KUWAIT: A number of candidates contesting parliamentary elections on November 26th have had their fair share of verbal blunders over the years, which often induce feelings of sheer anxiety and embarrassment. These verbal errors have prompted many candidates to restart their speeches or shy away from speaking to the media out of fear of falling into one. Many of these candidates have fallen victim to these verbal blunders, only for social media to thrust them into public spotlight.

Moreover, many candidates eschew addressing large rallies on grounds that a simple verbal error could end up costing them a much coveted seat in parliament.

Meanwhile, Arab folklore is dotted with sayings that point to these verbal screw-ups, however, humans are habitually susceptible to these errors in everyday conversations, which induce a lingering sense of discomfort. Verbal blunders are the result of various reasons, including feelings of anxiety, or simply, lack of preparedness, eloquence or political knowhow on the part of candidates.

In an attempt to uncover the reasons for these mishaps and ways to avoid them, Lebanese psychologist Layla Shahroor, noted that public speaking can crank up adrenaline, subsequently, resulting in incoherency when speaking or answering questions. Shahroor said that election candidates are the most vulnerable to verbal errors in their attempt to convey their message to the audience.

On ways to overcome these “embarrassing situations”, she advised candidates to rely on body language to keep fear and nervousness at bay. Dishing out more sage advice on how to avert these mistakes, Shahroor said that candidates should get into the habit of inhaling and exhaling at least five times a day, in addition to always keeping eye contact with the audience.

“Body language has a 93% success rate of delivering the candidates’ message, as opposed to verbal language,” she revealed. Furthermore, she also encouraged all public speakers to be confident when addressing the masses, noting that unnecessary hand gestures could give the audience an impression of “hostility and violence.”

According to the latest psychological research, the first step to get rid of nervousness and fear is to actually be cognizant of its existence, which will go a long way to boost confidence and overcome stage fright, the renowned psychologist added. She also underscored the need of constant practice to ensure a blemish-free performance. — Kuna