The term Glossophobia comes from the Greek words “glossa” meaning “tougue or language” and “phobos” is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. It’s estimated that 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety, making it one of the most common phobias that exist and along with other social fears, is thought to begin at around age 13.
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld.
People who suffer from Glossophobia tend to freeze in front of any audience, even a couple of people. They find their mouth dries up, their voice is weak and their body starts shaking. They may even sweat, go red and feel their heart thumping rapidly.
This fear may happen at school where a pupil prays that the teacher doesn’t call on him to answer a question. It can happen in the workplace where the employee experiences panic attacks at the thought of making a presentation to her superiors. It can happen at home where the jobseeker becomes emotionally distraught before going on a job interview. It can happen to actors, actresses and musicians who find shows and concerts extremely difficult.
Others Beat Fear. So Can You.
To inspire you in your quest to become an influential public speaker, here is a list of famous people who have made a successful living out of performing or speaking in front of thousands of people despite their deep-seated anxiety.
- Warren Buffett – Once a college student who was “terrified of getting up and saying [his] name,” Buffett was able to overcome his aversion to speaking in front of others by facing his fears head on.
- Mahatma Gandhi – During his student life, he suffered from frequent panic attacks. For years, the “the awful strain of public speaking” became a burden so great for Gandhi that he even avoided speaking at friendly get-togethers and dinner parties.
- Nicole Kidman – “I panic in front of all the cameras. My hands start shaking and I have trouble breathing.”
- Harrison Ford – It is hard to believe, watching a movie like Indiana Jones that Harrison Ford is scared of anything, but in his own words, “its people I’m scared of.” He suffers from anxiety and in particular, he has a fear of public speaking.
The thought of speaking in public can leave us frozen with fear. It can also cause you to miss out on many academic, social, and career opportunities. Don’t suffer this fearful phobia in silence; the team at VoiceWorks is passionate and motivated to help you conquer the fear of public speaking and open a whole new world of opportunity for you.