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How to Manage Public Speaking Anxiety

Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

extreme presentation anxiety

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

extreme presentation anxiety

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Speech Anxiety and SAD

How to prepare for a speech.

Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia , is one of the most commonly reported social fears.

While some people may feel nervous about giving a speech or presentation if you have social anxiety disorder (SAD) , public speaking anxiety may take over your life.

Public speaking anxiety may also be called speech anxiety or performance anxiety and is a type of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety disorder, also sometimes referred to as social phobia, is one of the most common types of mental health conditions.

Public Speaking Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of public speaking anxiety are the same as those that occur for social anxiety disorder, but they only happen in the context of speaking in public.

If you live with public speaking anxiety, you may worry weeks or months in advance of a speech or presentation, and you probably have severe physical symptoms of anxiety during a speech, such as:

  • Pounding heart
  • Quivering voice
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upset stomach

Causes of Public Speaking Anxiety

These symptoms are a result of the fight or flight response —a rush of adrenaline that prepares you for danger. When there is no real physical threat, it can feel as though you have lost control of your body. This makes it very hard to do well during public speaking and may cause you to avoid situations in which you may have to speak in public.

How Is Public Speaking Anxiety Is Diagnosed

Public speaking anxiety may be diagnosed as SAD if it significantly interferes with your life. This fear of public speaking anxiety can cause problems such as:

  • Changing courses at college to avoid a required oral presentation
  • Changing jobs or careers
  • Turning down promotions because of public speaking obligations
  • Failing to give a speech when it would be appropriate (e.g., best man at a wedding)

If you have intense anxiety symptoms while speaking in public and your ability to live your life the way that you would like is affected by it, you may have SAD.

Public Speaking Anxiety Treatment

Fortunately, effective treatments for public speaking anxiety are avaible. Such treatment may involve medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.

Short-term therapy such as systematic desensitization and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful to learn how to manage anxiety symptoms and anxious thoughts that trigger them.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist who can offer this type of therapy; in particular, it will be helpful if the therapist has experience in treating social anxiety and/or public speaking anxiety.

Research has also found that virtual reality (VR) therapy can also be an effective way to treat public speaking anxiety. One analysis found that students treated with VR therapy were able to experience positive benefits in as little as a week with between one and 12 sessions of VR therapy. The research also found that VR sessions were effective while being less invasive than in-person treatment sessions.

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If you live with public speaking anxiety that is causing you significant distress, ask your doctor about medication that can help. Short-term medications known as beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol) can be taken prior to a speech or presentation to block the symptoms of anxiety.

Other medications may also be prescribed for longer-term treatment of SAD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). When used in conjunction with therapy, you may find the medication helps to reduce your phobia of public speaking.

In addition to traditional treatment, there are several strategies that you can use to cope with speech anxiety and become better at public speaking in general . Public speaking is like any activity—better preparation equals better performance. Being better prepared will boost your confidence and make it easier to concentrate on delivering your message.

Even if you have SAD, with proper treatment and time invested in preparation, you can deliver a successful speech or presentation.

Pre-Performance Planning

Taking some steps to plan before you give a speech can help you better control feelings of anxiety. Before you give a speech or public performance:

  • Choose a topic that interests you . If you are able, choose a topic that you are excited about. If you are not able to choose the topic, try using an approach to the topic that you find interesting. For example, you could tell a personal story that relates to the topic as a way to introduce your speech. This will ensure that you are engaged in your topic and motivated to research and prepare. When you present, others will feel your enthusiasm and be interested in what you have to say.
  • Become familiar with the venue . Ideally, visit the conference room, classroom, auditorium, or banquet hall where you will be presenting before you give your speech. If possible, try practicing at least once in the environment that you will be speaking in. Being familiar with the venue and knowing where needed audio-visual components are ahead of time will mean one less thing to worry about at the time of your speech.
  • Ask for accommodations . Accommodations are changes to your work environment that help you to manage your anxiety. This might mean asking for a podium, having a pitcher of ice water handy, bringing in audiovisual equipment, or even choosing to stay seated if appropriate. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder such as social anxiety disorder (SAD), you may be eligible for these through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Don’t script it . Have you ever sat through a speech where someone read from a prepared script word for word? You probably don’t recall much of what was said. Instead, prepare a list of key points on paper or notecards that you can refer to.
  • Develop a routine . Put together a routine for managing anxiety on the day of a speech or presentation. This routine should help to put you in the proper frame of mind and allow you to maintain a relaxed state. An example might be exercising or practicing meditation on the morning of a speech.

Practice and Visualization

Even people who are comfortable speaking in public rehearse their speeches many times to get them right. Practicing your speech 10, 20, or even 30 times will give you confidence in your ability to deliver.

If your talk has a time limit, time yourself during practice runs and adjust your content as needed to fit within the time that you have. Lots of practice will help boost your self-confidence .

  • Prepare for difficult questions . Before your presentation, try to anticipate hard questions and critical comments that might arise, and prepare responses ahead of time. Deal with a difficult audience member by paying them a compliment or finding something that you can agree on. Say something like, “Thanks for that important question” or “I really appreciate your comment.” Convey that you are open-minded and relaxed. If you don’t know how to answer the question, say you will look into it.
  • Get some perspective . During a practice run, speak in front of a mirror or record yourself on a smartphone. Make note of how you appear and identify any nervous habits to avoid. This step is best done after you have received therapy or medication to manage your anxiety.
  • Imagine yourself succeeding . Did you know your brain can’t tell the difference between an imagined activity and a real one? That is why elite athletes use visualization to improve athletic performance. As you practice your speech (remember 10, 20, or even 30 times!), imagine yourself wowing the audience with your amazing oratorical skills. Over time, what you imagine will be translated into what you are capable of.
  • Learn to accept some anxiety . Even professional performers experience a bit of nervous excitement before a performance—in fact, most believe that a little anxiety actually makes you a better speaker. Learn to accept that you will always be a little anxious about giving a speech, but that it is normal and common to feel this way.

Setting Goals

Instead of trying to just scrape by, make it a personal goal to become an excellent public speaker. With proper treatment and lots of practice, you can become good at speaking in public. You might even end up enjoying it!

Put things into perspective. If you find that public speaking isn’t one of your strengths, remember that it is only one aspect of your life. We all have strengths in different areas. Instead, make it a goal simply to be more comfortable in front of an audience, so that public speaking anxiety doesn’t prevent you from achieving other goals in life.

A Word From Verywell

In the end, preparing well for a speech or presentation gives you confidence that you have done everything possible to succeed. Give yourself the tools and the ability to succeed, and be sure to include strategies for managing anxiety. These public-speaking tips should be used to complement traditional treatment methods for SAD, such as therapy and medication.

