Book of the month: Goodbye Glossophobia – A guide to banish your fear of public speaking

Public speaking advisor Esther Stanhope advises her audience on effective communication and how to succeed in your job in her thought-provoking self-help book, Goodbye Glossophobia – A guide to banish your fear of public speaking.

It is certain that everyone has had to speak in front of a group at some point in their life. Whether this is in front of ten or ten thousand people, it can be equally terrifying for everyone. I’m sure almost everyone has had a moment whilst on stage, you gaze out across the audience and become engulfed by the fact that hundreds of pairs of eyes are fixed on you. Overwhelmed, you then begin to stumble, your speech is ruined, and you’re humiliated. Stanhope’s polished information guide provides a clear insight into not only why we have such a fear of public speaking, but also what we can do to (as she puts it) ‘own’ our fears and transform into much more confident public speakers.

An interesting read, this guide is packed full of handy tips, photos and diagrams. Stanhope emphasises the essential components of an effective speech, as well as how to manage an audience and keep them engaged. However, her tips are no ‘imagine the audience naked.’ Outlining the key aspects of a ‘content chunk,’ Stanhope educates the audience on how they must start off their speech with a snappy phrase to intrigue the reader- the ‘ten second rule’- to ensure that the speech is as effective as possible.

As a professional, Stanhope goes into detail of some of the times where herself and others haven’t effectively given a talk, sharing some hideously embarrassing stories with the reader. Vividly telling the story of the time she was giving a talk on the technology used in her position as ‘Head of Programmes’ for a Tv channel to a group of young people, Stanhope states how she was ‘choked’ by nerves and the meaning of her speech was ‘lost in a sea of anxiety.’ Her relatable stories and tone allow the reader to feel more at home with their insecurities in public speaking as they teach that it is very normal and common to be fearful of such high-pressure environments.

Despite her useful tips and easy-to-read format, Stanhope’s book also presents some clear flaws. As somebody who is terrified of public speaking, I felt that the book leaves you waiting for a revelation that never comes- Stanhope builds up her idea of how she has helped so many people overcome their fear without actually stating how she has done so. Although there are handy tips and segments on how to speak in front of an audience, they are mostly centred around how to deliver a speech well, rather than how to calm your nerves before a big speech.

Although the book may be more focused on body language and making a speech interesting as opposed to actual advice on how to overcome glossophobia, it remains an incredibly effective guide to delivering a speech effectively and succeeding in workplace conversations. I would certainly recommend it for somebody who is struggling to put together a speech effectively, as Stanhope’s easy-to-read book is the perfect guide for public speaking.

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