glossowebinaphobiaBy: Wayne Turmel

Do you suffer from Glossowebinaphobia? You might, but probably don’t know it because it’s a completely made-up word. It comes from two existing words: Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, and webinar…which means, well, a webinar. Glossowebinaphobia, then, is the fear of speaking during webinars. Does that help?

If you are a fellow sufferer, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that over 75% of adults have some degree of fear when speaking in public.  A large number of folks, even good public speakers, express trepidation when presenting online. It actually makes sense.

Why would people struggle with something like this? Well, here are some good reasons:

You’ve taken something people are already nervous about and made it even more complicated. Let’s take a simple example. If you’ve ever taken a golf lesson, you know that the first thing that happens when you are asked to change your grip or stand differently is your game goes immediately to pot. Our brains struggle to sync our existing skill set with the new skill. When it’s something like public speaking, where we’re uncomfortable to start with, it can be incredibly stressful.

You don’t get all the feedback and subtle cues that allow you to relax and concentrate. When we speak to a group we see smiling faces and nods, we hear laughter and applause, and even looks of confusion. These non-verbal cues from the audience help us relax, adjust our presentation on the fly, and connect with our listeners. On a webinar, we often have no visual or vocal cues that our audience is even there. That lack of feedback is very disconcerting.

Most of us have had terrible experiences as webinar audiences, and we don’t know that they don’t have to stink. According to WebEx, over 75% of people who present using online tools do so for the first time with innocent victims on the other end. If we’ve struggled through long, boring, droning webinars, and haven’t received any training or coaching on how to make them better, we are beaten before we even get started. If your attitude is “This is going to be awful, let’s get it over with,” how successful can you be?

 You CAN overcome Glossowebinaphobia with these simple strategies:

Sit in and observe a well-run, interactive and engaging webinars.  One of the biggest factors in successfully adopting any technology is to see it used successfully in context.

Get hands-on practice before going in front of an audience.  Our experience is it takes about five or six times using a tool before your brain allows you to quit panicking and concentrate on what’s really important. Oh, and practice does not mean flipping through your PowerPoint muttering to yourself. It means going online with the platform and, if possible, having a real person available to give you feedback.

Don’t forget everything you already know about effective presenting. You know you should check with your audience frequently….. are you planning for that interaction in your online presentation? Are you using tools like polling, chat, and open microphones to engage your audience?

Most of us will never be completely comfortable presenting online…. But it doesn’t have to be traumatic for you or your audience.

If you want more help overcoming Glossowebinaphobia, visit us at Remote Leadership Institute, for interactive courses like Leading Effective Virtual Meetings, Lync/Skype for Business and Web Presentation Basics, or put it all together in our Remote Leadership Certificate Series.

About the Author:

Wayne TurmelWayne Turmel has a long history as a presenter, trainer and is an expert in communication skills and management. Previously as the Director of Faculty for Communispond, Wayne has trained Fourtune 500 companies in Sales, Leadership and Presentation Skills. For the last eight years as the president of and the co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute, he’s been focused on teaching people how to use web-based presentation tools to do more than present, but to communicate and connect. His passion for the topic stems from his background, not as a technology buff, but as someone committed to helping people get the best out of their people and themselves no matter the medium.

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