Glossophobia: The fear of public speaking

Ola Rembiszewska, In-Depth Editor

    Glossophobia, or speech anxiety, comes from the Greek word meaning “tongue”,  commonly known as the fear of public speaking. According to, a website primarily specializing on psychological topics, 75% of people experience some form of glossophobia with ranging symptoms. 

    Speech anxiety is usually characterized by the fear of embarrassing one’s self in front of a large crowd. According to author and speaker Steve Sisgold, another reason for the increase of people with Glossophobia is because the communicator overestimates the way they communicate their ideas. This causes an overwhelming concern of not being capable of spreading ideas in an effective way. 

     There are many signs or symptoms of glossophobia that can vary from less severe to very severe. These symptoms may include increased blood pressure, excessive sweating, dry mouth, stiffening of upper back muscles, nausea and trembling.

      Important factors to keep in mind, according to the MayoClinic, are to focus on the material instead of the audience, visualize your success, challenge specific worries, do some deep breathing and most importantly practice presenting in front of an audience.

    If symptoms are less severe, you can ensure success on a presentation or speech by preparing days ahead to allow for more confidence while delivering it. Learning the material and knowing what you’re talking about is vital for being successful. When having glossophobia, memorizing words alone and not actually comprehending the information you are delivering can cause the mind to go completely blank.

      Though this is effective, it isn’t the best option for people who have severe forms of glossophobia. They may need to take a more professional route in dealing with this issue like cognitive behavioral therapy, a common type of talk therapy. BG also offers a Speech course which may be beneficial in getting students to be more comfortable in these types of situations. Talking to a parent or counselor about your fears can get you the information you need to move forward and take the leading steps to being more confident in a public-speaking setting.