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Last Updated: Dec 26, 2020
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Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

About Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment How to Overcome from Fear of Public Speaking? Additional Information
Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Glossophobia?

Glossophobia, fear of public speaking, is one of the most common phobias out there. It is said that 75% of the world’s population is affected by this phobia at some point in their lives. There are people who start feeling nervous or anxious even with a thought of public speaking. The others might go in full panic mode even when they’re asked to speak in public.

Therefore, they avoid not only public speaking but also general interaction with people around them. Even a handshake becomes a work of struggle for them.

Symptoms of Glossophobia

Let’s take a general example, let’s say a person with glossophobia is speaking in front of an audience. The person will feel extremely nervous but at the same time, they will have to hide their fear. Their mind tries to protect them from the external threats and pushes them to act bravely in the situation.

Your brain produces adrenaline and steroids when it feels like you’re under a threatening situation. That increases the blood sugar levels, your energy levels and your heart rate as well.

When in front of public one might feel:

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Fear and Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension
  • Urge to leave the place
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth
  • Heavy Breathing
  • Increased Blood Pressure

Causes of Glossophobia

Although the increased blood sugar, energy level and adrenaline help in extreme conditions, being in front of an audience is not one of them. You should be prepared for these kinds of situations differently.

Many people who have glossophobia are not always because of the public but of being judged by them. They might have had an unpleasant experience during a class submission or any performance on the stage.

Although it is also a proven fact that phobias are generally hereditary but in case of Glossophobia, the science behind it is not clear yet.

Diagnosis of Glossophobia :

Your doctor or therapist will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose the symptoms that you have. Glossophobia is a type of social phobia, hence the guidelines suggested for social phobia will come handy while the diagnosis of glossophobia.

If the patient shows a few of the symptoms mentioned above that lies around the guidelines; then the doctor might conclude the diagnosis as glossophobia.

How to Treat Glossophobia Feeling?

If you do feel extreme pressure and fear about speaking in public then we wouldd suggest you visit your doctor soon. Your doctor will recommend you to a specialist for the targeted treatment plan.

These are the available treatment options:

  • Psychotherapy :

    In psychotherapy, your therapist will explore years of your age to figure out what exactly triggers the fear of public speaking in you. The reasons could be like an embarrassing incident during a public performance, maybe you were mocked in your school or something like that.

    In psychotherapy, your doctor will try to modify your negative thoughts around the situation and turn them into something neutral or positive.

    Once your therapist figures out the underlying problem about your situation, he or she will then proceed accordingly. They might suggest you exposure therapy as well. In exposure therapy (also a part of psychotherapy) a person is exposed to the situation that fears them the most under a controlled environment.

    Your doctor can start with some small support groups. In front of a little group of people or something similar to that. When you’ll be able to NOT fear talking in those little groups, you will be told to start talking in front of the bigger ones.

  • Medication:

    In a few cases of extreme fears, your doctor might suggest a few medications to relieve the symptoms. Medications are just to control your symptoms; they're never a solution to the phobias.

How to Overcome from Fear of Public Speaking?

Although the first priority of yours should be to seek the help of a therapist. But, living with glossophobia can still be a task. Here are a few suggestions that can make your life easier:

  • Prepare well for the meetings that you can’t just avoid. You will feel a little less fear when you’re confident about your stuff. Focus the most on the smooth introduction, this is where the person is most nervous.
  • Practice for public speaking, practice your material and rehearse as many times as you can.
  • Stand in front of a mirror to practice or may record it for better understanding of your content and body language.

Other strategies for overcoming Glossophobia:

There are some strategies that you can use in combination with tradition or on their own. For example, you may find it beneficial to take the public speaking class or workshop. Many are developed for people who have glossophobia.

Here are some other tips to help you navigate public speaking situations:

  • In preparation:
    • Know your material: This doesn’t mean you should memorize your presentation, but you should know what you want to say and have an outline of the key points. Give focus to the introduction, because this is when you are likely to be most nervous.
    • Script your presentation: And rehearse it until you have it down cold. Then throw away the script.
    • Practice often: You should continue practicing until you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say. Then practice more. Your confidence will increase as you realize that you know what you’re going to say.
    • Make a video of your presentation: You can note if changes are needed. And you may be pleasantly surprised at how authoritative you look and sound.
    • Work audience questions into your routine: Note down a list of questions you might be asked and be prepared to answer them, when appropriate, plan to involve the audience in your presentation by asking questions.
  • Prepare before presentation: If possible, practice your material one last time before heading out to give your presentation. You should also avoid food or caffeine before speaking.
  • During your presentation: Keep in mind that 40 % of the audience fears public speaking, too. There’s no need to apologize for being nervous. Instead, do your best to accept that stress is normal and use it to be more alert and energetic.

Smile and make eye contact with any audience members you encounter. Take advantage of any opportunity to spend a few moments chatting with them.

Additional Information on Glossophobia

Glossophobia is a type of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), it is not SAD though. People often confuse between SAD and glossophobia. Anxiety disorders are something that goes beyond the scope of triggers, for many people it is a part of their daily lives.

It is not something momentary but something that they live with, for example, if a person has a fear of public speaking, they don’t go out in the public as they might have to speak in front of a group.

Although anxiety disorders like glossophobia are not harmful and can be gotten over easily. But if the right efforts are not put they can get worse over time and disrupt the lifestyle of the affected person.

Popular Questions & Answers

What should I do to overcome glossophobia and how much time to taken this for treatment?

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear user. Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. This is part of general anxiety disorder. There should some other anxiety problems, you are facing. We need to find those and cure all of those anx...
1 person found this helpful

I have glossophobia because when I give a speech on stage I scared so can I use Propranolol.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear user. Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. Various treatment options are available to treat glossophobia. Certain drugs such as beta blockers may be used to help people relax before speaking...
1 person found this helpful

Hi Its been 4 years I am suffering from social anxity I am on medication from last one year. These midicne keep me calm and relax but my main issue is communication. It is not improving. I have tried my best but I still face issue in communication. I always feel gap between my head and eys. In this situation I cannot imagin anything and I feel like dump. But there are days when I dont feel this gap and speak a lot on any topic. I have been strugling with this problem since very long. I am working in international bpo where I need good communication it is effecting my work when I talk to u. S client. I need your suggestion whether it can be treated by counselling or not. Thanks

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Social anxiety disorder and glossophobia (speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general) can be managed with the help of psychotherapy, meditation, exercise and life style changes. Please post a private question to me wit...
2 people found this helpful

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