I heard the surely fake statistic that the number one fear in America is Public Speaking. Yes, second to death. While that may not be an accurate statistic, it demonstrates that degree to which glossophobia (fear of public speaking) is feared and dreaded. Some more than others. I know that I am numbered among the ones who have an extreme case of glossophobia.
As an individual born with a hearing impairment and struggling to hear all my life (with the help of my hearing aids) and undergoing speech therapy, I always had social anxiety... so when public speaking is something I need to do... I almost have a panic attack -- except in front of a large audience.
I am presenting my research at huge academic conference in a few weeks, and I'm losing sleep over it even now. I know that whenever I present anything, I cannot speak clearly (stammering-stuttering) or articulate my thoughts (I lose my train of thoughts, which perpetuates my fear and anxiety), I shake and tremble and nervously fidget as I hold my paper/script (which is distracting to the audience, and often causes me to lose my spot), and I my mouth becomes excessively dry... (often there will be a cup of water available at these things, but I'll go right through that), and then I feel like I don't have enough saliva to even speak and I'm worried I won't be able to speak. I also sweat a lot. My heart races. I cannot look up at the audience. It's like a surge of adrenaline overtakes me. How do I prevent this from occurring?
Why does it even have it? I always try to give myself a pep talk beforehand that no one is going to eat me and it's all going to be okay, and they're just people too... but no matter what, my body freaks out when it comes to public speaking. What is it about speaking in front of the people that causes so much fear?