How common is the fear of public speaking? So common that comedian Jerry Seinfeld wrote a joke about the fact it is more feared than death – as well as spiders and heights. The official name for fear of public speaking in extreme cases is glossophobia, which is a combination of the Greek words for "tongue or language" and "fear."
Glossophobia sufferers may freeze up in front of their audience and can experience sweating, dry mouth, a weak voice, and trembling. But having an "audience" doesn't only refer to being in front of a large group. Public speaking can also include dates, job interviews, and getting called on in class.
It is not known exactly how many people have glossophobia, but it is estimated that about 75% of the population has experienced some form of public speaking fear. Many people are able to work through their fear and carry on with the task at hand. Some people do not experience any fear at all. So what causes glossophobia, and why are people scared of public speaking?