While you may think fear of public speaking is just that … I found a “formal” phobia name for it. Glossophobia …. I work with people all the time who have mild to severe cases of it … Here’s how it’s defined:
What is Glossophobia?
Glossophobia may be defined as a very specific form of stage fright or speech anxiety, which is the fear of speaking in public. Most confident people have experienced some degree of nervousness or anxiety when they have to give a speech, presentation, or perform on stage. They still manage to cope with the occasion even though they are not enjoying it. However, people who suffer from glossophobia (referred to as glossophobics) may deliberately avoid situations where they would have to speak in public.
This can happen when an employee has to make a presentation to the rest of his department and becomes completely frozen. It can happen at a social gathering where the thought of meeting new people causes you to become nervous and edgy. As a result glossophobia may hamper the sufferer’s ability to further his or her academic, social or career opportunities. If left untreated, this can lead to loneliness, poor self-esteem, depression and isolation.
The common symptoms and signs of glossophobia include extreme anxiety before the event or the idea of speaking in front of a group of people. Physical symptoms often appear as well which results from the body’s response to a flight or fight reaction to stress.
These symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Feelings of nervousness or panic attack
- Dry mouth
- Tense, weak or quivering voice
- Stiff neck or upper back muscles
In severe cases, some people may even experience nausea or vomiting from the stress and anxiety.
The exact cause of glossophobia is not known, although a number of factors can contribute to this disorder. Traumatic events that may have affected you as a child or during adulthood may contribute to glossophobia and cause you to avoid speaking in public.
It may also occur when you have been slowly avoiding to speak publicly over a period of time and the idea of it causes you so much anxiety that it has now resulted into glossophobia. Certain psychological conditions such as where the speaker suffers from poor self esteem, always wants complete approval, believes that everything must be perfect, or expects failure can also bring about episodes of glossophobia.
Various treatment options are available to treat glossophobia. Certain drugs such as beta blockers may be used to help people relax before speaking in public. Complementary therapies such as hypnosis, meditation or psychotherapy can be quite beneficial in helping you to overcome glossophobia.
Perhaps the simplest cure: Taking public speaking classes or one on one coaching sessions will be able to alleviate your fears of speaking in front of others and improve public speaking skills.
So you see — you are not alone if you have Glossophobia — I’m here to help you eliminate it from your life. Call me!