Speak now or…

March 16, 2016By Views


By Dave Wendland for Drug Store News

February 16, 2016

For those who know me well or may have attended an event for which I have moderated a panel (e.g., Drug Store News – Chronic Care & Retail Health), delivered a keynote address, participated as a panelist, or facilitated a brainstorming discussion, they likely recognize that I’m quite comfortable on stage — some may even call me a “natural.”

Connecting with others through public speaking is a key skill in today’s competitive, fast-paced business climate; however, for many, the fear of public speaking is more dreadful than death itself. The portrayal of King George VI’s ultimate triumph over public speaking fears, and his winning over his constituents in the acclaimed movie, “The King’s Speech,” demonstrates the power of articulate, confident communication skills.

My son, a second semester college freshman, currently has a course focused on public speaking for business professionals. Over the winter break he and I discussed the process I personally go through preparing for presentation. His appreciation for my ability to think on my feet, articulate a particular topic, command audience attention, and stay on point has certainly increased. It was my suggestion to him to observe speakers of all types (business leaders, politicians, professors, television commentators, and watch a number of TED Talks). It is through observation and eventual emulation that his courage and confidence will be bolstered.

The fear of public speaking is expressed as glossophobia which comes from the Greek glōssa, meaning tongue, and phobos, fear or dread. My son’s textbook described glossophobia as intense anxiety prior to, or simply at the thought of having to verbally communicate to a group. People who suffer from this intense fear tend to freeze in front of any audience. They find their mouth dries up, their voice is weak, and their body starts shaking. They may even sweat, go red, and feel their heart thumping rapidly. And it may surprise you to learn that an estimated 75% of all public speakers have some degree of glossophobia.

To facilitate their executives commanding a room’s attention, I believe it is a responsibility of a company to increase their competency with public speaking training. And not dissimilar to first impressions within a retail setting, audiences form an impression of the speaker’s ability within the first seven seconds. Therefore, investing in leaders should not be optional and I believe it helps make an organization strong.