Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Monday, September 9, 2013

Overcoming Glossophobia!

Do you suffer from glossophobia? As many as 75% of people have glossophobia.

What is it?

GlossophobiaIf you suffer from glossophobia you shy away from any opportunity to speak in public. Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek glōssa, meaning tongue, and phobos, fear or dread. Symptoms include:

• intense anxiety prior to, or simply at the thought of having to verbally communicate with any group,
• avoidance of events which focus the group’s attention on individuals in attendance,
• physical distress, nausea, or feelings of panic in such circumstances.

The importance of learning to speak in front of an audience is undeniable – invariably intertwined with leadership, motivation, and change. Glossophobia can be overcome!

“Do the thing you fear to do the most and the death of fear is certain.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Glossophobia is common, and in some cases it can be life-limiting. However, the success rate for treatment is extremely high. The first step is to find a speaking coach or therapist that you trust who can help you work through the fear.

I highly recommend that you…

speaking1. Practice your talk by speaking out loud. Get used to hearing your own voice.
2. Record your talk on a tape recorder. Listen for mistakes, the “ahs” and “ums” you use to fill in the blanks. I recorded at least the first 50 talks I ever gave and listened to them over and over to fine-tune the spots that needed work.
3. Practice, drill and rehearse! You need to know your material inside out, especially the beginning and the end.

The goal may be only to stand up for 30 seconds at a networking meeting to introduce yourself. When someone asks you to speak, say, “Yes!” You may be asked to talk about your book or something you have earned the right to talk about. Say, “Yes!” and get busy practicing. I have found it useful to practice in front of a mirror.

If you are just beginning to accept opportunities to promote your book or services, the goal is not to become a professional speaker, but to do the very best you can.

No one can be an expert at everything! Remember that. Have no more than one or two 15 or 20 minute talks to start out with.

I made no less than several hundred free talks before I started requesting a fee to speak. I talked to civic groups, chamber of commerces, and many other small organizations before I began to charge for my keynotes (a prevailing tone or central theme, typically one set or introduced at the start of a conference) and seminars (usually a 2 or 3 hour conference or other meeting for discussion or training).

Authors and Potential Speakers: The vast majority of careers involve some level of public speaking, from participating in meetings to giving presentations to potential clients and promoting your books. Once you have successfully worked through the worst of your fear, you might want to consider joining a speaking group such as Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie’s Secrets to Effective Public Speaking, and the National Speakers Association (NSA). These groups can help you polish your public speaking skills through repetition and offering speaker tips from fellow members. Building confidence in your ability to speak in public can further reduce your anxiety.

Watch additional YouTube videos about glossophobia: Click here!

BONUS Articles: 5 Mistakes I Made in My First 5 Years as a Professional Speaker
How To Overcome Fear and Shyness ~ Video
Speakers: Stay on Time!
How to Structure a Great Presentation ~ Video
How To Tame Speaking Butterflies


Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

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  1. […] demonstrate that glossophobia or fear of public speaking is the number one source of anxiety in the United States. In other […]

    Pingback by Brides & Grooms: A Way to Tame the Butterflies! | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Friday, April 11, 2014 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  2. […] Articles: Overcoming Glossophobia! How To Overcome Fear and Shyness ~ […]

    Pingback by Professional Tactics for Nailing the Perfect Speech | Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James — Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 7:30 am | Reply

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