Most people experience some degree of nervousness or anxiety when they give a speech, presentation, or perform on stage. They still manage to cope with the occasion even though they are not enjoying it. However, people who suffer from a fear of public speaking (Glossophobia), may deliberately avoid situations where they would have to speak in public.

Similar to the fear of public speaking, we all know the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation. Maybe you’ve clammed up when meeting someone, you’ve clammed up when meeting someone new or gotten sweaty palms before making a entrance at a party or venue, walking into a roomful of strangers isn’t exactly thrilling for everybody, but most people can get through it.

If you have social anxiety disorder, though, the stress of these situations is too much to handle. You might avoid all social contact because things that other people consider “normal” — like making small talk and eye contact — make you so uncomfortable. All aspects of your life, not just the social, could start to fall apart.

Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is one of the most common mental disorders, so if you have it, there’s hope. The tough part is being able to ask for help. Here’s how to know if your social silence has gone beyond shyness to a point where you need to seek a helping hand. If you have a Fear of Speaking in Public or have Social Anxiety, they both manifest in very similar ways.

Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia).

 

Glossophobia causes a feeling of intense anxiety, including certain physical and verbal symptoms and signs. Even the thought of group activities and presentations can trigger these symptoms – worrying what people will think of us, worrying that we will stumble over our words, worrying that we will forget what to say.

When you suffer from glossophobia, you may avoid events that centre on group activities – you might call in sick or make excuses to avoid the event.

When faced with having to give a presentation, many people experience the fight-or-flight response. This is your body’s way of preparing to defend itself against perceived threats through an increase in adrenaline. Particularly when speaking on stage, when you are exposed to people all around you, the fear is heightened, and you’ll find yourself crossing arms and legs as a natural defense mechanism.

Physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms of glossophobia can lead to acute hearing loss or other physical symptoms. When the mind is cluttered with thoughts, extreme tension is developed which affects a person’s hearing.

Heart palpitations or increased heart rates can develop as a result of the intense anxiety or stress. This can lead to increased blood pressure and the physical response causes the pupils to dilate and can cause you to sweat.

Here are some of the common physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Raise in blood pressure.
  • Dilation of pupils.
  • Acute hearing loss.
  • Intense dread and trembling.
  • Sweating, particularly on the hands and forehead.
  • Nausea or vomiting in extreme cases.
  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilating.
  • Dizziness.
  • Muscle tension in the neck and upper back muscles.
  • Feeling of nervousness or panic attack.
  • Frequently needing the bathroom.

Verbal symptoms.

Some of the verbal symptoms that develop from Glossophobia can cause you to strain while trying to speak. Your voice may quiver and shake, you may repeat hesitations such as ‘umm’ or ‘ah’, followed by vocal pausing. This reaction causes you to feel uncomfortable and anxious, worsening the symptoms of Glossophobia.

Speech anxiety can lead to dysfunctional speech and stammers or tics, since the intense anxiety may prevent you from speaking properly. Speech disorders can develop as well, which are caused by stress-induced reactions during public speaking.

Here are some of the common verbal symptoms:

  • Dryness in the mouth.
  • Weakened tone of voice and feeling energy less.
  • Trembling voice due to tension.
  • Shaking or quivering voice.
  • Hesitation words such as ‘umm’ and ‘ah’.
  • Stammers or tics.
  • Vocalized pauses.

 

Social Anxiety – Fear of being with or talking to strangers or groups of people.

 

 

 

 

Anyone with social anxiety disorder can experience it in different ways. But here are some common situations that people tend to have trouble with:

  • Talking to strangers
  • Speaking in public
  • Dating
  • Making eye contact
  • Entering rooms
  • Using public restrooms
  • Going to parties
  • Eating in front of other people
  • Going to school or work
  • Starting conversations.

Some of these situations might not cause a problem for you. For example, giving a speech may be easy, but going to a party might be a nightmare. Or you could be great at one-on-one conversations but not at stepping into a crowded classroom.

All socially anxious people have different reasons for dreading certain situations. But in general, it’s an overwhelming fear of:

  • Being judged by others in social situations.
  • Being embarrassed or humiliated — and showing it by blushing, sweating, or shaking.
  • Accidentally offending someone.
  • Being the center of attention.

What Does It Feel Like?

Again, the experience may be different for everyone, but if you have social anxiety and you’re in a stressful situation, you might have physical symptoms like:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Stomach trouble and diarrhea
  • Inability to catch breath
  • “Out-of-body” sensation.

You may start having symptoms and getting anxious immediately before an event, or you might spend weeks worrying about it. Afterward, you could spend a lot of time and mental energy worrying about how you acted.

According to one estimate, 75% of people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when public speaking, and 10% of people are terrified. Speaking in public is one of the most common fears, ranking among heights, death and snakes.

How It Affects Your Life.

Social anxiety disorder prevents you from living your life. You’ll avoid situations that most people consider “normal.” You might even have a hard time understanding how others can handle them so easily.

When you avoid all or most social situations, it affects your personal relationships. It can also lead to:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative thoughts
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Poor social skills that don’t improve.

Consequences of suffering from Glossophobia:

If you want to be successful in your career, chances are you’ll need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively and lead teams. From job interviews to team meetings to running your own business, many activities in life require speaking in public to groups of people. Not being able to do this could cause you to lose out on many opportunities because speech anxiety takes control of your life.

However, all is not lost if you want to avoid verbal communication in your career. There are jobs which require very little of it, with most communication being accomplished through email, Slack or other online, non-verbal forms. Having worked with many developers and engineers, some of these roles require almost no verbal communication, as long as you deliver projects on time.

So how do we get you, to start living the life you’ve always wanted:

 

Go on that perfect date, be social in a group of strangers and meet new people without fear or making that awesome presentation with confidence, where everyone is hanging onto your lips?

During the Transformation Coaching programme, you will master the ability how to overcome your fear, of speaking in front of others or in public. Say goodbye to perspiring, trembling palms, and nervousness. With the help of a transformation coach, you can turn into an eloquent community speaker that will be useful in your business or other circumstances.

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