Crome E, Baillie A. Mild to severe social fears: Ranking types of feared social situations using item response theory . J Anxiety Disord . 2014;28(5):471-479. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.05.002

Pull CB. Current status of knowledge on public-speaking anxiety . Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012;25(1):32-8. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32834e06dc

Goldstein DS. Adrenal responses to stress . Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010;30(8):1433-40. doi:10.1007/s10571-010-9606-9

Anderson PL, Zimand E, Hodges LF, Rothbaum BO. Cognitive behavioral therapy for public-speaking anxiety using virtual reality for exposure . Depress Anxiety. 2005;22(3):156-8. doi:10.1002/da.20090

Hinojo-Lucena FJ, Aznar-Díaz I, Cáceres-Reche MP, Trujillo-Torres JM, Romero-Rodríguez JM. Virtual reality treatment for public speaking anxiety in students. advancements and results in personalized medicine .  J Pers Med . 2020;10(1):14. doi:10.3390/jpm10010014

Steenen SA, van Wijk AJ, van der Heijden GJ, van Westrhenen R, de Lange J, de Jongh A. Propranolol for the treatment of anxiety disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis . J Psychopharmacol (Oxford). 2016;30(2):128-39. doi:10.1177/0269881115612236

By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.

Nick Morgan Ph.D.

How to Reduce the Anxiety of Public Speaking

Most people hate it. here's one way to hate it less..

Posted November 22, 2021 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch

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Anxiety and stress go with public speaking for all but a lucky few. Now a recent study underscores the importance of recognizing and accepting those emotions rather than trying to deny them. According to the study, if you journal about your anxieties and stress, and accept them, letting them run their course, the result is improved mental health compared to the rest of us who judge ourselves. The negative moods don’t last as long and are not as powerful.

I like this strategy. Denying that I was anxious was certainly my standard operating procedure when I was beginning in the business, first as an actor and then as a speaker on speaking, communications, storytelling, and body language . Denial didn’t help me, of course, just as it has helped no one else, and it wasn’t long before my anxiety was reaching epic proportions and the beginnings of speeches were going by in a blur of adrenaline. I had to do something, and so began my lifelong pursuit of ways to reduce the pain of public speaking for myself and others.

In these early days, it never occurred to me to look straight into the heart of darkness: the anxious core of public speaking, the self-consciousness that intrudes when we feel exposed standing before a group of people. Most of my methods involved tricking or distracting my brain long enough to give the speech and get to the bar. For example, getting some moderate exercise before a speech allows some of the nervous energy to dissipate so that you are calmer than you otherwise would be. Meditating can work, too, for those who have some experience with that form of mental discipline. My favorite distraction from those days turned out to be having the airline lose my luggage – with my speaking suit in it – so that I had to go shopping at 9:00 before the speech at 10:00. Good thing I could walk right into a 42 Long. I was so distracted by the suit crisis that I never got nervous for the speech.

That’s an expensive distraction, however, and I don’t recommend it as a long-term solution. Also, I started carrying my suit in my carry-on luggage, so the tactic no longer worked in any case.

My father passed away the day before a speech years ago, and I was too distraught to be nervous. But again, I don’t recommend that as a permanent solution, since our supply of fathers is generally limited to one or two.

Eventually, I focused on three truly helpful strategies.

1. A simple physical exercise that helps control anxiety: deep, slow breathing. The key is to breathe out on a longer count than the in-breath.

2. Positive self-talk . Find your mantra and repeat it ad infinitum. Whenever you have a dull moment, whenever you are nervous or anxious about an upcoming speech, and whenever you have trouble sleeping . I’ve used this technique for years, and I’m pleased to say I’ve just about wiped my mental slate clean of debilitating negative patterns of thinking. I’ve also witnessed many clients and friends benefitting from this technique. If it sounds New-Agey to you, get over yourself and get to work. In the long run, you’ll thank me.

3. Finally, the most powerful technique for getting over stage fright is to realize that a speech is not about you, but about the audience. Put yourself in service to the audience in front of you, get out of your own way, and think about them. You will be liberated and even find the joy in public speaking, and that is indeed a good place for both audience and speaking to be.

Now we can add journaling to our arsenal of mental weapons designed to keep anxiety and stress at bay. May we all write our way to the calm after the storm.

Nick Morgan Ph.D.

Nick Morgan, Ph.D. , is president of Public Words Inc., a communications consulting company, and the author of books including Can You Hear Me?: How to Connect with People in a Virtual World.

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How to not be nervous for a presentation — 13 tips that work (really!)

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Why do I get nervous before presenting?

How not to be nervous when presenting, 5 techniques to control your nerves, quotes for inspiration, speak with confidence.

If you feel nervous or scared about talking to someone new, giving a speech, or being on stage, rest assured: you’re not alone. 

Experiencing symptoms of performance anxiety like an increased heart rate, trembling hands, or excessive sweating is perfectly normal. In fact, people often fear public speaking . But the more you’re immersed in these types of situations, the more comfortable you’ll become . 

We’ll explore how to not be nervous for a presentation and offer inspirational quotes to help you step out of your comfort zone.

Man Speaking Through A Microphone In Dark Conference Hall-1

Based on data from the National Social Anxiety Center, fear of public speaking is the most common phobia . The official term for this fear is glossophobia, colloquially termed stage fright.

Stage fright typically arises from the perception that when you're in front of a group of people, they'll judge you. The brain’s frontal lobe aids in memory, and when we’re stressed, increased stress hormones temporarily shut that region down . This is what causes us to freeze up and stop talking. 

There’s nothing wrong with being nervous. We all have different social comfort zones, communication styles, and presentation skills. But we can expand and improve our skills if we’re cognitively flexible .

Cognitive flexibility plays a big role in our behavior and attitudes and impacts our performance. You can use your fears as a catalyst for growth and learning — including giving a great presentation.

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The following techniques will help you shift your thinking from reactive to proactive to combat nerves throughout the presentation experience:

Before the presentation:

Student girl preparing for presentation writing notes in her computer at home-how-to-not-be-nervous-for-a-presentation

1. Know your topic

Don’t wing it when it comes to presenting any topic. The better you understand your subject matter, the more confident you’ll feel. You can answer questions right away and won’t have to rely on your notes.

If there are a few points or any information you think might arise during the presentation or Q&A, research it and become comfortable speaking to the subject.

Here are a few ways to study: 

  • Break down concepts onto notecards
  • Practice answering questions  (especially the hard ones you hope no one asks)
  • Explain complex information to peers and colleagues

2. Be organized

Take time to thoroughly plan each aspect of the presentation. Often, that means designing PowerPoint slides or other visual aids like videos. Clarify with the organizer what format and technology you’ll be using.

If it’ll be virtual, get your background and room organized, too. This ensures the presentation will go smoothly, in turn reducing stress.  Consider the following preparations:

  • Invite your support network to the event
  • Arrive early to set up tech and get comfortable in the space
  • Practice timing your presentation with the time tracker you’ll use day-of
  • Bring a water bottle and a snack
  • Contact your manager or venue staff to discuss any accessibility or tech concerns

3. Practice, practice, practice

Whether you’re rehearsing in front of a mirror, family member, or pet, you can never practice enough. Ask for feedback about your body language , eye contact , and how loudly you project your voice.

If you’ll be giving the presentation on a video conference, record it on the platform to see how you look and sound.

4. Visualize your success

Thinking through possible outcomes is a great way to prepare — but it can also backfire on you. If you obsess over negative what-ifs, this failing mentality might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

The more often you fill your mind with positive thoughts and visualize your success, the more automatic they’ll be. Positive self-talk can make a big difference to your confidence. Run through the presentation — successfully — in your head.

