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The one about glossophobia

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Among the various commissions and projects I am working on at the moment, I am busy preparing to speak at a conference at The British Library next month.


The British Library! What an incredible venue. (I am not worthy.) If you’re ever in NW1, it’s definitely a place to while away some time. It’s home to something in the region of 200 million items (not just books), with space for 1200 readers, some fantastic exhibitions and events – and all housed in a truly architecturally stunning building. I’m really looking forward to visiting!


Sadly I’m not going to have much time to browse, as I am up first on the Access to HE Annual Conference agenda, which this year focuses on all things digital. I will be speaking on the subject of social media, and how those working in the sector can harness its power to better connect with their audiences.


And I’ve just realised - this is my first speaking gig since I started up Marketing Girl Friday earlier this year! However - it was the mainstay of my work when I was based in Somerset operating as the Schools Marketing Whisperer – a small consultancy which took me all over the country training school staff in various marketing methods and techniques.


So to say I might have a little stage fright edging in is possibly the understatement of the year. Isn’t public-speaking meant to be up there as one of folk’s top fears? Also known as – wait for it – Glossophobia. It has a name!! And the only way to overcome Fear Of Public Speaking (or FOPS as I fondly refer to it), is like most things - stop whinging and just get on with it.


I discovered early on when I started presenting, it’s pretty much all in the preparation. I start preparing a month ahead – do my research, get my supporting materials together and work out what I’m going to say. And I rehearse it. Mainly to check it works from a timing and ‘flow’ perspective, but also simply to get the words into my brain. And this also helps me realise – I do know what I’m talking about, and actually it sounds ok!


The first time I did this was some years ago and I was beyond petrified at the prospect. So I rehearsed in my living room at home, with only the cats as my audience. I recall very clearly, one cat falling asleep and snoring loudly throughout (no surprises there), two cats walking off at the earliest opportunity (please don’t let that happen with the British Library delegates) and the last cat – well, she threw up.


Tough audience.


And I often think back to that and muse – well, if the worst thing that happens is that someone nods off (not me, hopefully), or someone does a runner (come to think of it, that did happen once) or someone pukes everywhere – it’s really not the end of the world.


Time to test that theory... will keep you posted!

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