Glossophobia, the  abnormal fear of public speaking or trying to speak, comes from the Greek words:

  • γλῶσσα ~ glōssa, meaning tongue
  • φόβος ~ phobos, fear or dread

Speech anxiety is a real apprehension for many people. People are known to fear giving a speech before any group, even if it’s only two or three people “more than they fear snakes, spiders, heights, disease, and death.” (University of Central Florida)

There are many site pages devoted to helping a presenter put his or her best foot forward, because Speech Writing 101 is a very important class to take. This is regardless of one’s major. No matter what business anyone goes into; if you become a leader, you’ll be called upon to teach and/or present in that capacity.

Get prepared, so that when you do give your speech, you’ll not only be more at easy, but you’ll also do a thorough job. Consider all of the following:

  • First and foremost, what do you need to communicate?
  • Next, consider your audience.
    • What does your audience want to hear?
    • Who are they, because you’ll have to tailor how in depth you can go, depending on their level of already being informed?
  • Don’t memorize and don’t read.
    • Keep a short outline to stay on track, but don’t clog it with details.
    • Speak from your own personal learnings and experiences.
    • Inject humor wherever possible
    • Speak in concepts, not in memorized talking points.
  • Use body language.
    • Animation works, and helps you to relax.
    • Pretend you’re talking to a group of friends.
    • Don’t think about what you look like.
  • Take you time, but be aware of how much time you have.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect; no one is.

Speech writing 101 gives its students the following formula:

  • Tell them what you’ll be talking about
    • Hello, my name is (fill in the blank), and today I’m going to be tell you about blah, blah, and blah (the three most important take away points you need to make).
  • Tell them
    • Blah, blah, and blah.
  • Tell them what you’ve told them
    • So, in summarizing, I just told you about blah, blah, and blah.

To that I like to add:

  • Does anyone have any questions?

… Because there always will be questions at the end of any good presentation.

You not only want questions, because you can’t cover everything in the time you’re allotted, no doubt. But, even more important tot he point, you also want to know that you’ve inspired your audience to want more from you… That you’ve been not only informative, but also a bit entertaining, because using humor is known to be the best way to have people remember important points.

Writer Herb Gardner, who is best known for his Broadway hit “A Thousand Clowns,” made this point: “Once you get people laughing, they’re listening and you can tell them almost anything.”