During the presentation:

Businesswoman speaking from a podium to an audience in a conference-how-to-not-be-nervous-for-a-presentation

5. Focus on your material, not the audience

Your audience is there for your presentation — not to assess you. They’ll be looking at your colorful slides and listening to what you’re saying. Don’t let your mind fill with insecurities . 

6 . Don't fear silence

If your mind suddenly goes blank, that’s okay. It may seem like an eternity to you as you try to figure out what to say next, but it’s only a few seconds at most. 

Pausing isn’t a bad thing, anyway. You can use dramatic breaks advantageously to draw attention before the most important bits. 

7 . Speak slowly

Presentation anxiety often causes nervous energy, so we speak faster than normal. This might make you fumble your words or forget important details.

Slow down. Audience members will be thankful since they can understand you , and drawing out your speech will give you time to calm down, ground yourself , and stay organized.

8 . Take deep breaths and drink water

Breathing delivers oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly. Drinking water ups your energy, and also gives you a moment to pause. 

Smiling is a simple yet effective way to soothe your nerves. Doing so releases endorphins, helping you physically feel more confident. And a friendly face will make the audience more open to what you’re saying. 

10 . Remember the three "audience truths"

These include: 1) for the duration of the presentation, the audience believes you’re the expert, 2) they’re on your side, and 3) they don’t know when you make a mistake. 

After the presentation:

Businessman giving a talk to a group at a convention center lunch-how-to-not-be-nervous-for-a-presentation

11. Recognize your success

Giving a presentation is something worth being proud of — celebrate it! In addition to family, friends, and coworkers, you deserve a high five from yourself, too.

1 2. Collect feedback

Feedback is a wonderful gift if you use it as a tool to help you do even better next time. Ask some of your audience members what they liked and what they didn’t. Remember, you can learn a lot from your mistakes . 

1 3. Don't beat yourself up

You did the best you could, and that’s all anyone — including you — can ask for. 

Nervousness is perfectly normal, but sometimes our symptoms hold us back from doing — and enjoying — scarier tasks. Here are five tips for overcoming nerves:

1. Practice impression management

Impression management requires projecting an image that contradicts how you actually feel. It’s essentially a “fake it ‘til you make it” strategy.  Let’s say you’re about to make a corporate-wide presentation and feel worried you’ll forget important information. You’ll counteract this worry by imagining yourself remembering every detail and delivering it entertainingly.

Learn from this practice by noting the information chosen in your hypothetical and how you expressed it effectively. 

2. Talk to someone

Emotions are contagious. We absorb others’ positive vibes . Chatting with people who are excited about and confident in our presentation abilities rubs off on us. 

Before a presentation, call a cheerleader in your life — someone who’s on your side and understands your nerves. Be specific, discussing which parts of presenting are nerve-wracking and what you need from them.

3. Do breathing exercises

Mindful breathing is when you pay attention to the sensation of inhaling and exhaling while controlling and deepening breath length. Breathwork has several health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and improving memory, attention, and focus. 

Before the presentation, find a quiet and solitary space. Breathe deeply for at least a minute, focusing on sensation and depth. This practice brings you into your body and out of your mind (away from nerve-wracking thoughts).

4. Practice reframing 

Reframing is a technique used in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to improve negative automatic thought patterns over time. One such pattern is viewing certain emotions as bad, and others as good. Nervousness feels the same in the body as excitement. Instead of panicking even more when realizing you’re nervous, reframe your impression of nerves as excitement for what you’re about to do.

This excitement will propel you forward with confidence and pride for stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something scary.

Here are seven inspirational quotes to help you feel confident and excited when doing something you’re nervous about:

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” John Ford
“ When speaking in public, your message — no matter how important — will not be effective or memorable if you don't have a clear structure. ” Patricia Fripp
“The most precious things in speech are the pauses.”  Sir Ralph Richardson
“The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” Lady Bird Johnson
“It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.” Tony Robbins
“The worst speech you’ll ever give will be far better than the one you never give.” Fred Miller

Like any other skill, learning how to not be nervous for a presentation takes time and practice. Acknowledging this hurdle is the first step to making a change in the right direction.  Facing your fears will empower you to take on scarier — and more fulfilling — goals and enjoy the experience along the way. You don’t have to start with a TED Talk. Tackle small challenges like presenting an idea to your manager or practicing a short speech with a friend.  We won’t sugarcoat it — it’s hard to change our minds and habits. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with increased confidence and new experiences.

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Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

30 presentation feedback examples

6 presentation skills and how to improve them, reading the room gives you an edge — no matter who you're talking to, how to give a good presentation that captivates any audience, how to make a presentation interactive and exciting, the self presentation theory and how to present your best self, josh bersin on the importance of talent management in the modern workplace, 8 clever hooks for presentations (with tips), the 11 tips that will improve your public speaking skills, similar articles, how to disagree at work without being obnoxious, 8 tip to improve your public speaking skills, the importance of good speech: 5 tips to be more articulate, overcome your public speaking anxiety with these 10 tips, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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How to Manage Your Anxiety When Presenting

Do you get nervous speaking in public? Learn how to mitigate your fear.

January 29, 2016

extreme presentation anxiety

Tricia Seibold

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March 02, 2015 Matt Abrahams: Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations A Stanford lecturer explains key ways you can better plan, practice, and present your next talk.

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University Counseling Service

30 ways to manage speaking anxiety, initial considerations.

Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking

It is the single most common phobia (fear)

Approximately 75% of people experience this

You are not alone in your fear

You cannot eliminate your fear–but you CAN manage and reduce it. 

Thirty ways to manage public speaking anxiety

Getting ready .

Select a topic of interest to you

Prepare carefully–know your material

Practice–rehearse your talk with a friend

Know your audience

Challenge negative thinking–make 3 x 5 cards of positive thoughts or have friends write out inspirational thoughts for you.

Expect positive reactions–expect success!

Know the room–if unfamiliar, visit your speaking space before you talk.

Employ aerobic exercise strategies–daily aerobic exercise can cut anxiety by 50%.

Eat for success–foods containing tryptophan (dairy products, turkey, salmon) and complex carbohydrates tend to calm the body. Eliminate caffeine, sweets, and empty calories.

Sleep for success–know and get the number of hours of sleep you need for optimal performance. 

The Day of the Presentation 

11.   Eat several hours before the talk–not immediately before 

12.  Dress for success–your success! Dress comfortably and appropriately for the situation. Look your best

13.  Challenge negative thinking–Continue positive thinking

14.  If you need to, express your fears to a friend 

15.  Review 3 x 5 cards of inspirational thoughts

16.  Practice your talk one last time

17.  Go to the room early to ready equipment and your podium.

18.  Exercise immediately before the talk to reduce adrenalin levels. 

  • Employ anxiety reduction techniques
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Deep muscle relaxation
  • Visualization strategies
  • Deep, rhythmic breathing (4 hold 7) 

19.  Use the restroom immediately before the talk 

20. Take a glass of water to the talk 

The Presentation: A positive experience stemming from careful preparation! 

21.  Interpret anxiety symptoms as excitement

22. Use the podium to practice grounding strategies. Touch the podium to steady yourself and to remind yourself that you are safely connected to the ground which is firm and steady beneath your feet.

