Updated June 10, 2022

Fear of Public Speaking Statistics and How to Overcome It


You're not alone. Read about the percentage of people who fear public speaking and scientific ways to beat it.

The thought of giving a speech in front of a crowd sends chills down your spine. But you're not alone.

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. It's a common phenomenon that millions of people struggle with. This condition has the potential to significantly affect your personal and professional relationships. As well as your overall quality of life.

Overcoming glossophobia can be challenging, but it's not impossible. If you're equipped with the right tools.

Below are key statistics on the fear of public speaking to illustrate just how many people it affects.

Glossophobia Facts and Figures

Glossophobia is simply the medical term for fear of public speaking. It can be overcome by many and easily.

Let's see how many people grapple with a fear of public speaking. And what factors influence its development.

What percentage of people fear public speaking?
Around 75% of the population struggles with a fear of public speaking to a certain degree. That means over 200 million people feel nervous about talking to others.

Are men or women more likely to be fearful?
When speaking in front of an audience, men are more at ease. One survey found that 44% of women said they were afraid of public speaking while 37% of men agreed.

Does education affect glossophobia rates?
The more educated you are, the more comfortable you may be with speaking in front of others. In one poll, 24% of college graduates expressed a fear of public speaking. Meanwhile, 52% of respondents who had a high school diploma or less also felt that fear.

What about race?
Surprisingly, there's a slight racial divide in glossophobia proneness. In the same poll mentioned above, 43% of white people felt jittery about public speaking. But only 34% of people of other races said the same.

Anxiety and Social Anxiety (Social Phobia)

Many who suffer from glossophobia, do so as a result of social anxiety. Anxiety is a very prevalent mental health condition. Here's how it affects Americans.

How many Americans experience anxiety?
More than a third of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. But only 36.9% of them seek treatment.

How common is social anxiety disorder?
An estimated 12.1% of U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

What's the lifetime prevalence rate for anxiety?
Lifetime prevalence refers to the number of people who will experience a particular condition at some point. The worldwide lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders is 16.6%.

At what age does social anxiety disorder typically develop?
Social anxiety disorder usually starts in the early years. Among people who seek treatment as adults, most developed the condition before their 20s.

How harmful are anxiety disorders?
Short term, anxiety can increase your breathing and heart rate, concentrating blood flow to your brain. This response prepares you to face an intense situation.

If it gets too intense, you can feel lightheaded and nauseous.

Meanwhile, a persistent state of anxiety can have a bad effect on your physical and mental health.

What's the financial cost of anxiety?
The annual medical costs associated with anxiety disorders are estimated at $1657.52 per person. Or $33.71 billion in total.

Almost 93% of the overall cost is made up of:

  • Inpatient visits
  • Prescription medications
  • Office-based visits

Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

Maybe you struggle with speaking in social situations. Or your button-lipped tendencies are making it difficult to get ahead at work. You're in luck.

Here is a list of tips to help loosen your tongue. And they are backed by scientific evidence.

Use visualization techniques
Picturing yourself doing something first often makes it easier to approach a difficult situation. And research has shown that to be true with public speaking.

A study found that those who visualized themselves giving an effective speech reported feeling less anxiety overall.

Breathe
When you're nervous, your heart rate and breathing accelerate. But getting it under control can eliminate some of your anxiety.

An Australian study examined 46 musicians breathing deeply 30 minutes before they went on stage. Those who did report feeling less tense and anxious during their performance.

Can meditation help with anxiety?
Meditating regularly can have a calming effect on your physical and mental state. This can make speaking in public less stressful. An analysis of 47 research revealed that engaging in mindful meditation practice for 8 weeks can reduce anxiety levels.

Assume the proper posture
If you're about to go out in front of a crowd, you may feel weak in the knees. But that's the time you should be standing firm.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy demonstrates that assuming a "power pose" while speaking boosts confidence. And it improves your audience's perceptions.

Get moving
Getting your blood pumping before a public speaking engagement can help to relieve some anxiety. A study found that students who increased their physical activity level had decreased nervousness about public speaking.

Give acupuncture a shot
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice. It's still used today to ease pain and treat certain illnesses.

In a Harvard study of pregnant women, the use of acupuncture correlated to reduced levels of anxiety and depression. Both of which can be experienced by glossophobia sufferers.

Can music help anxiety?
Listening to relaxing music before you get up in front of a crowd can help you get your nerves under control. Numerous studies have linked listening to music to reduced stress and improved health. Also, marked reductions in anxiety levels.

Get excited (or at least pretend to)
When you're dreading giving a speech, pumping yourself up mentally can improve your performance.

In a Harvard University study people were asked to say "I am excited." or "I am calm." before a speech. They scored better overall in terms of length, quality, and performance.

Talk it over
Talking about your fear of public speaking in a therapeutic session requires an investment of time and money. But it can improve the odds of seeing results.

According to a 2013 study from Stanford University, therapy can help recondition the response to fear of public speaking.

Bottom Line

For public speaking, feeling the fear and doing it anyway may not be the most proactive approach. Instead, training your mind to focus on giving the best performance possible can keep you from feeling like a deer in the headlights.

Fear of public speaking can sometimes point to something deeper. If you suspect you may suffer from anxiety, you should consult a doctor. A third of Americans who have an anxiety disorder go untreated.

If not, you can practice some of the listed ways to relieve glossophobia.

Sources and References:

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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