What is Stage Fright?


Glossophobia or speech anxiety is in its basis understanding, the fear of public speaking. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek words glossa, meaning tongue, and phobos, meaning fear or dread. So fear of the tongue. Sometimes, I think more people should have this, but not for the same reasons as we, the followers of this site have.

Many people, probably the majority, have this fear, while others may also have social phobia or social anxiety disorder. On birth, I think I won the trifecta.

Stage fright may be a symptom of "glossophobia".
Contents

* 1 Symptoms
* 2 Help and relief
* 3 See also
* 4 References

Symptoms

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 including severe physical symptoms like shortness of breath and actually shaking knees and legs and in such circumstances, possibly losing consciousness.

The more specific symptoms of speech anxiety can be grouped into three categories: physical, verbal, and non-verbal. Physical symptoms result from the Autonomic Nervous System responding to the situation with a “fight or flight” reaction. These symptoms include acute hearing, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, increased perspiration, increased oxygen intake, stiffening of neck/upper back muscles, and dry mouth. The verbal symptoms include, but are not limited to a tense voice, a quivering voice, and repetition of “Umms” and “Ahhs”—vocalized pauses—which tend to comfort anxious speakers. One form of speech anxiety is dysfunctional speech anxiety, in which the intensity of the “fight or flight” response prevents an individual from performing effectively.

Many people report stress-induced speech disorders which are only present during public speech. Some glossophobics have been able to dance, perform in public, or even to speak (such as in a play) or sing if they cannot see the audience, or if they feel that they are presenting a character or stage persona rather than themselves.

Help and Relief

Some organizations, such as Toastmasters International and Association of Speakers Clubs, and training courses in public speaking may help to reduce the fear to manageable levels. Self-help materials that address public speaking are among the best selling self-help topics. Some people have turned to certain types of drugs, to temporarily treat their phobia.

It is important to note that 95% of all speakers experience some form of anxiety/nervousness when public speaking (Hamilton, C. (2008/2005). Communicating for Results, a Guide for Business and the Professions (eighth edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth).

This the foundation we need to go forward.

/Terry

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