The fear of public speaking is called glossophobia, from the Greek glosso-, meaning tongue, and phobia, fear or dread. It is believed to be the single most common phobia, affecting as much as 75% of all people. Glossophobia is considered a social phobia and may be linked to or sometimes precede a more severe anxiety disorder.
Symptoms include intense anxiety prior to or simply at the thought of having to verbally communicate with any group, avoidance of events which focus the group's attention on individuals in attendance, and may even include physical distress, nausea, or feelings of panic in such circumstances. Many people report stress-induced speech disorders which are only present during public speech. Some glossophobics have been able to dance or perform in public as long as they do not have to speak, or even speak or sing as long as they cannot see the audience.
Some organizations, such as Toastmasters International, and training courses in public speaking may help to reduce the fear to manageable levels. Self-help materials that address public speaking are among the best selling self-help topics.