Conquering your fear of public speaking

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


THERE are about 300 kinds of mental disorders. The two most common mental disorders are depression and anxiety.

Anxiety disorder is a feeling of dread, an apprehension or fear of what will happen in the future. Sometimes it comes with somatic symptoms like sweating in an air-conditioned room.

A form of anxiety disorder is phobia which is a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation that results in a compelling desire to avoid it.

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One of the most common phobias is glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. In this phobia, one tends to freeze when standing in front of people, even just two persons. This can occur in a classroom, in a meeting or in a seminar. One’s mouth becomes dry, some people become red-faced and their bodies would shake. Some symptoms may include sweating, nausea, and panicking.

I recommend that one way to reduce this fear is to join the Toastmasters International, a world leader in communication and leadership development.

According to its website, its membership is 292,000-strong. These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 14,350 clubs in 122 countries that make up its global network of meeting locations.

I am a member of the Bacolod Square and Compass Toastmasters Club. We meet every 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at 7pm at L’Sea Dimsum. The meeting is a “learning by doing” kind of workshop.

We have many roles as a toastmaster that will be assigned during our meetings, one of these is to give a speech—impromptu or prepared. We develop one’s communication and leadership skills.

I invite you to join us. I assure you that your “investment” with Toastmasters will be worth your while. For more information about Toastmasters Club, please call 0942-480-0606, 0923-585-1935 or 0918-926-8624.

However, if the “fear of public speaking” is so intense and cannot be controlled, please call us at the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Bacolod at 433-8868, email at pmha_bacolod@yahoo.com.ph or this writer at jet.octaviano@gmail.com so we can help you.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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