23. Take a security blanket with you–a complete typed version of your talk to only be used as a backup strategy.

24. Use tools to reduce audience attention on you.

  • PowerPoint presentation 
  • Video film clips
  • “Show and tell” objects to pass

25.  Get out of yourself–engage the audience

26.  Look at friendly faces in your audience

27.  Use humor as needed

28.  Use the room’s physical space to your advantage–walk around as appropriate.

29.  Appropriately regulate your voice

  • Speak clearly–enunciate
  • Open your mouth–do not mumble
  • Slow down if necessary
  • Lower your voice–speak from your diaphragm
  • Project your voice–use energy when you speak
  • Use appropriate animation 

Additional Considerations 

Seek out public speaking opportunities to desensitize (reduce) your fear of communication apprehension.

Consider use of anti-anxiety medication

Join Toastmasters International to have a supportive and safe way to practice

public speaking

Gain experience–practice makes perfect. 

  • academic skills

Current enrolled students can call University Counseling Service at 319-335-7294 to schedule an appointment. Initial Consultation appointments can also be scheduled online.

5 Tips for Overcoming Presentation Anxiety

Feeling jittery before a university presentation? You're in good company! In this article, Camila Franco, a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences (Honours) student at UQ, generously shares her expert tips on overcoming presentation anxiety. Get ready to transform from fearful to fearless with her invaluable advice!

Facing your classmates and delivering information that you've just learned, or are still mastering, can be a daunting task. I recall my first presentations vividly—when I didn’t have so much experience at public speaking, I felt my mouth extremely dry and started stuttering. My heart was pounding so hard, and my anxiety just became worse as I was looking to the public thinking they were judging me for my mistakes.

Here's the deal: even the most self-assured speakers can get a bit jittery before a presentation. A sprinkle of nerves can actually enhance our focus and keep us sharp. While that's somewhat comforting, there are effective strategies to tackle these pre-presentation jitters. But before we delve into those, let’s first gain a clear understanding of what presentation anxiety truly entails!

Understanding Presentation Jitters

The fear of public speaking often boils down to worrying about how the audience will perceive us. It's totally normal to stress over stumbling over words, forgetting what we're going to say, or feeling physically awkward like sweating or shaking. Recognising these signs of anxiety creeping up is the first step to handling them:

  • Muscle tension
  • Shaky hands
  • Dry mouth, sweating, or blushing
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Catastrophic thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Heart racing or chest feeling tight

While these symptoms can feel overwhelming, they're definitely not unbeatable.

Let's dive into some tricks to help you prep and feel more confident when you're up against public speaking challenges.

Tip 1: Prepare a well-structured presentation

Success in public speaking begins with thorough preparation. Take the time to research your topic extensively and understand your audience's needs and expectations. Structure your presentation logically, and design visually engaging slides to support your message. Rehearse your script until you feel comfortable with its flow and content.

Tip 2: Polish and rehearse your script

Embrace a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for improvement. Practice delivering your speech aloud and use self-recording to evaluate your performance objectively. Seek feedback from friends or family members and incorporate their suggestions to refine your presentation. Familiarise yourself with the venue beforehand to alleviate any logistical concerns.

Tip 3: Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Identify and challenge the negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. Write down your concerns and the potential consequences you fear. Take a step back and assess whether these thoughts are realistic or exaggerated. Reframe negative self-talk with more balanced and empowering statements.

Tip 4: Create a Troubleshooting Plan

Anticipate potential challenges and devise strategies to address them proactively. For instance, keep a glass of water handy to combat dry mouth, or prepare standard responses for unexpected questions. Having a plan in place will boost your confidence and help you navigate any hurdles smoothly.

Tip 5: Practice Mindfulness

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your routine to manage anxiety effectively. Experiment with breathing exercises, visualisation, or meditation to calm your mind and body. Cultivate mindfulness habits that you can employ before, during, and after your presentations to stay grounded and focused.

When to Get Professional Help

If your presentation nerves are really starting to mess with your academic or personal life, it might be time to reach out for some extra support. Keep an eye out for signs like constantly avoiding presentations, messed-up sleep or eating habits, or weird physical symptoms that don't seem related to anxiety.

Consider chatting with a mental health pro or counsellor who can offer personalised advice and a listening ear. There are plenty of avenues of support you can turn to, including a range of programs and counselling services offered at UQ to help support students’ health and wellbeing.

Dealing with public speaking jitters is tough, but totally doable. Our university days are the perfect time to work on our presentation skills and boost our confidence. Push yourself a bit, tap into the resources around you, and you'll soon be rocking those speeches like a pro. Remember, every presentation is a chance to learn and grow.

Camila Franco

  • Uni Minds: Navigating Mental Health Challenges

PRSA | Public Relations Society of America - Home

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Here's How to Overcome Presentation Anxiety

By rob biesenbach, july-august 2020.

If you’re like most people, then you get nervous or anxious before a presentation. It’s OK. Even professional speakers go through this.

The difference is in how you manage it. You can let the anxiety drive you crazy and even affect your performance, or you can meet it head-on and at least subdue it, if not conquer it.

Billions of words have been written about overcoming stage fright. Beyond the usual menu of tactics, I’m going to offer a way to reframe your thinking, with a healthy dose of tough love.

But first, let’s clear the air on an important issue.

Bust a popular myth.

One little factoid that we hear all the time is that people fear public speaking even more than death. Death! 

But while that’s the premise of a memorable Jerry Seinfeld bit — “Now this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy” — nobody has found an actual study to support this claim.

I may be biased because I speak for a living but, personally, I would rather be up there doing the eulogy.

While some people suffer from truly debilitating anxiety that might require a deeper level of intervention, most people’s fear can be managed with a handful of simple tools. 

And, like I said, some tough love.

Check your ego at the podium.

When you explore the source of people’s speaking anxiety, it often comes down to the fear of making mistakes or looking dumb in front of colleagues or other people they need to impress. 

And some are self-conscious about their appearance or the sound of their voice.

For this group, I would say, “Get over it!”

Yes, get over it. That’s your ego talking. Your presentation is not about you, it’s about them — your audience.

Your only job is to provide useful information that will help them in some way, large or small — information that will lead them to change their thinking or even their behavior on a particular issue.

So set aside the notion of dazzling or impressing them. Turn the tables on your anxiety. Ask yourself, “How can I help today?” Show up to serve.

Manage your expectations.

Take note of the language I’m using here. It’s modest. Your impact may be small, but it’s useful. You will probably not rock their world and spark a 180-degree turnaround in their viewpoints or actions.

But if you can plant some seeds, give them some food for thought and prompt them to do some further exploration on an issue, then that’s a win.

While it’s true that a speech can change the world, most of them don’t. And they rarely, if ever, make that kind of impact entirely on their own.

So take the pressure off yourself and be modest in your ambitions.

Stop undermining your credibility.

We’ve all seen people visibly work themselves into a near-frenzy in the hours and days before a presentation, telling anyone and everyone how nervous they are. Maybe we’ve done it ourselves.

That’s a natural instinct — we’re talking things out and perhaps seeking reassurance that everything will be OK.

But beyond creating a self-perpetuating doom cycle of anxiety, this behavior seriously undermines your credibility as a professional.

Stop for a minute and think about the impression that you’re making on the people around you — those who look up to you and those who have a role in your future advancement.

