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Q: Fear of Public Speaking ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Fear of Public Speaking
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: gboomer-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 31 Jul 2002 15:10 PDT
Expires: 30 Aug 2002 15:10 PDT
Question ID: 47686
where does Public Speaking rank in top 20 fears?  what are the top 20 fears?

Request for Question Clarification by mwalcoff-ga on 31 Jul 2002 20:42 PDT
Do you require a list of 20? What about a list of the top 10, if
public speaking is on it?

Clarification of Question by gboomer-ga on 01 Aug 2002 10:27 PDT
I would be happy with top 10.  I am doing some research on the topic
and 1) anticipating the public speaking is #1 fear followed by death,
heights, etc.

Top 10 would be fine. 

Thanks for asking.
Subject: Re: Fear of Public Speaking
Answered By: mwalcoff-ga on 01 Aug 2002 11:08 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Public speaking ranks first, second and sixth among the most-common
phobias of Americans, according to three different surveys.

The CMT Newsletter (
includes a survey of 3,000 Americans:

1. Public speaking (41%)
2. Heights (32%)
3. Insects and bugs (22%)
4. Financial problems (22%)
5. Deep water (22%)... (see Web page for more)

The newsletter says the information comes from a Dale Carnegie
management training seminar. (CMT is a nerve disease.)

A college professor (
quotes a Gallup Poll stating that the top fears are:

1. snakes
2. public speaking
3. heights
4. claustrophobia
5. spiders and insects
6. needles and shots
7. mice
8. flying

Unfortunately, the URL for the Gallup Poll itself leads to a pay site.
An excerpt is available at
Another researcher mentions the Gallup Poll at

The Discovery Channel
( conducted a
poll that found these results:

1. Fear of Snakes 
2. Fear of Being Buried Alive 
3. Fear of Heights 
4. Fear of Being Bound or Tied Up 
5. Fear of Drowning 
6. Fear of Public Speaking 
7. Fear of Hell 
8. Fear of Cancer 
9. Fear of Tornadoes and Hurricanes 
10. Fear of Fire 

I wish there was a clearer answer, but different polls sometimes get
different results. I hope this answer helps you out.

Search strategy:

public speaking heights fears poll

Gallup poll heights fear

"public speaking" heights fears survey
gboomer-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thanks.  1st time using Google Answer.  I think this is a great
'value-add' service, impressive results and turnaround, and am willing
to pay for it.

Thanks for your help.  Clear, concise and what I asked for.  Cheers

Subject: Re: Fear of Public Speaking
From: expertlaw-ga on 31 Jul 2002 21:13 PDT
Here's an interesting variant:

Prevalence of intense fears and phobia

1.  Snakes (253/1000 population)
2.  Heights (120/1000 population)
3.  Flying (109/1000)
4.  Enclosures (50/1000)
5.  Illness (33/1000)
6.  Death (33/1000)
7.  Injury (23/1000)
8.  Storms (31/1000)
9.  Dentists (24/1000)
10. Journeys alone (16/1000)
11. Being alone (10/1000)

Note that this list does not relate to less intense phobias, such as
the extremely common fear of public speaking.
Subject: Re: Fear of Public Speaking
From: historybuff-ga on 31 Jul 2002 21:22 PDT
Hello gboomer,

I was unable to locate a "top 10" or "top 20" fears. USA Today
recently had a statistic or chart on the percentage of people with a
fear of public speaking, and I recall it being pretty close to if not
THE most common fear, but I could not find it online.
Professional literature puts fear of public speaking under phobias and
anxiety disorders.  More specifically, you will find it under "social
phobias" Here is an informative document from the National Institute
of Mental Health (NIMH). Just select the "social phobias" link:


Subject: Re: Fear of Public Speaking
From: sublime1-ga on 31 Jul 2002 22:13 PDT
Hi gboomer...

A recent ABC Special by the director of the movie 'The Sixth Sense', asked the
question during a segue, which of several things constituted the most common
fear. I don't recall the other things, but the top-rated fear was that of 
public speaking. The special was called Signs of Fear:


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