Up to 75% of the Population is Glossophobic - Why We Fear Public Speaking & How To Overcome It
From chairing an important business meeting to giving your debut public speaking presentation, the ability to talk confidently, eloquently and clearly is invaluable. But for people with Glassophobia, even the simplest of tasks can feel like they are standing on stage in front of thousands of expectant people. No matter the severity, the fear of talking can limit your professional opportunities.
What Is Glossophobia?
Broadly described as a social phobia, Glossophobia can be debilitating for people’s educational, personal and professional lives. As 75% of people suffer from Glossophobia, it is one of the most common phobias worldwide and has even warranted a more colloquial term - stage fright.
Though many may feel nervous before a speech, those with Glossophobia experience heightened symptoms that prevent them from not just giving a successful speech, but for some, even stepping on stage at all.
What Are Glossophobia Symptoms?
Glossophobia has the power to cause the fight or flight response, which raises the adrenaline levels in the body. Despite this, not all phobic symptoms are visible, as many manifest themselves in negative emotions. The following are visible and non-visible indications that someone is suffering from Glossophobia.
Internal Symptoms Of Glossophobia:
- Intense feelings of dread and despair
- Feeling unable to breathe
- Experiencing a dry mouth
- Having a dry mouth
External Symptoms Of Glossophobia:
- Trembling in their hands
- Speaking quietly or stuttering
- Verbal hesitations (“erm” or “like”)
- Being unable to project their voice
- Drinking lots of water
How To Overcome Glossophobia?
Treating and overcoming Glossophobia is a process that takes dedication, practice and time. One of the best ways to overcome your public speaking anxiety is to learn from the best, by witnessing an experienced speaker present live.
It is common for business owners whose employees need a boost of confidence to hire a professional speaker, as they can offer their strategies for giving a calm, eloquent speech. Whether your company is customer-facing or relies on landing delicate business deals, it is within a business owner's best interest to ensure their employees are confident enough to speak in front of a group.
How To Overcome Nervousness:
- Be prepared by knowing your material inside and out
- Practice, practice, practice - to the mirror, to your friends, aloud and in your head
- Video yourself practising so you can make improvements
- Research and understand your audience
- Slow down, even if you think you’re talking at the right pace
- Fight nerves by keeping yourself distracted
- Avoid a dry mouth by taking a glass of water
- Practice breathing methods to stay calm
- Back up your ideas with research from experts in the field
Why Do We Fear Public Speaking?
The fear of public speaking can be broken down into a number of different reasons, stemming from bad experiences to a predisposed anxious personality. Understanding the cause of the phobia can give you an insight into how to overcome it:
Not every presentation is the same, and neither is every public speaker. Though a physics lecturer is most likely intellectual, they may stumble at the first hurdle when giving a speech on literature.
Take into account how confident you are with the topic, as the root of your fear may not be self-esteem, but a lack of knowledge. Speaking in front of an audience of business directors, sharing new ideas, talking in front of strangers and your knowledge of a topic, are all factors that can trigger Glossophobia.
Public speakers aren’t born experts, they have spent years building experience and knowledge of how to give the best speech. If you are new to the circuit, your Glossophobia could be a reflection of your lacking experience, especially if your first few presentations were met with a lukewarm response.
You most likely won’t receive a standing ovation for your first presentation, but by the 5th, 10th or 100th, you are more likely to be a pro. Tackle Glossophobia by developing the skills needed for public speaking and growing your confidence, speech by speech.