Is Public Speaking Anxiety a Disorder?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jun 30, 2021

Jun 30, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

All eyes are on you as you walk to the front of the room. You feel anxious, sick, and as if your heart is going to pound out of your chest.

This is a common feeling among people with public speaking anxiety. Around 77 percent of people have varying levels of fear of public speaking. 

If you experience a fear of public speaking it is important to know when there may be an underlying condition. Keep reading for more information on public speaking anxiety and tips to help conquer your fears. 

Public Speaking Anxiety

Public speaking anxiety is also known as Glossophobia. It is believed that the root of this anxiety is a fear of negative evaluation, embarrassment, or judgment by others. To some degree public speaking anxiety is normal. 

There are many symptoms of public speaking anxiety including blushing, nausea, dry mouth, shaking, dizziness, intense anxiety, and more. These symptoms make it even more difficult to speak in public. 

If your anxiety is severe enough it can fall into the category of a social anxiety disorder. A social anxiety disorder will lead to avoidance that can disrupt your life and career.

Public Speaking Tips and Help

If public speaking is a struggle for you then there are different steps you can take to address this fear. If you think you need help with overcoming your anxiety you can take public speaking classes like the ones offered by the Moxie Institute

There are also public speaking tips you can utilize to help you conquer your anxiety. One of the key ways to overcome public speaking anxiety is with preparation. When you are preparing to speak in public practice in front of friends, family, or even your pets. 

Practice will help you to learn your material and know it well. The more comfortable you are with your topic the less stress you will have. 

If you are worried about negative audience members then prepare for that scenario. Imagine the questions they may ask and how you can respond. 

When you are in front of the room, remember to breathe. Take a moment to center yourself and refocus, do not worry about the pause, most of your audience may believe you are pausing on purpose. 

Other Treatment Options

If the art of public speaking continues to evade you then it could be beneficial to consider therapy and/or medication. There are two common methods used in therapy to treat public speaking anxiety, systematic desensitization and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

With systematic desensitization, you are gradually exposed to the situation that causes anxiety. This is paired with relaxation techniques that help you deal with the anxiety you may be feeling in the situation. 

Some of these techniques include diaphragmatic breathing, visualization, meditation and mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps identify negative or inaccurate thinking. Once negative thoughts have been identified the process of changing them and learning coping techniques can begin.

Conquer Your Anxiety Today

Public speaking anxiety is normal. However, with practice and training, you can tame your fear and be successful in your career and more.

Was this article helpful? Be sure to check out other career and health articles in the blog.