News & Notices

Tongue Tied?

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Did you know that 85% of Americans have some form of glossophobia? Gloss o what you ask? Glossophobia translated means the “fear of the tongue”. How many times have we been plagued with anxiety, usually in some situation where we need to be performing at our best, and our tongue gets tied up in knots; tongue tied. We stutter our way through and our anxiety peaks due to our disastrous performance. No wonder we don’t like this stuff. Isn’t it nice to know you are not alone in your plight!

Most people have a strong resistance to speaking in front of others, whether it be actually presenting to an audience, talking on a call, or even giving an informative webinar. It doesn’t even matter to most of us if there are no bodies standing in front of us, anxiety still overtakes our mental and physical worlds when we need to open our mouths. So if this happens to you I have some tips that can help you regain your power and speak to those who want to hear what you have to say.

There are multiple strategies to help you manage your glossophobia, but don’t take my word try some out and see which ones work best for you. My personal favorite is exercising before I have to speak, such as swimming or running earlier in the day. This relaxes the muscles, calms your breathing, oxygenates your cells and gives you a healthy perspective on what is to come. How about a few minutes of jump rope out in the parking lot or a quick walk around the block before you have to speak? It can be short and can still make a huge difference in your speaking perspective.

Another great technique is positive visualization. This is practicing your presentation in your mind’s eye all the way through, like a dress rehearsal in your mind. Athletes, dancers, actors, musicians and others use this technique to help go through the moves in their heads to know what to do next and see themselves giving a perfect performance. It can be done anywhere, can build confidence, and no one needs to know you are practicing, as it is all done inside your own head.

Usually when we are anxious our mind is going a mile a minute and filling our heads with less than helpful self-talk. It can be very helpful to come up with a personal mantra or affirmation that you can say again and again to help drown out the negative statements your mind is sending you. They are even more powerful if you believe these affirmations and know you will come out of the situation alive! Something as simple as “I am perfectly poised and confident that my message will be well received”. This can also help you warm up your voice and speak out loud. Along these lines some like to recite tongue twisters to help them focus and get warmed up for speaking, which can also help take your mind off of being nervous.

Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and tai chi can also help some calm the body and mind down and focus on something peaceful. Practicing mindful breathing is a great technique to help alleviate stress, bring oxygen to the body, and slow down anxiety. I play the ukulele so I find that if I play a song or two, I can warm up my voice, relax and let the music work its magic. So if you like to play an instrument or sing or do a quick dance, these are all things you could do in a short time if you have the space and privacy before you need to talk.

To come up with a strategy that can work for you start asking yourself “What do I do to calm myself in stressful situations?” How do I prepare for a job interview, a sports competition, or medical procedure? Glossophobia doesn’t have to debilitate us if we can find steps that can help us focus our minds, calm our bodies, and keep our tongue from getting tied in knots.

Your words permeate your world!