Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia) can affect people in different ways. It may be a fear of speaking in public to large or small groups of people, or it may be anxiety about speaking up in general. Some sufferers may experience these feelings exclusively whilst others may also have a social phobia or social anxiety disorder.


Symptoms may differ in both variety and intensity and may include:

Anticipation. Intense anxiety prior to having to speak in public or make a speech, or anxiety provoked simply by the thought of having to communicate with a group (more than one person) of people.

Avoidance of events where there is a possibility that the individual may be or may become the focus of attention

Mental and physical distress that may include feelings of nausea and panic, and may even result in a full blown panic attack.

As a result of adrenaline being pumped into the system as part of the 'fight or flight' response a variety of further distressing physical symptoms may be experienced. These may include palpitations or increased heart rate, faster breathing and feelings of light headedness, sweating, muscular tension and a dry mouth.

Speech itself may be affected resulting in a tense or quivering voice. Some people will be subject to long pauses or even forget completely where they are as their mind goes blank. Some people find that when they are confronted by a sea of faces they are unable to speak at all.

An estimated 75% of people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when speaking in public or making a speech. 

A phobia is an irrational fear, the mind and body reacting to something as if there is an actual potential for physical harm. You were not born with a fear of public speaking, it is something you learned to do (learned response) and continue as a habit. There are many reasons and scenarios for developing this habit. For many of us it occurs at school, typically as a result of embarrassment, nervousness or anxiety when being made the focus of attention and asked to read in front of the class, or picked on to answer a question.

As a result of the fear experienced at that moment the subconscious mind creates an early warning system intended to protect us from the imagined danger. So from this point on the warning system is looking out for similar situations and when they occur it kicks in delivering adrenaline to the system preparing us to either run away or fight our way out of danger. However the uncomfortable feelings and reactions this creates only serves to heighten and reinforce the feelings of fear we already have, particularly the stress inducing feeling of not being in control.

Surveys show that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death!

Hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for all phobias, fear of public speaking in particular. Hypnotherapy has the advantage of being able to combine both conscious and unconscious processes helping to eradicate irrational fears, it allows you to kick the habit and re-train the mind to enable you to regain control and so become a fluent public speaker.

Attempting to consciously control this kind of phobia may already have proved difficult and is often the case may have made things worse. However with a brief course of hypnotherapy most people find they are able to manage their nerves and go on to be an effective, informative, and often entertaining speaker.

If you are dreading that speech you have to make, a presentation or report you have to deliver at work, or are simply immobilised by the thought of having to speak to one or more people in a public environment then now is the time to take action.


Call or text Tracey at South London Hypnotherapy now on;  07976 629098 and take the first step to enjoying being the centre of attention!