This is about how we show up every day as professionals and as leaders.

Act like the leader you are.

When this issue comes up in my speeches and workshops, I often ask about that person’s regular, daily responsibilities. They walk through a few of the important things they do — managing budgets, counseling teammates, moving projects along.

Then I ask how they handle those duties. Do they conduct themselves with calm assurance, or do they run down the hallway like their hair is on fire?

Of course, it’s the former. The point is to treat a presentation like a normal part of your responsibilities. For PR pros, of course, communication is our job. But communication is the heart of everyone’s job, whether they’re managing teams, enlisting support for plans and initiatives, seeking compliance with policy or procedures, cultivating customer relationships or reassuring investors. 

So put yourself in the mindset that speaking in front of groups is simply one more of your normal duties and carry yourself accordingly. You’re cool, comfortable and contained.

In other words, you’re a leader.

Use the tactics for managing anxiety.

Those steps involve a major shift in thinking. Now let’s look at a few simple tactics that may be easier to implement:

• Understand your audience. What are their interests, needs, moods and objections? Use that insight to create truly relevant content and to forge a stronger connection. • Practice and prepare. There really isn’t a substitute for doing your homework and taking the time to practice. The better you know your material, the more poised and confident you will be. • Warm up. Before you go on, do some stretches to burn off excess energy, get your blood flowing and prepare your body. Take three deep breaths to calm yourself.

• Mingle (or don’t). Some speakers become energized by working the room beforehand — introducing themselves, getting to know audience members and asking questions. If you’re not wired that way, then that’s OK. Move on to the next step. 

• Focus. In the moments before you speak, put down your phone and think. Remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish and go through your intro in your head. That way, you’re more likely to hit the ground running and feel confident from the start. 

• Psych yourself up. Turn your nervousness into excitement. Convince yourself that you can’t wait to get out there, connect with people, share valuable information and make a difference — large or small — in people’s lives. • Ignore your mistakes. If you flub something, then keep going. The less you call attention to it, the less likely the audience will care or even notice. And silence your inner critic. Be cool.

Keep working at it.

Like anything else, the more you do it, the more you will improve. Many people have found Toastmasters to be a great way to get comfortable in front of groups. There are also plenty of books, training and coaching options to check out.

Put in the time to get better. Make it a priority. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But isn’t the benefit of relieving all of that anxiety worth it? photo credit: digitalvision vectors

NewRobPhoto_Aug23_copy

Rob Biesenbach

Rob Biesenbach  helps leaders break free from death by PowerPoint, tell their story and communicate like humans should. He’s an in-demand speaker, workshop leader and coach, an award-winning communicator and a bestselling author. He’s worked with great organizations including AARP, Allstate, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola and Lockheed Martin.

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extreme presentation anxiety

Manage Presentation Anxiety to Become Confident Public Speaker

by Janice Tomich

  • Fear of Public Speaking

I’m a public speaking coach , and I know that for a lot of people (including those you think look cool and composed on stage) the thought of public speaking creates a surge in anxiety levels. That anxious feeling is daunting because the out-of-control emotional rollercoaster usually overrides logic. Learning how to calm yourself down before a speech or presentation is an essential skill. 

When you don’t have the ability to calm yourself or manage your emotions it can stop you from volunteering to deliver a presentation (pass by an opportunity to be seen) or the reason for not sleeping well nights before the day you’re scheduled to be on stage. 

Presentation anxiety is an issue that clients often reach out to me for because having the ability to deliver presentations and communicate confidently is a skill that’s in high demand. It’s important that their ideas are heard. Direct reports look for strong public speaking and communication skills in their teams because it’s crucial to organizations that persuade and influence others without worrying they’ll be racked with anxiety.

Some of my clients described the anxiety as feeling weirdly outside of their body … out of touch with reality and as an outside observer looking at themselves. Their stressed out monkey mind takes control and they can’t figure out how to get out of the anxiety loop. 

Presentation anxiety can manifest in other ways such as excessive sweating, shaking or trembling, an octopus of knots in your stomach, or even nausea. It’s no fun when you waste time feeling the fear of public speaking before and during a presentation.

The bad news is when you’re on stage and feeling anxious it can have serious impact. So much so  that your mind goes blank because your amygdala has been hijacked . 

The good news is presentation anxiety (usually) can be managed. Just like anything else you learn and get better at, the tools and techniques can be worked through, however as always the caveat is they need dedication to a consistent practice. 

Investing your time to deliver presentations confidently is well worth the time compared to what happens to your career growth when you pass off presentations to your colleagues or decline speaking opportunities. 

Table of Contents

How Common Is Presentation Anxiety?

Public speaking anxiety can be managed.  You can’t entirely get rid of it, however there are tools and techniques to dampen down the anxiety and regulate it so you’re able to deliver speeches and presentations confidently. 

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 73% of us humans are affected by public speaking anxiety . The primary reason that the anxiety happens is because we fear being judged by others.

Many of the people you see that speak at events have some degree of a fear of public speaking but they have learned how to tame their anxiety. Even to the point they enjoy delivering presentations. 

So, many people experience presentation anxiety…how will you tame your own nerves?

It is possible for most anyone to enjoy public speaking. Once you’ve managed your anxiety and delivered a presentation that you’re proud of there is an energy that happens when you connect with your audience and you’ll find you’ll want to invite more speaking opportunities because of the rush you get. 

extreme presentation anxiety

Angela Ferarro Managing Director, International Education, Burnaby School District

Steps To Manage Presentation Anxiety

Anxiety is fueled by the chattering, negative monkey brain that’s telling you stories that aren’t true such as, “this presentation is going to fall flat or what business do I have presenting?” 

Please know that the whiley monkey is lying to you. 

Getting rid of the monkey takes reeling your mind back and asking what’s really going on – figuring out what you’re believing that’s sabotaging your confidence. Then notice what you’re feeling. The feeling piece takes practice and patience because you need to slow down and listen. 

If you’ve spent years ignoring what triggers you it’s going to take some time and investigation to go inside and listen to what your emotions/feelings are telling you. 

The next step is acknowledging what you’re feeling and then letting it go. This visual works well: Visualize a nasty little gremlin on your shoulder that’s chattering away at you. Listen to it, thank it, and then in your mind’s eye make them dissolve/disappear. Give them a swat and send them on their way. To manage presentation anxiety take the time to go through each step – it’s is important to stop what fuels it. 

Without taking the time to learn where your anxiety is coming from you’ll have a difficulty managing public speaking anxiety. Or you might find that you’re doing okay and then for no reason – out of the blue – get bitten by it. 

It’s Not About You

It’s about your audience…what’s in it for them.

focus on your audience to help with presentation anxiety

To help shift the spotlight off of yourself consider how your presentation will help your audience. Think too about why you’re grateful to be the person to deliver the message. How are you being of service? 

By taking the focus off of yourself and realizing that you are delivering a presentation to educate or provide a service/product to help others, your mindset shift will tame your anxiety. It’s because you’ve moved the spotlight off yourself and focussed it on your audience. From this perspective there is no/little room for you to experience anxiety. 

Pro Tip: You may think your anxiety or nervousness is obvious to others. It’s usually not. I’ve been privy to many conversations where the speaker shared they had been really anxious and thought they were obviously nervous. They are usually  surprised to hear that no one could tell. 

