The fear of public speaking, glossophobia, is extremely common. About 77% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. The fear of public speaking stems from social anxiety, which is one of the many types of anxiety disorders.
The fear of public speaking and social anxiety can occur in many different situations. It can come up when one is presenting something, when one is in a public setting with many people, or when one has to talk to a stranger/someone they aren’t familiar with. Social anxiety causes one to think that everyone is judging them, even with the most basic tasks. It may cause many symptoms, such as blushing, sweating, trembling, feeling a rapid heart rate, or feeling one’s mind going blank, which are all normal symptoms of glossophobia.
As you probably know, in school students are required to do many presentations and other things that involve public speaking. This is a part of school that many students strongly dislike, myself included. Every time I have been assigned a presentation that needs to be presented in front of one of my classes, I have always thought of excuses to try to get out of the presentation like staying home sick on the day of a presentation or pretending to lose my voice. But I have never actually used these excuses, due to my fear of getting a bad grade if I don’t present.
Whenever I have to present, I do get the common symptoms of glossophobia and social anxiety, I start excessively sweating, especially my hands, my heart rate becomes faster, my voice begins to tremble, and sometimes my mind goes blank and I forget what I have to say, so I have to start improvising. Because I start improvising, I feel that I don’t sound as intelligent as I could’ve, and then I feel like I am being judged all over again.
These presentations give me a lot of stress, and every day leading up to a presentation I always feel extremely nervous, and sometimes this stress can lead to panic attacks, which are never fun. Although I have been struggling with this for a while now, I still have not gotten completely used to it, it is just something one learns to live with.
Another example of when I feel a sudden rush of social anxiety is when I get called on in class without volunteering. I feel that I am being picked on and that if I don’t get the answer right I feel that everyone is judging me and talking about me in their head. Even when I do know the answer, sometimes I freeze up and start thinking about what others are thinking of me, but I have gotten better at being able to answer “normally” when this happens.
Although public speaking is supposed to get easier over time I feel like it is still just as hard every time, but there are some things that I try to do to make it slightly better:
Other ways to improve public speaking, in general, is to:
The fear of public speaking is totally normal and many people experience it, so there is no reason to feel ashamed or upset about it. Although it is extremely scary at times, there are ways to help get yourself through it. Remember you are not alone and you can always ask for help.
Public Speaking Tips from a Doctor:
Best of luck,