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Learn about glossophobia, the fear of public speaking.


Did you know what is it that’s more scary than death and darkness to an average person? No, it’s not the fear of heights or even claustrophobia, the fear of confined spaces. It is actually the fear of speaking in public, also known as glossophobia!

You will notice that all fears are essentially called phobias, and that term is the suffixed part of the word glossophobia. So what does phobia actually mean? The dictionary meaning of phobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”. Phobia by itself is a word of Greek origin that means dread or fear. Glossa is also from Greek, and it means the tongue.


Want to know more about what types of phobias people have? The Phobia List site has hundreds of phobia names!

If you have some glossophobia, or even if you are terrified by speaking in public, then you are not alone. Many famous speakers suffered from this phobia, and they overcame these fears to become world famous speakers. Abraham Lincoln admitted that he had this phobia, and he was able to conquer it completely. In time, he became one of most well-known orators of his time. There are many others including Orville Wright, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein who were very shy of speaking in front of an audience. If so many of them could get over glossophobia, then certainly you can do it too!

Before we proceed further, you should know that this is not just an article on conquering glossophobia. Rather this is just an article that will create awareness about this phobia, and also provide you with encouragement to overcome this condition.

Talking about encouragement, you must realize that your best friends who will help you overcome glossophobia is comprised of your audience. That ’s not very reassuring for many speakers because for them the audience may be the primary reason for glossophobia in the first place! And getting over that myth is the most important step that you can therefore take. Remember that the audience is in attendance only because they want to hear you, and benefit from your ideas. They are not there to make you uncomfortable – in fact they are the reason why you are speaking in the first place! And if they did not want you to succeed, why would theyt take out some of their precious time and spend it with you?

That realization itself should encourage you. So how can you cure glossophobia? Here are some tips:

  1. Understand that the audience wants you to be successful.
  2. Be sincere. When you are not very confident, then that one most important factor that will give you confidence is sincerity.
  3. Practice often – and you can even practice in front of a mirror. You can also video-record yourself and view later. Then try to improve.
  4. Read books on body language, presentation skills, and voice modulation.
  5. Try to find opportunities to speak in front of an audience – the more you speak, the better you will become.
  6. Join an organization such as Toastmasters – look if they have a club that’s located in your part of the world.

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