Carefully Plan And Prepare Your Presentation

It’s key that in the first stages of getting ready for your presentation you understand why you’re giving it. It’s how you will really understand if you have been successful (or not) and will help you get a good foundation of what your audience wants and needs to hear from you. 

You are an expert in what you’re presenting. Your audience is not. Be cautious about bombarding your audience with too much information. Take your subject matter expert hat off and think back to when you were learning your craft or the gaps of knowledge that your expertise fills. Keep it simple and stick to the facts. 

I’ve built a framework to create and develop presentations that are simple and focussed. You can access it here . My framework works well to stop audience overwhelm, so you don’t build in extra concepts that will confuse and lose your audience.   

Practice Deep Breathing

deep breathing to manage presentation anxiety

Most adults don’t know how to take a deep breath. When asked they think they do but can only take a breath from their upper chest. Their breathing is constricted. It’s been a habit that’s built over lots of years. 

Have you watched a young child or a baby breathe when they’re sleeping? Their lower belly expands and contracts as they breathe. That’s what you’re aiming for.

Are you skeptical about how well deep breathing works to calm nerves? You’ll find this article and this one that is proven research. Or prove it to yourself. If you have a smartwatch that records your heartbeat take a number of deep breaths and watch your heart rate go down. It’s magic how well deep breathing works to regulate nerves and anxiety.

If you find taking deep breaths difficult to master  (you’re an upper chest breather) this explainer video will help you visualize the mechanics of deep breathing.

I encourage you to do a round of two to three deep breaths each time you practice your presentation. And do a few rounds just before your presentation. And set an alert on your phone or watch for a few times a day. Check in. Are you taking deep breaths?

Deep breathing is a worthwhile exercise to master. You’ll feel calmer for it.

extreme presentation anxiety

​​​​David Getzlaf Strategy Manager, Autonomy & Positioning, Hexagon

Turn Nervousness Into Positive Energy

There is a close connection to nervousness and excitement and reframing will change your perspective and tame your anxiety. 

Have you noticed that sometimes you tell yourself stories that aren’t true? Stories such as my colleagues won’t value what I’m sharing (they already know what I know) or there are people that know more about what I’m speaking about than I do. These types of stories breed anxiousness. 

Research tells us that by flipping the switch and using the word excited instead of negative ones will make us feel positive. 

There is a connection between words/thoughts that make us feel anxious and those that make us feel positive. 

The next time your thinking is going down a negative path, change your wording to excitement, which will change your perspective to a positive one. 

Practice Your Presentation

Practice your speech to help with presentation anxiety

Practicing just until you’re confident that you have learned your presentation will ease your public speaking anxiety. You’ll notice that I used the word learned and not memorized. 

Memorizing your presentation will fuel anxiety. It’s too time consuming and tedious to learn your presentation word for word. And when you’re practicing or delivering your speech if you forget your place or even one word you have set yourself up for trouble. Which will reflect badly on your delivery and cause more anxiety. It’s too much pressure!

You’re better served to memorize your outline and then riff/expand off of your points. The result will be a presentation that comes off as being natural and you will be more comfortable delivering it. 

Only practice until you are tired of practicing and of hearing your voice. You might have a few rough spots and rather than practicing your presentation in its entirety simply practice those. 

It’s by knowing your presentation well that you’ll manage any anxiety that bubbles up. 

Visualize Your Success

Elite athletes ‘watch’ themselves driving the ball onto the green or scoring goals. It’s from this type of positive perspective that you’ll  create a feeling of comfort and ease – watching from the theatre of your mind deliver your presentation. 

Taking yourself through the actions of getting ready, arriving on the stage, delivering, and taking in the applause. Key though is you’re not only watching your success. You need to also feel success too. 

Feel Your Feet On The Ground 

mindset techniques to relieve presentation anxiety feet on the ground

Try this quick tip just as you are about to deliver your presentation ground yourself by feeling your feet on the ground. This is a mindfulness technique that will pull you to the present rather than letting your monkey mind sabotage you with anxiety. 

Interrupt Your Anxiety While On Stage

Did you know that Steve Jobs practiced Apple new product rollouts for months and months before the conference events? He meticulously practiced for what could go wrong and had a Plan B down to every detail. Do the same by giving thought to what you will do if your technology doesn’t work so you’re not caught without your Plan B if technology doesn’t go as planned. 

Speaking too quickly and not really feeling the depth of your words can accelerate your nerves. Take your time, breathe, and give your words time to land by using pauses. You’ll notice that your audience will find it easier to get your point and the connection that happens when you’re on the same wavelength as your audience. 

If you find yourself going blank and unable to remember what you wanted to speak to next buy yourself time by taking a few sips of water or referring to your notes. No one except you will realize that you’re gathering your thoughts.

If you’re lost and unsure about how to make your presentation compelling, I can help.

Give more presentations

Give more presentations to manage presentation anxiety and to be a confident public speaker

When I returned to university as a mature student and struggled with a fear of public speaking I was determined to put it behind me. I made a point of volunteering for every opportunity I had to present to my cohort. It was naive because there is a foundation of skills that go hand and hand with practicing and raising your hand to every opportunity. 

Your presentation skills do get better with the more presentations you give. Presentation anxiety diminishes when you have experience successfully managing your anxiety, which builds confidence for the next one and so on. 

Performance Anxiety (Stage Fright) Disclaimer

Please seek medical support if you have severe performance anxiety.

If the techniques described above don’t make a difference to your anxiety level consider speaking with a medical professional. A medical professional can help with stage fright using cognitive behaviour techniques and by prescribing medications such as propranolol, which will slow down your heart rate and block adrenaline surges. 

I encourage you to reach out for help from your medical provider if your anxiety is severe. 

Most presentation anxiety can be managed so that you can deliver a presentation that is well received. It takes techniques such as shifting mindset, deep breathing to regulate your emotions, and practicing with the right focus. Managing presentation anxiety is doable and even better a goal that’s worthwhile. 

Here’s access to my calendar to schedule a time to chat to learn if I can help you with your presentation anxiety.  It would be my pleasure to talk with you and learn if you would benefit from our working together. 

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Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

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Micah Abraham, BSc

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Fear of public speaking is incredibly common, and not just in those with anxiety. While anxiety tends to fuel public speaking fears, nearly anyone can suffer from this type of phobia. Public speaking anxiety is one of the most common fears shared among the general population, and unfortunately these days few people have the tools necessary to overcome this fear.

What Causes Fear of Public Speaking?

Fear of public speaking - also known as Glossophobia - has its roots in social phobia. It comes from the fear of being judged, which stems from all the attention that people place on you when you're speaking. Ideally, you need to be able to deliver a loud, effective speech. Yet doubts over our own ability combined with the knowledge that others are forced to pay attention to the words we share can create a feeling of fear that is tough to shake.

Public speaking fears are also frequently reinforced. No one gives a perfect speech. If you go up there and do a great job but make a few mistakes, your mind tends to focus on the mistakes, and your fear is then confirmed.

