Post # 1
I recently learned that I have to give a big presentation at work next month. I have a major public speaking fear. My heart starts racing, I get really cold, my teeth start chattering, the skin on my face gets tight and twitches, my tongue feels huge, and I choke on my words. In other words, I have physical symptoms that make it really hard for me to calm down and get my words out.
The usual advice (be prepared, take deep breaths, focus on your message and not the people) is good but doesn’t help me much, because I get so worked up.
Has anyone overcome a serious public speaking fear? How did you do it? Medication? Therapy?
Post # 3
See if there is a Toastmaster’s club in your area. It’s a really good program that helps with speaking in public. I also share this same fear, but I had to get over it since my job is now actually doing all of the presentations for the company. For me, I just have to continously remind myself to calm down and slow down. Toastmasters and having that practice really helped as well. Maybe get some friends together and practice? Will it be in front of co workers that you see on a day to day basis? If so, maybe see if you can arrange for someon to get into the room early and sit upfront. They can be your confidence booster. Good luck! you can do it!
Post # 4
@souliganprincess: Thanks. Toastmasters is a good idea – I am sure there is one in my area. Honestly. I am nervous even to sign up for that, lol! But I gotta start somewhere.
ETA: Yeah, it’s just in front of coworkers, most of whom I see daily. If I could be rational about it, I would realize it’s not a big deal. But it feels like the end of the world to me!
Post # 5
I don’t have any answers for you, because I am equally, if not more, terrified of public speaking. I can’t wait to see the answers to your question.
Post # 6
Maybe ask your doctor for beta blockers. Ive heard they help control all the physical symptoms of anxiety (such as heart racing fast, palms sweating, etc) but they do not help the mental anxiety of it. However, sometimes when your body feels anxious it makes you even more anxious!
Post # 7
Can you practice speaking in the space where you’ll be doing this infront of everyone?
Can be a huge help, making the area routine, the unfamiliarity may help your nerves.
Can you ask one/few colleagues to listen to you there on a break, lunch hour?
I speak infront of large groups for a living (sometimes small, but I honestly like the big groups more) and thrive off a big crowd, if ever I am nervous it’s the content of what I am speaking about and I really make a detailed list of what I am speaking on and ensure I follow my track/order on the list and focusing on covering my list and ensuring I say everything takes over any fears I may have about actuallly spitting it out!
Post # 8
Practice, Practice, Practice! And not just “in your head” actually go through and speak the entire presentation. Do it several times, the more the better.
And have your closest “work friend” sit in the front row. If you start to feel shakey-nervous, just stare at that friend in the front row.
Post # 9
Thanks for the good advice, all! I feel a little better already just for having talked about it.