Many people have a fear of public speaking, but have to
do it as part of their jobs. I know
first-hand what this feels like as I used to have to make presentations and I
was usually very anxious right before presenting. Many people will actually experience mild
panic attacks before speaking in public.
So what does this fear of public speaking feel like and
how can one overcome it? It might look
something like this: You are a little
anxious and have trouble sleeping the night before. You may take medication or have a drink
thinking it will help you fall asleep. You
drink a little extra coffee because you have trouble waking up. The extra caffeine makes you more anxious and
a bit jittery. You review the
presentation in your mind over and over to make sure you dont leave anything
out. You get to the meeting and have
trouble concentrating. Right before the
presentation you begin to sweat and your heart is pounding. You have trouble breathing and might start to
The good thing about a panic attack like this is that it
will go away fairly quickly after the presentation. The bad thing is that it leaves you
physically and mentally exhausted. By
the time the anxiety kicks in it is probably too late to start it. The key is preparing to sure the anxiety does
not set in.
Some forms of anxiety can be treated with prescription
drugs, but these should not be used if you are going to speak in public. Many of these medications will slow you down
to the point that you may not be able to focus.
The best thing to do is get on a natural anxiety
treatment program. This will need to be
ongoing as treating any kind of anxiety is not a quick fix. A natural anxiety treatment may include
things like breathing exercises or meditation to help teach you how to
relax. It should include maintaining a
good diet and getting enough sleep and exercise. It might also include herbal treatments or
Another trick that works for some people is
visualization. You can sit in a quiet
room, close your eyes and put yourself in the setting where you will be
speaking. But when you visualize looking
out over the crowd, you dont visualize the audience. You visualize a room full of friends and
visualize the presentation being more like a conversation with friends than an
actual presentation or speech. If you
practice this a few times, you should be able to pretend the audience is a
group of friends when you give the actual presentation.
The key in ending your fear of public speaking will be
preparation and retraining the way you think.