so formal...I shall think about joining this meeting'.

Damn, I should be going to Toastmasters. But do I really want to put myself through that kind of torture every week? There's no doubt that it will benefit me, it is just up to me, to consciously decide to join a Toastmasters club and clench my teeth through all the 10 necessary speeches on the way to master the skill of public speaking. Come on now, where is my bravery when I need it?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Emotionally intelligent!

TD offers this course named Emotional Intelligence for Leadership Excellence and I had to take it last Tuesday.

The course was based on office interactions and it forced some self analysis.

Yes, we all know that we let our emotions take over and that we do not always think before we speak.
Yes, we all know that the best thing to do in those situations is to take a breather and walk away. 

But the things I take away from the course are the following:

1. Behaviour is driven by emotional needs which may be categorized into 5 groups: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. SCARF. In essence, people react badly when their status is threatened, or their sense of certainty is shaken, etc. Understanding someone's emotional driving need is essential in understanding why a person is behaving the way he/she does. And understanding your own driving need in these situations allow you to take a step back and accept that the intention might not have been to threaten you, although the impact might not reflect that intention.

2. There are early warning signs to 'emotional hijacking' and you could potentially stop yourself from being overwhelmed by your emotions and letting the situation slip away from control. The key is to recognize the default behaviour you have when the other person triggers negative reactions from you and to consciously take a mental break and reset before resuming the interaction.

3. There is a rule of 6 (or any other number you like) which could help you calm yourself down. It is to ask yourself if whatever is bothering you would matter in 6 secs? (chances are, it still would!) in 6 minutes? (Maybe not by then, although if it's big I might still be upset) in 6 hours? (Probably not if I have had a meal and ice-cream or something in these 6 hours) in 6 days? (Who can even remember what they did 6 days ago?!?!!?)....the rest really only proves the fact that most things are petty and we can easily get over it, although our emotions might not agree at that particular moment in time.

4. While self analyzing to find out the reason why I get so pissed off by some people at work, these are the things that irritate me the most:
- when people do not let others finish their sentences;
- when people do not hear my ideas;
- when people waste my time.
So coworkers take note! Don't do the above and we'll work just F.I.N.E together.