Fear of public speaking: how not to worry in front of the public, ways to overcome it

Speaking in front of an audience is an art. But what to do if you not only don’t know how to speak in front of an audience, but are also afraid of it? Glosophobia, or fear of public speaking (stage fright) is in second place in popularity after the fear of death. Its causes can have a variety of roots: from self-doubt to childhood trauma. But it is possible to overcome glossophobia. And this was proven by such famous people as Jim Carrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Megan Fox. Yes, yes, they also had stage fright. And they are far from the only ones.

What is the name of the phobia?

The fear of speaking in front of an audience is called glossophobia. I note that this does not apply to natural anxiety, but rather to a panic attack before an event of any degree of importance. Despite the significance of what is happening, the number of spectators, a person may have such an insurmountable anxiety before leaving behind the scenes, which does not allow him to connect even two words. However, to one degree or another, people are always worried before going out in public.

This type of experience is embedded in us at the subconscious level. In a time when people needed to hunt large animals to feed and keep themselves warm, the success of a foray depended on teamwork. The need to feel like part of a “tribe” remains with us to this day, so when we go on stage alone, we feel discomfort. In this way, we seem to separate ourselves from the rest of society.

Panic in this case is an absolutely normal emotion. The difference is that for a beginner it can be a destructive problem, but in the hands of an experienced speaker it can turn into a powerful tool and even transform into charisma. In addition, excitement is a motivation that forces the speaker to prepare harder and develop. The absence of such a phobia would give rise to irresponsibility and laziness. Think of it as a real gift to help you perform at your best.

Ways to get rid of it yourself

Awareness of several positive attitudes comes to help in solving this problem:

  1. Statistics. Some researchers claim that stage fright is the second most important human fear, after death phobia. This is a very controversial fact, since the basis of surveys and inspections is not entirely clear. However, the fact that this fear is widespread is undeniable. Moreover, the degree of anxiety ranges from mild excitement to panic attacks. For example, the famous violinist D. Oistrakh became increasingly worried before each concert. A successful performance secured a certain reputation for him, which he was terrified of losing.
  2. Before you understand how not to be afraid of public speaking, remember that anxiety in front of a mass audience is not a pathology, but a natural acquired quality of an individual. This fear was experienced by many speakers and artists. This was not noticeable outwardly, although internal excitement was definitely present. Conclusion - they conquered anxiety.
  3. How to stop stage fright? Getting rid of fear is not so difficult. If you really want this, in advanced cases, contact a specialist. After a few sessions, social phobia will be a distant memory.

All achievements and failures of a person are mainly formed in the head. Even one positive approval of these attitudes contributes to the growth of self-confidence. The main thing is not to focus on negative aspects that cannot be eliminated from life.

Types of stage fright and public speaking: what they are called and ways to overcome them

Experts identify several types of this phobia. They are similar in symptoms, but differ in the sources of fear itself. To understand how to deal with a problem, you need to determine the specific form in which it manifests itself. Sometimes this requires the help of a professional.

  • Peiraphobia is fear of being in front of an audience.
  • Verbophobia is anxiety before speaking.
  • Lalophobia – fear of impaired diction, stuttering.

Why are people afraid to speak?

To understand how to overcome uncertainty before public speaking and boldly interact with the public, it is necessary to determine the causes of fear; there can be a lot of them, starting from genetic predisposition. The attitude of parents towards public events and their behavior can be laid down in the child at the genetic level or instilled in the process of upbringing. Children always imitate adults, adopt their manners and habits, so it is very easy to provoke the emergence of a phobia. Common factors contributing to the appearance of glossophobia are:

  • Childhood experiences. For example, psychological discomfort caused by ridicule from peers during a performance.
  • Manifestation of neurotic diseases. Thus, a lack of control over one’s emotional state may later result in a fear of speaking in public, in front of an audience.
  • Complexes associated with one’s own appearance or speech. Self-criticism is both a driver and a brake. Complexity prevents you from objectively assessing the situation.
  • Upbringing. Some parents forbid their children to lead a public lifestyle or limit their personal space, which is why going out to the audience turns into a painful departure from their comfort zone.
  • Constant criticism from adults. Excessive criticism creates in a child self-doubt and a feeling of uselessness.
  • Shyness. One of the most common reasons.
  • Inability to work with criticism, unpreparedness for it.

