Glossophobia: Fear of Public Speaking

What is Glossophobia?
Glossophobia (from Greek: glossa “tongue”, and phobos “fear”) is an extreme fear of public speaking or speaking in front of many people. It is also known as speech anxiety because people with glossophobia tend to get nervous and panic when they have to speak in public, be it delivering a speech or simply introducing themselves.

Although it seems natural for people to be nervous when they speak in public, glossophobic people feel an extreme and irrational fear at the ideas of doing public speaking. People with glossophobia usually avoid any possibilities that could get them to speak in public. Thus, this kind of phobia may be a hindrance to people’s career as well as academic and social life.

Causes of Glossophobia
Many factors may lead to someone’s glossophobia, but the most common factor is certain traumatic event in the past. It is possible that someone with glossophobia actually had an embarrassing moment concerning speaking in public when they were young or in the early adulthood. Therefore, they refuse doing public speaking to avoid any embarrassing moment.

The other cause of glossophobia is someone’s lack of confidence and experience in speaking in front of public. It is possible that glossophobic people always avoid doing public speaking since they were little. In this case, once they really have to speak in public, they become nervous and afraid of what other people may think about their speech.

Symptoms of Glossophobia
People with glossophobia usually become extremely nervous that they start trembling and feel numb before speaking in public. Some people also get their mouth dry, perspire, get stomachache, feel panic, become numb, and feel like running away from the stage.

These symptoms of glossophobia will surely hinder someone’s academic, career, and social opportunities. It is hard for people with glossophobia to become a leader since they find it difficult to deliver speech and give instructions to the subordinates.

If left untreated, glossophobia will disrupt someone’s life, destroy his/her self-esteem, and keep someone away from opportunities towards better career and life.

Treatment for Glossophobia
Various treatment can be taken to treat glossophobia. One popular and effective treatment is called cognitive-behavioral therapy in which glossophobic people are gradually shown their own fear. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is meant to enable the patient overcome their fear step by step.

The other methods are talk therapy, support groups, and medication. In talk therapy, the root of people’s glossophobia is dug so that they will find out the source of their fear. At this rate, there is a possibility that people’s rational will defeat their unwarranted fear.

Support groups is done by gathering people with the same phobia or syndrome so that they can share their experience and find out solutions to overcome their fears.

People can also take medication by consuming medicine to suppress treat their nervousness and panic before doing public speaking. However, it is not suggested to get medication for a long time to cope with glossophobia. In fact, medication doesn’t really cure phobia, but only suppress the symptoms for a short time. It also carries sideback effects for the consumers.

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