PERSPECTIVE: How to Gloss over Your Glossophobia; If the Thought of Public Speaking Leaves You Tongue-Tied, You Might Be Suffering from Glossophobia - the Fear of Public Speaking. but Don't Panic - There's Help at Hand

Article excerpt

Solid public speaking skills are more important now than ever before.

In the modern workplace, the ability to communicate effectively in front of a group is absolutely essential. The ever increasing requirement for effective presentations is putting growing pressure on employees - who may not have all the skills needed at their fingertips.

Making an impact at meetings requires a different set of skills; effective listening is key, as is the ability to think on your feet and say your piece clearly and succinctly.

For many, speaking in front of an audience - any audience - can generate feelings of anxiety and fear, often days or even weeks before an event is due.

One of the best ways to develop these skills, along with confidence in public speaking, is to join a public speaking club. A goodclub will provide regular opportunities to speak in front of a supportive audience and receive useful feedback.

Skills you can learn include tailoring your speech for specific audiences, engaging your audience, using words effectively, handling visual aids, demonstrating positive body language - and much more.

Frances Day, training consultant for The Training Foundation and Institute of IT Training, is a founder member of Birmingham's Heart of England Speakers club - part of the Toastmasters International public speaking organisation - and an experienced public speaker in her own right.

She said: 'I like the fact that there are people that are better than me in the club. That raises the bar in terms of skills I can acquire and goals I can aim for. No matter how good anyone is, there's always room for improvement.

'I also enjoy watching people progress. Often people arrive with little or no speaking experience - it's wonderful to see them develop. …