There was a study done once that found that more people are afraid of public speaking then they are of death. This means at a funeral, more people would rather be in the coffin, then giving the eulogy over it.
If you are one of these people, then you suffer from Glossophobia, the clinical term for fear of public speaking. Glossophobia is thought to have its roots in childhood, beginning with students afraid of the teacher calling on them in class and only growing stronger as people grow older.
The problem with Glossophobia is sometimes spoken in public cannot be avoided so methods must be found to overcome this problem and help people learn to speak publicly with confidence.
Depending on which study you read, the methods to overcome speech anxiety vary. Some experts swear by visualization, the age old, ‘picture the audience in their underwear’ gambit.
Others swear by training such as with an organization like Toastmasters International or other speaking organizations.
Some experts swear that knowledge is power, the better the speaker knows the subject matter to be spoken on and better yet believes in what they are saying the greater the comfort level when speaking in public.
Still others turn to pharmaceutical help as certain drugs have been shown to reduce the anxiety associated with public speaking.
The one thing all the experts agree on is overcoming speech anxiety will not happen over night. Just as the problem developed over time, it will take time to alleviate it.
One method of alleviating the problem is exposure just as with any other phobia. People with speech anxiety are encouraged to find opportunities to speak in public with small and welcoming groups of people such as at work or church.
The things to remember are not taking yourself too seriously and understand that in most cases your audience is pulling for you and want you to succeed.
After all, as noted in the beginning, chances are none of the ones in the audience want to take your place behind the podium.
Speech anxiety or Glossophobia can be overcome if a person is willing to try different methods or combination of methods until they find the one that works for them.