Glossophobia: Fear of Public Speaking.

Are you one of the millions who suffer from fear of public speaking, or glossophobia? Experts say up to 75% of the population is afraid of speaking in public, a statistic that has become even more relevant in today’s digital reality.

More on that later.

While not a life-threatening disease, glossophobia affects 4 out of 10 Americans and can be downright debilitating. For many, the anxiety that comes with the very idea of getting up in front of a crowd (whether five people or 50) is crushing. Public speaking or talking in front of a group can trigger a wide range of feelings, from discomfort and stress to uncontrollable shaking, sweating, dry mouth, and a racing heartbeat. Depending on the person, this fear may get worse over time, while others find ways to cope and overcome it.

What is Glossophobia?

There are many things to understand about anxiety disorders like glossophobia, including the role of genes. According to data from 23andMe, more than 800 genetic markers are linked to fear of public speaking. When looked at in conjunction with other factors, we may be able to predict if a person will suffer from fear of public speaking. Symptoms of glossophobia include:

  • Increased sweating or perspiration.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Stiff or tight upper back muscles.
  • Nausea.
  • Feelings of panic and intense anxiety at the thought of public speaking.
  • Trembling.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.

Beyond genes and environmental factors, many people who struggle with public speaking fear being embarrassed, judged, or even rejected. This is extremely common and can be challenging to overcome. Over the last year, as we transitioned to remote work due to the ongoing pandemic, public speaking went digital, bringing to light an entirely new phobia.

Fear of Video Chat: You’re Not Alone!

People who experience social anxiety or have a social phobia such as glossophobia may also find online meetings and video chats a challenge. One reason for this is that people with social anxiety tend to pay more attention to themselves and overanalyze their every move in social settings. They view themselves more from an observer perspective or through other people’s eyes rather than a field perspective (through their own eyes).

When looking at this type of phobia in relation to video chat, there is a lot of fascinating information out there that sheds light on some of the physiological reactions to both in-person public speaking and online.

When video chatting, most of us have a self video on. This can lead them to take on the observer perspective for those with social phobias, even more so than they might in an in-person scenario. Seeing themselves can heighten anxieties about public speaking.

Tips to Boost Your Confidence for Online Meetings.

The good news is that many simple hacks can build your video call confidence and, perhaps, even squash those pesky anxieties altogether. Here are some of our favorite tips for getting past your fears of being on video and putting your best foot (or face) forward with online meetings:

  • Write down what you are fearful of and why being on a video call brings up these uncomfortable feelings.
  • Write out any talking points to keep you on task and help take some of the focus off your social anxiety.
  • Understand you aren’t alone! Many people suffer from video call anxiety, particularly among millennials.
  • Make a point to video chat with friends and family members to help you get used to it.
  • Wear something that makes you feel confident and good about yourself. This could be a special scarf, your favorite top, or a funky pair of earrings you often receive compliments on!

Fear of public speaking and being on a video is widespread and can be very challenging for people. We hope the above tips will help you and, remember – you’re not alone! Contact Vai today to learn more about our online meeting features and offerings.