So 23andMe, the DNA genetics testing and analysis service, sends me an email the other day with the subject: Your Fear of Public Speaking Report. Of course, I am intrigued. I own a speaker training firm and we help people with varying degrees of stage fright every day. I never gave genetics a second thought when it comes to this very real and very common personal challenge.
Most humans experience glossophobia at some point – even me. I speak publicly almost daily, have been a professional stage actor since I was a kid, and I am also the President and Founder of Ovation, a communications skills training firm. I’ve experienced the fear and butterflies many times. Not all the time. And, not crippling to the point that I can’t go on (except for one time in my early twenties when I had a bad panic attack and decided I needed to stay backstage and breathe deeply while the cast of my show sang a big group epic ballad without me). But did my genetics play a role in this temporary panic paralysis?
According to 23andMe, they “identified 802 genetic markers that are associated with a fear of public speaking. In addition to genetics, other factors like age, sex, and ancestry can also influence your chances.” They also published an informative blog about their research. Most notably stating, “genetics plays a small part in a person’s fear of public speaking.”
My take-away from the report, which I thought was fun, is that a fear of public speaking is a human condition, not just those of a specific lineage.
What’s the best news of all? Whether you get a loud, pounding heart every single time you need to speak, or if you only need to sit out of a group ballad every ten years or so, finding relief from your fear is doable. Learn to practice and implement some simple strategies productively. Very quickly, you’ll be breathing a bit easier.
Now I’m wondering, is entrepreneurship genetic?
Need a suggestion of where to find help to dry up those clammy hands before a presentation? Check out Ovation and our AI driven virtual speaker coaching platform Studio G.
Kerri Garbis is the Founder and CEO of Ovation and has trained hundreds of business professionals internationally throughout her career as a professional actress, entrepreneur and speaking coach. She is a Professional Speech Writer certified by the Professional Speechwriters Association, a Business Etiquette Expert, certified by The Emily Post Institute, an Emotional Intelligence Expert, certified by The Hay Group, and the exclusive speaker training partner for Meeting Planners International. Her dedication to dynamic, user-tailored content has helped ensure that every Ovation consultant delivers the highest level of client-focused professional training.