Glossophobia is the cool and scientific name for the fear of public speaking. It is believed to affect up to 75% of the population, making it one of the most common phobias in the world. But what if we told you that this disorder may not, well, exist? What if we told you that you could speak in front of thousands of people with absolute confidence and not a drop of sweat?

On this special episode of Figures of Speech, Tim Wikstrom and Tammy Palazzo investigate their theory that for most of us, the fear of public speaking is not a true phobia—it is a learned behavior imposed by society, our upbringings, and false perceptions around speaking in public.

This episode features interviews with two special guests:

Dr. Theo Tsaousides


Dr. Theo Tsaousides is a neuropsychologist who has served as a clinician, researcher, educator, supervisor, and trainer. He provides services to individuals, groups, and organizations locally and internationally. As a “brain-training expert,” he has extensive clinical and research experience in cognitive rehabilitation, a set of interventions that aim to improve a person’s ability to perform cognitive tasks, so that they can increase their productivity and quality of life.  More specifically, the strategies he teaches target the executive functions of the brain, a set of mental skills involved in goal achievement. Through intensive training and practice, he helps his clients use their brains more efficiently for the pursuit of their own goals.

Learn more about Dr. Theo Tsaousides on his website and check out his latest book, Brainblocks: Overcoming the 7 Hidden Barriers to Success.

Dr. John Arden


Dr. Arden’s work incorporates what is currently known about the brain and its capacities, including neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, with psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, psychotherapy research, mindfulness, nutritional neuroscience and social intelligence. His is the author of 15 books (translated into 20 languages), and has conducted seminars in all US States and 29 countries. Generally speaking, his work focuses on how we conceptualize mental health problems and their solutions. Learn more about Dr. John Arden on his website and check out his latest book, Mind-Brain-Gene: Towards Psychotherapy Integration.