The fear of public speaking is probably the most common phobia I deal with in my practice. Statistics for the United Kingdom show it to be even more common than the fear of death; which I suppose goes to show many people would rather die than to have to speak in public!
The phobia generally has two aspects; a crippling panic when actually performing is just one part. Additionally and even worse for many people is the dread that goes beforehand. People with this phobia can spend days imagining the event, (usually going badly), over and over again, leading to high stress levels and loss of sleep. It can be quite debilitating and exhausting. Many famous figures throughout history have been victims, including movie stars like Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. Even the "father of psycho-analysis", Sigmund Freud himself was a sufferer.
Unfortunately for Dr Freud, he was not around in the 1970's to see the discoveries being made in the field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), which have transformed the treatment of many phobias. Nowadays, NLP practitioners are able to teach people the skills needed to be calm and confident in front of an audience, and perhaps even more important, how to avoid worrying about the speaking engagement beforehand and actually look forward to it!
If you want to find out more, drop me a line via my website or pick up the phone and call 021 487 6072. One or two sessions is usually all it takes.