“I had to give a speech at my son’s wedding. I have difficulty talking to groups. I have difficulty talking when I’m just part of a big group. Standing in front of other people and making a speech was just the scariest thing for me. I just couldn’t do it. And I’ve been like that all my life.

You wouldn’t believe the things I have done to avoid speaking to groups, even speaking as part of a big group. I know it has stopped me going for jobs that I’d love to do.

I had three sessions with Bill, practised my speech heaps and stood up and did it just fine. My son was proud of me. And I was so pleased I was able to make a significant contribution to my son’s special day.”
John D

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Fear of Public Speaking (glossophobia)

This is the most common social phobia both in teenagers and adults. Some studies indicate that some people fear public speaking more than they fear death.

It can seriously affect people who need to make presentations at school, university, other study courses, at work and in all social situations that require participation in group discussions, especially if they have to make spontaneous responses and become the centre of attention. The thought of having to make a speech at a wedding, birthday party, farewell party or funeral is absolutely terrifying for many people.

Symptoms of this phobia include feeling intense anxiety before having to make a public talk. For many people even the thought of having to give a talk will bring on an anxiety attack. People suffering from this phobia will go to all sorts of measures to avoid having to talk in public, no matter how small the audience may be and who they may be. Often physical symptoms, such as nausea, manifest.

Once a person is speaking they can experience any number of often debilitating symptoms. They begin to sweat profusely, their breathing becomes shallow and gasping, they shake uncontrollably, they begin to lose their ability to think logically, and in the worst cases they lose their voices.

Some people can sing and act but not talk in front of an audience. Others are fine as long as the audience cannot see them or they cannot see the audience.

Is your fear of speaking in public, speaking when you are the centre of attention causing you problems, maybe stopping you from passing a course, inhibiting your career prospects, causing you to avoid social situations you would love to be in?

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