Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia): Symptoms, Elements, Tips

The fear of speaking in public is a generalized fear that affects all social strata, at all levels of responsibility. When moderate, public speaking anxiety is strong but not disabling. On the other hand, when stage fright becomes more intense and is limited to phobia, those affected find themselves locked up, unable to overcome the terror that paralyzes them.


  • Throat tied.
  • Deaf voice.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Tingling hands.
  • For some, public speaking is part of the obstacle course.

Elements that can help you

Control the substance of your intervention

  • “We must not believe that people who speak well are innately good,” says Jean-Noël Chaintreuil, businessman and specialist in supporting change.
  • Everyone is afraid, or at least the vast majority of people.
  • Those who look comfortable generally feel comfortable because they have worked so hard as long as they know what they are doing.
  • This generally helps to eliminate some of the stress .
  • And remember that from time immemorial the great orators «have tirelessly repeated their speeches.

Finding your footholds

  • “The quality of his presence, for others and for himself, is essential,” says Jacky Canal, coach and actor.
  • I advise the people I coach to speak in public to become aware of their support, to anchor their feet on the ground, which makes them feel more solid.
  • “Putting your hands on the table or desk when you are in the gallery is a way of being part of reality, of remembering your own presence”, confirms Jean-Noël Chaintreuil.
  • Philippe Janiaux, a specialist media training coach, recommends “lowering your shoulders.” “When you’re stressed, you tend to move them towards your ears, which disrupts your breathing and creates tension that can’t help the speech keep flowing.
  • Jean-Noël Chaintreuil also suggests “dressing comfortably”, both in terms of comfort and appearance.
  • Feeling attractive or at least physically confident is the first step to gaining confidence.


  • This seems trivial and obvious, but our three experts are unanimous: only good breathing is a guarantee of greater serenity and, therefore, of a successful intervention.
  • “The breath should be banished from the upper body, panting and shallow,” explains Philippe Janiaux. “Inhaling by inflating the belly, slowly, and then gently exhaling is extremely effective,” confirms Jacky Canal.
  • The latter insists, however, on the need to “train daily.” “It is not by taking abdominal breathing in the minutes leading up to a stressful situation that you can calm down again.
  • It is the regularity of the preparation that ensures a lasting result. Philippe Janiaux agrees: “It has to become a reflection and for that to happen, it has to become part of everyday life.”
  • In other words, a few minutes of mindful breathing each day is more effective than an hour on the spot, just before the big jump.

Positive thinking

  • All the great “trackers” have in common this tendency to depreciate, even pessimism, either to avoid fate or because they are genuinely convinced that they are not up to the task.
  • But, insists Philippe Janiaux, “it is absolutely necessary to remember that if you are there, about to speak to an audience or an audience, to organize a meeting or to make a toast, it is because you have been asked to do so, because you are legitimate and because you have something to bring to that audience.
  • “By repeating like a mantra that you have worked on your speech, you therefore have the necessary skills to be there,” Jacky Canal also advises.
  • When it comes to viewing the public on its simplest and often recommended device, none of our experts seem very convinced, even if, they say, it is nevertheless a dramatizing thought .
  • Jean-Noël Chaintreuil, according to himself, still nervous at the beginning of each of his interventions, although he has been teaching for years and this is his main profession, prefers to remember the famous phrase of Sarah Bernhardt to one of his young colleagues: «Stage fright? ? You’ll see, he will come with talent.

Learn the first sentences by heart

  • It is the first moments that are decisive.
  • Again, even the most experienced have their throats tied when they start their operation.
  • The fact of having memorized the first words, even if it is a very banal introductory phrase, in which we thank people for being there, helps to overcome this first moment of stress, says Jean-Noël Chaintreuil.

Start slowly

  • Often times when public speaking is an ordeal, we just want to finish as quickly as possible, even if that means reciting our speech at a fast pace, reports Jacky Canal.
  • But talking fast when you’re in an anxious state is likely to make your stuttering worse and lose your hearing.
  • Therefore, we should not be afraid of silence and try to speak at a slower pace than usual.
  • This also allows you to catch your breath at a time when you need it more than ever.

Make your voice carry

There, too, training is required, as a family, taking theater classes, alone in your bathroom, it doesn’t matter, as long as you learn to amplify your voice, so that you can be heard, recommends Philippe Janiaux.

Practical tips to overcome the fear of public speaking

Fear in public is probably one of the most widespread fears in the world. It is not unusual to find that among my correspondents, the fear of speaking in front of an audience is sometimes considered the most terrifying form of defiance. Let’s try to solve this and solve this problem in some way, they are the same fears that are general as the fear of driving or fear of changing.

Meeting people with the same fear many times with this fear that makes you lose your means. People who experience this problem generally trigger a form of anxiety as soon as they are invited to address a group. Some experience this as paralysis that can totally inhibit their ability.

Feelings of numbness, anxiety, cold sweat can occur and make it impossible to express yourself.

  • When giving a presentation (or speech) to yourself in public, remember to breathe deeply and calmly.
  • If you can’t, take a break at regular intervals and regain control of your breathing for 3 minutes.
  • Bear in mind that nervous tension is closely related to respiratory quality.
  • This seemingly routine exercise will help you stay calm and speak more serenely.
  • You have to remember that the audience is there for the reason they came to listen to you!
  • You will gain trust in your listeners much more quickly if you acknowledge their presence.
  • To do this, from the first minutes try to interact with them by asking their motivation or answering their questions.
  • Sometimes just making eye contact with a few people in the room can make a big difference in the performance of your public expression.
  • Never try to memorize the words and phrases in your message.
  •  You will induce unmanageable stress out of fear of forgetting.
  • Instead, write the gist of your topic on a well-ventilated sheet of paper. Then indicate (*) pointers to each important element.
  • The fear of public speaking is often caused by a willingness to memorize. Forget that! It is better to read (or memorize) the main themes of your message.
  • This way, you can always have your notes in front of you when in doubt about what to say.
  • This is a very reassuring way to avoid losing the thread of your speech.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard.
  • You are not betting your life on an intervention.

I invite you to de-dramatize this moment. Nobody (but absolutely nobody) came out of a destroyed speech. Think only of the main point, namely:

 You have to get a message across, that’s all.

  • The more important your intervention, the more likely you will lose your financial means.
  • In any case, in the worst case scenario (highly unlikely), the participants will quickly forget your flaws.

Think of the participants as your friends

  • You really have people who WANT your success. Do you doubt that?
  • When you attend a meeting or conference yourself, your intentions are to help and encourage the speaker to be successful.
  • You do not believe that it has failed, on the contrary.
  • It is exactly the same with those who come to listen to you.
  • The audience says that speakers are afraid to speak in public.
  • But, it is NEVER in the state of mind to aggravate the situation of the speaker in front of him.

Focus on the message you need to convey and forget about yourself as a person

  • The more you focus on yourself, the more likely you are to fall into a panic trap.
  • The message.
  • Your mind, your thoughts and your energy should be focused only on your message. Nothing more.
  • And I assure you that your fear will pass.

Do a quick “mind scan” of areas of tension before speaking in front of an audience.

  • Quickly detect areas of tension in the throat, shoulders, neck, stomach, etc.

One specialist showed that when we become aware of our areas of tension, we tend to relax simply by becoming aware of them. The more you become aware of these tense areas in your body, the easier it is to reduce them by saying to yourself,  “I realize that (name the tense area); I release this part of my body »

Georgia Tarrant
 | Website

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.