What is the fear of public speaking, stage and audience called, how to overcome it: symptoms and signs

Before the start of the event, a glossophobe may experience the following body reactions to stress:

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  • redness or paleness of the skin;
  • nervousness is reflected in gestures;
  • intestinal disorder;
  • uncontrollable laughter;
  • excessive sweating;
  • dry mouth;
  • nausea;
  • increased heart rate;
  • tremors of the vocal cords;
  • muscle spasms;
  • semi-fainting state;
  • changes in facial expressions;
  • fever;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • "lump in the throat;
  • problems with speech, voice;
  • numbness of the limbs.

Consequences of glossophobia

A phobia such as the fear of public speaking in front of an audience can become a serious problem and lead to:

  • low performance in an educational institution;
  • excessive isolation, shyness;
  • inability to achieve heights in the professional field;
  • difficulties getting a job.

How to overcome

If the problem is really critical, it is better to seek help and advice from a professional. A qualified psychologist will help you understand the sources of fear and eliminate provocateurs. It will also be useful to sign up for my personal consultation, during which you will be able to come to an agreement with yourself and find internal resources to combat the phobia.

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Causes of glossophobia

The most popular reason is fear of the unknown. If you've never spoken publicly before, fear is understandable. It’s just that this is unfamiliar to you, it’s still outside your comfort zone. There is no other option but to try, force yourself to speak publicly, expand your comfort zone. Always challenge yourself, ask for public speaking yourself, once you decide that you need to learn how to do it. The more often you perform, the easier it will be. You will gain experience. As a result, the fear will go away, only pleasant excitement and emotional uplift will remain.

Another possible reason is an unsuccessful performance and, as a consequence, psychological trauma. This is more difficult to deal with, but try to analyze your previous experience. What exactly caused the failure? What exactly happened? Compare your old self with your old self. I think these people are clearly different. Perhaps the new you has all the tools to prevent the previous experience from repeating itself.

Thus, the cause of fear of speaking may be:

  • focusing on your experiences, on your fear;
  • unsuccessful previous experience, memories of it;
  • poor preparation for the performance;
  • lack of experience.

Well, the picture is completed by self-doubt, timidity, shyness, suspiciousness and much more. What are the ingredients in your glossophobia cocktail?

How to overcome stage fright and public speaking

There is a certain algorithm that allows you to fight glossophobia. These are four steps to help you work through your fear.

  • Participation in auto-training. It is extremely important to work on your self-esteem by regularly expressing your own praise. Recognize your strengths and remind yourself of them often.
  • Carrying out relaxation and meditation. Learn to relax and find emotional balance within yourself.
  • Create a positive outlook. Think about how wonderful and successful everything will be. You shouldn’t focus on the negative, knowingly programming yourself to make a mistake.
  • Watch your appearance. Your appearance should match the format of the conversation.

How not to worry before public speaking on stage: exercises at home

There are several effective ways to reduce fear when preparing for a report at home.

Exercise stress

To regulate the neuro-hormonal state, you need to work with the body. Do some exercises, jump, do squats. Sport promotes the production of endorphins - anti-stress hormones. But you shouldn’t do this right before going out to the audience: breathing should be restored, and your appearance should be neat.


Try to reproduce the upcoming event in detail in your head. Pay attention to how the audience perceives you, joke and answer their questions with ease. Create the most positive picture of what is happening.

Ask a question


Before speaking, repeat the following out loud:

  • I'm happy to be here.
  • I'm glad to see you all.
  • I am confident in my expertise.
  • I clearly understand what will be discussed.
  • I like you.
  • I inspire you.

How to calm down for speaking in front of an audience on stage

  • Stop thinking that you have to be perfect. Many are afraid to go out with a message to people, because they are afraid of making a mistake. But panic will only increase the likelihood of failure. Even professional speakers cannot avoid small errors. Just follow your goal, without trying to seem like a standard in the eyes of others.
  • Understand that the public will not be as demanding of you as you are of yourself. Even if something goes wrong and some little thing gets out of control, most likely it will go unnoticed against the general background of your bright speech.

