Fear Of Public Speaking
By Steve Hill
Social Phobia is an irrational anxiety brought forth by exposure to certain social situations, leading to avoidance behaviour.
Specific Phobia is a persistent and irrational fear in response to some specific stimulus, which commonly results in avoidance of/withdrawal from that stimulus. It could be triggered by an insect or animal (zoophobia), by a situation like being trapped in an enclosed space (claustrophobia) or it could be a fear of disease (pathophobia).
Though it feels real, the fear of public speaking or Glossophobia is what psychologists call "social construction". This means that it is not a natural phenomenon, but the result of something society has created. We expect it to cause fear and therefore, it causes fear.
Unfortunately it is this "fear of the fear" which causes the problem to perpetuate, creating a vicious cycle.
It is possible for a sufferer to change their attitude to public speaking and thus reduce their fear. If you can figure out exactly what it is about public speaking that scares you, then you can begin to see what you might be able to do about it. This analysis will help you to change your feelings.
For example, if you regard the thought that people might laugh at you to be an important factor in your fear, you should ask yourself when they have laughed at you before. If they only laughed when you wanted them to, then your fear is unreal. Such reflection can make a positive change in your attitude to public speaking.
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