Do You Blush When Speaking?

Woman_blushing_copyAccording to social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, author of Shyness, blushing can be a liability to people in business. A salesperson with the problem told him that it hindered his “involvement in many activities that my line of work leads me toward. Public speaking is out of the realm of possibility, small group discussions are rarely handled well, and occasionally, even face-to-face communication is difficult without showing signs of embarrassment.”

Another executive told Zimbardo that “the energy diverted by the shyness/blushing syndrome has undoubtedly prevented my movement into higher responsibility.”

Frequent and habitual blushers are called erythrophobes. Although women and young people are more likely to blush, it is a problem common to people of all races and skin pigmentations. Blushing usually has nothing to do with the ability to handle a tough situation. We have seen otherwise confident people show nervousness through blushing. And in some cases psychologist say that it can also connote low self esteem, low self confidence or unacknowledged shame.

If you’re an erythrophobe, for whatever reason, there is an easy superficial solution – cover up. Women can wear high necked blouses or dresses and a bit more makeup. Men can get higher riding shirts and specially tailored suits.

Depending on the root and severity of the problem, blushing can be helped by psychoanalytic treatment or behavior modification. There’s also another method, says Thomas Scheff, psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. This technique often works when you face the dilemma in a “real life” situation: Get your audience – be it one person or one thousand to laugh. If they laugh, the blush goes away very quickly.”

One comment on “Do You Blush When Speaking?

  1. Many years ago I read that blushing is caused by a flow of blood to the face. If you can stop the flow around your body and up to your face then you can stop the blushing. Best way to do this is to clench your toes (which hopefully nobody will see).
    I have no idea whether or not this explanation is baloney. But I do know that it has stopped me from blushing when I don’t want to. You might care to try it!