What is scarier than death?
Angelique Foran, Psychologist, Cumberland Park SA
10th April 2018

Overcoming fear of public speaking

Your voice is cracking and your palms are sweaty, yes it’s time to stand up and deliver that speech.    For about ten percent of the population delivering a speech causes such an intense anxiety response they will do anything to avoid this situation.  It is often quoted that public speaking is the number one fear for most people and the second is death!

Psychologists are called upon to help people with ‘glossophobia’ as the fear of public speaking is a well-recognised anxiety issue. The usual way to treat this fear is with education,  improved thoughts about public speaking, practice some behavioural strategies and then start public speaking. However, most people find it really difficult to start the public speaking even with the help of a psychologist. Now psychologists at ThinkWise can add in virtual reality (VR) to help you practice public speaking before facing a real audience. VR based therapy has been shown to be more acceptable than traditional approaches for fear of public speaking.

Top things people fear when public speaking are: voice shaking, forgetting what to say, technical problems, someone heckling and the audience not laughing. Using virtual reality provides a low stress way to work any of these fears with public speaking. With your VR headset on, you can choose where you want to practice your public speaking. It might be in front of a small group, or maybe in an office or even in a large auditorium. With the VR on you can have people make positive comments and you can learn to cope with negative comments.  Another skill that can be practiced is coping with distractions and having the audience ask questions of increasing difficulty.

With virtual reality treatment you now have your best chance of managing that overwhelming fear that can stop you from giving oral presentations at school or work, or even speaking up in front of small tutorial groups or in work meetings. If you would like to come along and try out this exciting new treatment please give us a call.

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