Speak from the heart

Several years ago I had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Wally Amos, the founder of the Famous Amos cookie company. His speech was dedicated to the fight against illiteracy among adults. Amos himself donates quite a lot of time and money to help older people learn to read. It was clear to everyone present - there were more than 600 people in the hall - that he spoke from the heart. He clearly lacked any special training in public speaking, but Wally organized his thoughts and ideas in a clear logical sequence and spoke with sincerity and passion. He argued how important it is for adults to be able to read and how this skill can change their lives. At the end of the speech, all the listeners stood up and greeted him with thunderous applause, because Amos spoke from the bottom of his heart about what he understood and what deeply worried him.

How to overcome the fear of public speaking on stage with a large audience through rehearsals

The more often you rehearse, the more likely it is that everything will go like clockwork. Having re-read your text more than once, you will remember it and be able to navigate the written thoughts. However, you should not cram - fully memorized speech is perceived dryly, without interest. Record the training on video to evaluate your behavior, facial expressions, and gestures.

How not to be afraid before going out

Control your breathing. In a confused rhythm, it will only fuel stress. Breathe deeply, calmly and evenly. Focus on alternating your inhalations and exhalations to prevent destructive thoughts from arising.

How to deal with panic that arises on the spot

  • Find viewers who are as friendly as possible. Focus your attention on them.
  • If you experience trembling or numbness in your limbs, imagine being doused with water, and then shake it off.
  • Breathing has a calming effect. Take a deep breath and exhale long. Normalize your breathing rhythm.

Coping methods

Many people do not know how to overcome stage fright and whether this pathology needs to be treated. The help of a specialist is necessary only when fear becomes panicky and goes beyond all limits. In all other situations, it is possible to overcome it using auto-training and other modern psychological techniques.

Eliminating the Unknown

To combat the fear of large crowds of people, it is necessary to overcome the factor of the unknown of the public. To do this, the speaker needs to analyze why the people have gathered and what they expect from his speech. You should also understand what kind of reaction the lecturer expects to hear from the audience.

When a person begins to concentrate on the negative reaction of the public, his nervous arousal becomes stronger. Typically, evidence of listener disapproval includes:

  • whispering during performance;
  • inattention;
  • disapproving gestures;
  • skeptical smiles.

You can change the state if you mentally endow people with positive qualities, pay attention only to interested glances and approving gestures. You can also simply concentrate on the positive outcome of the performance.

Planning your speech

If you carefully prepare for a performance, then you can cope with nervousness and overcome stage fright. Confidence in good preparation will allow the speaker to tune in to a positive outcome of the speech and help him relax.

When making a report, it is necessary to study and analyze all the initial data that was obtained from various sources. After this, you need to create a text, sketch out theses, and draw up a plan of remarks. The plan should include outline phrases, as well as in what sequence and what to say to the public. You need to select arguments in your favor and not lose sight of them throughout your speech. In addition, you should make a list of approximate possible questions and think about the answers to them in advance.

Preliminary rehearsals are also important. To avoid stuttering or stuttering while on stage, you need to read the report several times (until perfection) to your loved ones or to yourself in front of the mirror.

The importance of other people can be greatly exaggerated. This should be remembered before you begin to fight your fears. It is worth recognizing the fact that every person has the right to make mistakes.

You need to master techniques that increase your sense of human dignity and self-esteem, help you feel the uniqueness of your personality and your own worth. It is also necessary to realize that everyone can make the same mistakes.

Fear will be overcome more effectively if you focus all your attention not on the result of the performance, but on the process to achieve the goal. You need to record real actions, looking at yourself through someone else's eyes, without any understatement or exaggeration. It is advisable to present the positive aspects of being on stage. Thanks to this, it will be possible to completely overcome fear.

Good results in the treatment of phobias can be obtained with the help of physical activity, training the left hemisphere of the brain and proper breathing techniques. The most pleasant methods of dealing with fears are meditation and singing your favorite songs.

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