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I have no idea what the psychological cause of my glossophobia was (that’s the term for the fear of public speaking), because in high school I had no problem getting up in front of my friends.
Coming close to my turn, all the classic phobia signs of not being in my comfort zone materialized. Five years later, after hiding from every chance of public speaking, I landed in the police academy with the same secret baggage. He worked with me to make a ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ presentation to the troop and it was life-changing – not just for me – but for many other rookies who suffered from the same phobia and were thinking exactly as I was. Over the years I’ve had nervous setbacks but never a humiliating loss of control, though it’s come shakingly close. In my career as a homicide detective I’ve been on the witness stand in front of a jury and a crowded courtroom many times – once for five days straight. This afternoon, I’m doing an hour-long internet podcast on causes of death and, this September, I’m presenting the biggest in-person speech of my lifetime at the International Conference on Forensic Research and Technology in Atlanta on the evidence in the JFK Assassination.
This entry was posted in Life & Death and tagged Confidence, Effective Presentation, Fear, Glossophobia, Public Speaking, Speeches, Stage Fright on January 31, 2015 by Garry Rodgers. But the funny thing was, I found that the more I did it, the shorter the duration of my pre-terror. ABOUT MEI’m a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police homicide detective and forensic coroner. Neuroscientists recently determined just how courage works in the brain, finding that a region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) is the driving force behind courageous acts -- a conclusion which could one day prove useful in treating anxiety disorders. Below, six tried-and-true ways to loosen the grip of fear on your life -- and become more courageous than you ever imagined. The groundbreaking work of Brene Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work and author of the best-selling Daring Greatly, has found that the belief in our own unworthiness drives us to live fear-based lives. It's difficult to conquer your fears if you're unable to be honest with yourself in the first place about what exactly those fears are. Marc Taylor, a psychologist for the US Navy, conducted research on Olympic athletes to see what kind of positivity tactics they employed (like repeating positive affirmations) and how this affected their performance. Exercise and meditation both have the power to lower stress levels and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, which could help you to act more courageously in the face of challenges.


But there was a time that I was absolutely shit-scared of opening my yap in front of a group larger than four… maybe five at the most.
The instructor tried to prompt me, but all I could muster was some pathetic excuse that I didn’t have glasses and I couldn’t read the words. I finally confided in my troop-counsellor who told me that pretty much everyone goes through this. That’s public speaking on steroids - like being stripped naked and tied to the fountain-clock in a shopping mall. There’ll be three to four hundred in that crowd with far, far more forensic accreditations than I’ll ever have. Pressing on your solar plexus triggers a relaxation in the central nervous system and it looks totally natural. I also served as a sniper on British SAS-trained Emergency Response Teams, so I’ve got a bit of experience around life and death.
Other recent research on courage, which has shown that's it's not just about facing fear, but also about coping with risk and uncertainty (as Ernest Hemingway put it, courage is "grace under pressure.") And, it seems, we can make ourselves more courageous with practice and effort. We are afraid of letting people see who we really are and potentially exposing ourselves, so we avoid the one thing that can make us more courageous: vulnerability. Research has found that acting courageously requires an understanding of one's own anxieties and limitations -- denial of fear does not support courageous action -- and then choosing to work through them. And it's true: One of the most effective ways to banish fear is to repeatedly force yourself to face what you're afraid of. Taylor found that athletes who practiced visualizations and positive self-affirmations were better able to cope with the pressures of high-level competition and were more likely to succeed, Psychology Today reports. Feelings of stress are generally rooted in a fear of an imagined physical or emotional threat (not being able to meet a deadline, or fear of failure, for instance), and stress can contribute to negative feelings like depression and anxiety that in turn can contribute to fear-based thinking. Aristotle, the ancient philosopher who focused most on courage, said that we develop courage by performing courageous acts. And I bet that you get at least butterflies, maybe trembles, or probably the runs before making a presentation.
It was triggered in my first class with strangers where I simply had to do an around-the-room read from a script.


The class moved along but I regressed – spiraling down to a dismal lack of self-confidence.
I would’ve sooner stood-in for a range target than speak before thirty-one other recruits – even though they were now my friends. As a coroner I’ve done inquests and, as a writer, I’ve done radio and TV interviews reaching over a hundred thousand. Each time, I would pretty much have a stomach upset from the time I knew I had to do it until the time that it was over.
What I wasn’t counting on was that they would expect me to learn to preach, even though I never intended to become a minister! Practising speaking, often off-the-cuff, week after week around people you get to know, helps to give a level of immunity to the fear. Now I’m an Amazon Top 10 Best-Selling Crime Writer and Blogger here and with The Huffington Post. I want to provoke your thoughts and I’d like to help you with your writing.
Today, it's one of the more neglected areas of positive psychology, but recent research has begun to move toward an understanding of what courage is and how we might be able to cultivate the ability to face our fear and make decisions with greater fortitude. Courage and vulnerability are closely aligned, says Brown, and the two qualities can greatly improve our lives.
Research has found that this repeated exposure lowers the psychological fear response until it is more manageable or in some cases gone.
Recent psychological research also suggests that courage is an ethical habit that we develop by repeatedly practicing acts of bravery, according to psychologist Ben Dean. Maybe you’ll even go to extreme lengths to avoid public speaking like I did such as faking illness, manipulating others to cover for you, and flat-out running away. Practicing giving talk in front of groups will help bolster your courage when faced with speaking engagements of any size. Then a total breakdown in confidence and wide-eyed terror – visualizing that I was about to be publicly humiliated in front of all these strangers.




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fear of public speaking medical term



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