“People think actresses find public speaking easy, and it’s not easy at all; we’re used to hiding behind masks.” -Jane Fonda
I’ve frequently observed that many people’s top-ranking fear is not death but having to speak in public. The joke is that these individuals would rather lay in a casket at their own funeral than give the eulogy.
Speaking in public for people who experience panic attacks or general anxiety often becomes a significant source of worry, most likely weeks or even months before the speaking occasion is to take place.
Some of these speaking engagements don’t really need to be the conventional “on a podium” events; they could be as simple as an office meeting in which the individual is expected to convey a viewpoint or perhaps give verbal feedback.
In this case, the concern centers on having a panic attack when speaking.
The individuals fear becoming incapacitated by the anxiousness and hence unable to complete what they’re saying.
They picture fleeing the spotlight and having to make all sorts of justifications later for their undignified departure -out the workplace window.
This varies slightly from the majority of people that fear public speaking.
With other people, their fear tends to center around going blank while speaking or feeling uneasy under the spotlight of their peers.
The jitters or nervousness are, obviously, a problem for this group as well-but they’re not familiar with that debilitating danger, the anxiety attack, because they probably haven’t suffered one before.
So how should a person with an anxiety issue tackle public speaking?
Phase one is accepting that all of these bizarre and, quite frankly, unnerving sensations aren’t going to disappear right away.
In reality, you’re certainly not likely to concern yourself with getting rid of them for the next talk.
Once they arrive during a speech or gathering, you’re going to approach them in a whole new manner.
We need to build your confidence back to where it was previously before any of these reactions ever occurred.
This time, you’ll approach it in a unique, empowering manner, allowing you to sense your self-confidence once again.
Some state that the majority of the best speakers are riddled with anxiety before a seminar, but they somehow make use of this nervousness to enhance their speech.
My first point is this, and it’s important:
The typical healthy person can encounter a severe variety of anxiety and extremely uncomfortable sensations while delivering a presentation and is in no threat of ever losing control, or even appearing somewhat nervous to the audience.
Regardless of how challenging it gets, you’ll always finish your piece-even if, in the beginning, it seems extremely unpleasant to continue.
You won’t turn out to be debilitated by any means. The genuine breakthrough occurs once you fully believe you’re not at risk and that the feelings are going to go by.
By asking for more, you’re saying: “I realize that you the anxiety possess absolutely no threat over me.”
What keeps an anxiety attack coming again and again is the fear of the fear-the fear that the next one will really knock your socks off and the feeling that you were lucky to have made it past the previous one unharmed.
Because they were so unnerving and frightening, it’s your self-confidence that’s been damaged by earlier anxiety episodes. Once you fully understand that you’re not under any kind of threat, and then you can have a new reaction to the anxiousness as it arises while speaking.
There’s often a turning point when a person moves from general anxiousness into a panic attack, and that happens with speaking in public if you think to yourself – I won’t be able to cope with this in front of these people.
That split second of self-doubt leads to a blast of adrenaline, and the intense anxiety arrives in a wavelike format.
If, however, you feel the original anxiety and respond with confidence that this isn’t a danger to you, you’ll experience the anxiety quickly.
How to get over the fear of public speaking
Using this new approach is an effective friend because it means it’s okay to feel scared and anxious while speaking.
That’s fine-you’ll feel it, and you’ll move with and through the sensations within your body and out the other side.
Because people are usually very anxious before the talk has started, they may feel they’ve already let themselves down.
Now you can relax on that point. It’s perfectly natural to feel the anxiety.
Take, for example, the worst of the sensations you’ve ever suffered in this situation-be it general unease or even loss of breath.
You’ll have an initial automatic response that says:
“Danger-I’m going to experience an episode of anxiousness right here, and I truly can’t afford for that to happen.”
At this time, many people respond to that thought and concur that it must be true because of all the unusual sensations they’re going through.
This is when your train of thought produces a cycle of anxiety that generates a negative impact on your entire presenting skills.
So let that initial “Oh dear, not now” thought pass by, and immediately follow it up with the attitude of: “There you are-I’ve been pondering when you would arrive. I’ve been anticipating you to show up. By the way, I’m not in the slightest anxious by any of the unusual feelings you’re creating. I’m completely secure right here.”
Rather than forcing the emotional energy and excitement down into your belly, you’re shifting through it.
Your body is in a slightly fired up state, exactly as it should be while giving a speech-so discharge that energy in your self-expression.
Drive it out through your presentation, not down into your stomach.
Push it out by expressing yourself more forcefully.
By doing this, you turn the anxiousness to your benefit by using it to produce a presentation; you’ll become much more alive, energetic, and in the present moment.
Once you observe the anxiety decrease, because it does when you willingly step into it, fire off a quick thought when you get a momentary break (as I’m sure you have between pieces), and ask it for “more.”
You would like more of its intense sensations because you’re enthusiastic about them and by no means threatened by them.
Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking
It looks like many things to be thinking about while speaking to a group of people, nevertheless it really isn’t.
You’d be amazed at how many different, completely unrelated thoughts you can get while talking.
This approach concerns adopting a new attitude of confidence as to what you may have regarded a serious threat up until now.
If your predominant concern with speaking is driven by a feeling of becoming stuck, then I recommend factoring in some mental releases which can be prepared before the event.
For example, some events allow you to turn the attention back to the room to acquire opinions, etc., from the crowd.
If at all possible, prepare these kinds of options within your head before the engagements.
This isn’t to say that you need to use them, but people in this predicament often remark that just having tiny chances where attention could be diverted for the briefest moment makes the process appear less daunting.
It could even be something as simple as having people introduce themselves or opening the floor to questions.
I understand these kinds of diversions aren’t always possible and depend on the situation, but anything you can take into account that makes you feel less stuck or under the spotlight is definitely worth the energy.
>>>Check out Panic Away to learn more ways to cope with public speaking anxiety.
P.S. I am an affiliate for this product and will receive a commission on any sales. 🙂