Is Glossophobia Your Problem?

Tom was an Office Manager for a well-known corporation that dealt with big business in the computer hardware industry. Any time you see Tom walking down the hallway, you could always count on him to have a funny joke or two.

I guess you could say Tom was the jokester of the company that seemed to be somewhat popular amongst his peers. But get this, he was not the same guy that day the supervisor asked him to put together a PowerPoint presentation.

The company was expecting some big Execs within a week and Tom was the go-to-guy for the job, at least this time around he was. There was nothing funny for Tom to say this time. He was downright terrified. That's not the actual pic of Tom above, but his reaction was pretty much the same.

Like I said, Tom was always talking and conversing with his co-workers. However Tom had a major problem. He had a huge public speech anxiety problem. Everything was okay until it was time to get serious and put in work in the form of a presentation in front of others.

Fear of speaking is correctly termed Glossophobia. You may have never heard of it, but it's pretty common. There are even some symptoms behind it much like there are for other psychological issues.

This anxiety of public speaking affects some 75% of all people. That's a huge piece of the pie!

Do you know what people are afraid of second to dying? Yep, you guessed it. PUBLIC SPEAKING.

But I'm not talking about any old fear that a lot of us get when we know we have a job to do in front of others. Glossophobia has some major symptoms.

These symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea or weak stomach
  • Profuse sweating of the body
  • Panic attacks and rapid heartbeat
  • Extreme dry mouth
  • Stuttering 
Now any one of these symptoms can be experienced by anyone and it may not necessarily be classified as Glossophobia. But if you are having more than three of these things going on and it's to the point where you can't function, then you really need to do something about it. There's help though.

My old buddy Tom I talked about needless to say bombed that presentation and I'll explain why. The whole cause of his failed PowerPoint presentation is linked to a few things that he could've done to prevent the situation. You can actually apply these principles in your own affairs so that you can easily speak without that common fear of not doing well.

Note that I mentioned Tom had a week to prepare his presentation. Well come to find out, Tom waited four days later to get started. This left him with three days to actually start on the project. I guess some of his procrastination came from the whole being afraid. But you can't let fear stop you from starting what must be done.


If you know well in advance that you're going to have to speak publicly before anyone, especially co-workers, prepare your material. Know your topic from top to bottom. This will be an instant confidence booster to you.

I can recall having to put together a public discourse on a topic that I really didn't know much about. This topic wasn't talked about much in the media, so it required me to do some research. Once I got to know the subject of my material better and learned a few things, it put me at ease.

So sometimes just knowing enough about what you have to say will help curb that stage fright before it happens.

If your speech will involve audience participation where they will ask questions, be sure you have a list of questions that you are most likely to be asked. That way when they flow in to you, you won't stumble and this will calm your nerves.

Don't Memorize Your Speech Material

Trying to remember every little thing you want to say is NOT the way to go. If you have studied your material well enough, the thoughts will come out. You're more likely to forget what to say and then experience major anxiety if you try to recite what you've written down. 

I used always do this. I'd literally write down word for word what I wanted to say, especially if I thought it sounded good. By the time I had to actually speak in front of a crowd, I wouldn't say half of what I had written. This is where writing an outline for your speech will be the true way to go.