In addition, there is reason to believe that the modern day lifestyle makes glossophobia more common than it had been in the past. Consider the following:

  • More and more people spend their free time in less public situations, like online, which not only reduces public social interactions but also allows for complete anonymity. Those that spend a lot of time online become less used to the idea of talking in public and being judged.
  • Increasingly, people have work-related communication that requires fewer public speaking engagements. Now you can send emails, talk on the phone, or use online workrooms. No longer do you need to worry as much about others looking at you and judging you, which is a problem for future public speakers because it means less experience speaking in public.

It doesn't matter if you're younger or more experienced - the modern day lifestyle has less interaction with other people, which can only increase the ease to which people develop public speaking anxiety.

How to Reduce Public Speaking Anxiety

A little bit of anxiety as you prepare for a big speech or presentation is common. Even the best speakers in the world get a small amount of anxiety before they get on stage or speak in front of a large group. You should never expect yourself to be completely anxiety free. What you need is for that anxiety to fuel you into giving a great speech, not hold you back from speaking.

When your fear of public speaking overwhelms you, you need help. The problem is that we have a tendency to focus on the mistakes, so it's not always easy to overcome that anxiety right away. One mistake (and yes, everyone makes mistakes), and you may accidentally convince yourself that your fears were justified.

In order to cure your public speaking anxiety, you need to make smart decisions before, during, and after you speak. Some people get public speaking anxiety just by talking in front of their friends when their friends are in large groups.

In this case, we're talking about learning to speak in front of a group. It may be planned (such as a presentation at work) or unplanned (such as talking at a meeting when you have a good idea), but you still need to make the right choices and deal with your anxiety directly.

Below are strategies that will help you overcome your public speaking anxiety.

Before Your Speech or Talk

Practice thoroughly.

Obviously practice is step one, and the step that you need to complete beyond adequately. You practice for several reasons. You practice to remember your speech or your lines. You practice because it turns the act of speaking into more of an instinct. You practice because you become more familiar with what giving your speech and speaking up is like, so that if you do lose your way and your speech is derailed you have an easier time making your way back.

But you need to over-prepare. Don't just stop because you think you know it. Stop when you're annoyed that you have to keep doing it. Then do it three more times. The point isn't just to know your speech. The point is to know it so well that you don't even want to give it anymore. That's when you're ready to go.

Visualization and Relaxation

Your next step is to try to get used to the fears you're going to have. Do this only after you've practiced thoroughly. Then, imagine a huge crowd of people judging you. Imagine upset faces and anger. Imagine the things that will cause you anxiety.

Once you've done that, you should start to experience a bit of anxiety. Your heart rate should increase a little and your fear should start to take over. Once that happen, take some deep breaths. Try to relax. Imagine those frowning faces mean something better. Imagine that they really love your speech, and they're glaring at you because they can't handle it. Try to calm yourself down until you feel better, then keep going.

Once it no longer brings you anxiety, give the speech and imagine you're giving it in front of a hostile audience. See if you can calm yourself down while giving the talk without any distractions. That'll help you get used to it.

Get Used to Embarrassment

You can also try a strategy that some people use to get over their social phobia. You can try to get used to the idea of embarrassment. If you no longer fear embarrassment, your ability to overcome some of your public speaking fears will be cured with it.

How to do this is up to you. One of the easiest ways is to dress up in some ridiculous outfit and simply sit outside somewhere public. People will look at you, and people will think you look funny, and you'll feel embarrassed. But if you stay out there for a long time, eventually that embarrassment won't bother you anymore.

You can also do something a bit more active. You can try yelling in a bar ("who here loves baseball?!") or try to say "hi" to everyone you walk past. It's not that important what you do, but it is important that you do a lot of it. You do it until you it bores you, and you stop worrying about whether people are judging you.

This isn't a cure for public speaking anxiety on its own, but every little but helps.

What to Do on the Day of the Speech

On the day the speech arrives, you need to make sure you do all of the little things that help your body and mind control anxiety. You need to make sure that you're fully rested, with a good night's sleep. You need to make sure you're properly hydrated and that you've had full and healthy meals. You need to go jogging, or do something to relieve some of your muscle tension.

You should also prepare everything you need in advance, so that you don't have any worries about whether or not you have everything ready. You can try practicing the presentation one more time and do the visualization techniques again - or you can integrate many relaxation strategies to make sure you're calm for the day, such as:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

The less anxiety you experience that day, the easier a time you'll have on the speech. The buildup can be one of the worst parts, and avoiding the buildup will decrease the way that anxiety affects you.

Finally, remind yourself that it doesn't matter what people think. Don't go in there worrying about everyone else. Go in there reminding yourself that you've done what you can, and that no matter how well it goes you'll continue to get better.

There are strategies you can integrate when you start speaking to reduce anxiety as well. These include:

  • Starting Strong Don't try to ease into it. Start as loud as you can't. Don't even worry if you're a bit too loud. Many people think they'll start slow and ease into it, but the best thing you can do is start strong.
  • Look at No One Don't worry about looking at people. Look around the room as though you're talking to everyone. You may find yourself getting more nervous if you can't help but look at one or two people and they're not giving you the "face" you want. Look around the room to ease some of the tension you have about someone specific judging you.
  • Don't Worry About Stumbles It's easier said than done, but you should never expect it to go perfect. Perfection takes years of practice, and none of the most world renowned speakers were as skilled right away. You can look back at old YouTube videos of well-known speakers and see the way that they stumble. If you lose your place or something happens, just figure out where you were and keep going.

Once you're into the speech there isn't as much you can do. But there are ways to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome. As soon as it's over, pretend you did a great job. Worry about any mistakes you may have made later.

After the Speech is Over

One thing that many people don't realize is that what you do after a speech can also affect how well you are able to handle the next time you speak. If you sit in the corner and think about all of the things that went wrong, then you'll worry about the next speech more. If you allow yourself to feel too "relieved" as well, you'll reinforce the idea that what you did was scary, and increase the likelihood of fear next time. Consider the following:

  • Write Down 10 Positives The mind has a tendency to focus only on the negative, but the truth is that ample positive things occurred during the speech. Make sure that you acknowledge them for yourself. Even if you had a terrible presentation and stumbled over every word and cried on stage, there are things that you can write out that were positive. For example, remembering some important lines, some degree of eye contact, speed of talking - don't worry about the negatives and write out the positive things so that you're not letting your mind increase your anxiety.
  • Don't Party There's a tendency after big speeches to party hard. After a college graduation, for example, many people go out and celebrate. Some celebration is okay, but keep it moderated. You don't want to see the speech as something tremendous you overcame, and partying too hard can actually cause more anxiety. If you must go out, keep it as low key as you can, and don't try to numb your high emotions.
  • Give the Speech Again Finally, if you did have a truly bad presentation, or you simply can't stop focusing on the negatives, give the speech one more time in the comfort of your own home, either to your family or to your dog or to nobody at all. One of the problems is that your last memory of giving the presentation is up on stage when you were anxious. Replace it, by having your last memory be of you sitting in your pajamas talking to a wall with a poster of a cat hanging from a tree branch.

How You Can Overcome Public Speaking and Anxiety

The reality is that you can recover from your fear of public speaking. Using the above tips can be a big help. If you're also someone that suffers from anxiety regularly, you'll also benefit greatly from controlling your overall anxiety. Anxiety tends to be cumulative, and those with anxiety are far more likely to develop public speaking fears.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have a specific question that this article didn’t answered? Send us a message and we’ll answer it for you!

Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods? – Anonymous patient
You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process. – Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP

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How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation

extreme presentation anxiety

Your audience doesn’t have to know you’re shaking on the inside.

It’s not easy getting ready for a big presentation. The stakes can feel high, and in our desire for things to go well, the anticipation builds. Fear, anxiety, or even paralysis can kick in. What can you do to calm your nerves when this happens?

extreme presentation anxiety

  • AS Amy Jen Su is a co-founder and managing partner of Paravis Partners , a premier executive coaching and leadership development firm. For the past two decades, she has coached CEOs, executives, and rising stars in organizations. She is the author of the HBR Press book The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self—Every Day,   and co-author of Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence  with Muriel Maignan Wilkins.

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PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY

extreme presentation anxiety

The fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 40%* of the population. The underlying fear is judgment or negative evaluation by others. Public speaking anxiety is considered a social anxiety disorder. * Gallup News Service, Geoffrey Brewer, March 19, 2001.

The fear of public speaking is worse than the fear of death

Evolution psychologists believe there are primordial roots. Our prehistoric ancestors were vulnerable to large animals and harsh elements. Living in a tribe was a basic survival skill. Rejection from the group led to death. Speaking to an audience makes us vulnerable to rejection, much like our ancestors’ fear.

A common fear in public speaking is the brain freeze. The prospect of having an audience’s attention while standing in silence feels like judgment and rejection.

Why the brain freezes

The pre-frontal lobes of our brain sort our memories and is sensitive to anxiety. Dr. Michael DeGeorgia of Case Western University Hospitals, says: “If your brain starts to freeze up, you get more stressed and the stress hormones go even higher. That shuts down the frontal lobe and disconnects it from the rest of the brain. It makes it even harder to retrieve those memories.”

The fight or flight response activates complex bodily changes to protect us. A threat to our safety requires immediate action. We need to respond without debating whether to jump out of the way of on oncoming car while in an intersection. Speaking to a crowd isn’t life threatening. The threat area of the brain can’t distinguish between these threats.

Help for public speaking anxiety

We want our brains to be alert to danger. The worry of having a brain freeze increases our anxiety. Ironically, it increases the likelihood of our mind’s going blank as Dr. DeGeorgia described. We need to recognize that the fear of brain freezing isn’t a life-or-death threat like a car barreling towards us while in a crosswalk.

Change how we think about our mind going blank.

De-catastrophize brain freezes . It might feel horrible if it happens in the moment. The audience will usually forget about it quickly. Most people are focused on themselves. We’ve handled more difficult and challenging situations before. The long-term consequence of this incident is minimal.

Leave it there . Don’t dwell on the negative aspects of the incidents. Focus on what we can learn from it. Worry that it will happen again will become self-fulfilling. Don’t avoid opportunities to create a more positive memory.

Perfectionism won’t help . Setting unachievable standards of delivering an unblemished speech increases anxiety. A perfect speech isn’t possible. We should aim to do our best instead of perfect.

Silence is gold . Get comfortable with silence by practicing it in conversations. What feels like an eternity to us may not feel that way to the audience. Silence is not bad. Let’s practice tolerating the discomfort that comes with elongated pauses.

Avoidance reinforces . Avoiding what frightens us makes it bigger in our mind. We miss out on the opportunity to obtain disconfirming information about the trigger.

Rehearse to increase confidence

Practice but don’t memorize . There’s no disputing that preparation will build confidence. Memorizing speeches will mislead us into thinking there is only one way to deliver an idea. Forgetting a phrase or sentence throw us off and hastens the brain freeze. Memorizing provides a false sense of security.

Practice with written notes. Writing out the speech may help formulate ideas. Practice speaking extemporaneously using bullet points to keep us on track.

Practice the flow of the presentation . Practice focusing on the message that’s delivered instead of the precise words to use. We want to internalize the flow of the speech and remember the key points.

Practice recovering from a brain freeze . Practice recovery strategies by purposely stopping the talk and shifting attention to elsewhere. Then, refer to notes to find where we left off. Look ahead to the next point and decide what we’d like to say next. Finally, we’ll find someone in the audience to start talking to and begin speaking.

Be prepared for the worst . If we know what to do in the worst-case scenario (and practice it), we’ll have confidence in our ability to handle it. We do that by preparing what to say to the audience if our mind goes blank. Visualizing successful recovery of the worst will help us figure out what needs to be done to get back on track.

Learn to relax

Remember to breathe . We can reduce anxiety by breathing differently. Take slow inhalations and even slower exhalations with brief pauses in between. We’ll be more likely to use this technique if practiced in times of low stress.

Speak slowly . It’s natural to speed up our speech when we are anxious. Practice slowing speech while rehearsing. When we talk quickly, our brain sees it is a threat. Speaking slowly and calmly gives the opposite message to our brain.

Make eye contact with the audience . Our nerves might tell us to avoid eye contact. Making deliberate eye contact with a friendly face will build confidence and slow our speaking.

Join a group . Practice builds confident in public speaking. Groups like Toastmasters International provide peer support to hone our public speaking skill. Repeated exposure allows us to develop new beliefs about our fear and ability to speak in public.

The fear of our mind going blank during a speech is common. Job advancement or college degree completion may be hampered by not addressing this fear.

How to Get Help for Social Anxiety

The National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC) is an association of independent Regional Clinics and Associates throughout the United States with certified cognitive-behavioral therapists (CBT) specializing in social anxiety and other anxiety-related problems.

Find an NSAC Regional Clinic or Associate which is licensed to help people in the state where you are located.

Places where nsac regional clinics and associates are based.

British Council

How to overcome your fear of public speaking, by ros and neil johnson, 10 october 2016 - 08:42.

Photo of microphone

freestocks.org, licensed under  CC0 1.0 and adapted form the original .

Why are many people afraid of public speaking, and what can be done about it? Ros and Neil Johnson, speech and drama specialists at  Theatresaurus , explain in response to our Facebook fans' request .

The fear of public speaking is known as glossophobia. According to one  estimate , about 75 per cent of people suffer from various forms of this phobia and  ten per cent  of people are genuinely terrified. The fear of public speaking is the  number one phobia in America  and is more common than the fear of heights or the fear of snakes, which rank two and three respectively.

The symptoms of glossophobia

Symptoms of glossophobia range from knots in the stomach, sweaty palms, dry mouth, shaky legs and tightness in the throat. In extreme cases, sufferers experience nausea, panic attacks and excessive anxiety. Glossophobics will therefore go to great lengths to avoid speaking in public.

Most of these symptoms are due to the increase in adrenaline produced by our bodies because we are experiencing the  flight-or-fight reaction . This primitive response still exists in us despite the fact that we no longer have to fight or run away from wild animals. The concerns we have before a speech or presentation – worrying what people will think of us, worrying that we will stumble over the words or forget what to say – are enough to trigger the natural or instinctive reaction to run away.

Once we can learn to control these feelings and conquer the urge to flee the perceived danger, we can begin to enjoy the process of public speaking.

Many famous people have had a fear of public speaking

Many famous people have suffered from glossophobia, including actors, politicians and even presidents. Some notable examples are Renée Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Sigmund Freud and Thomas Jefferson. At some point, they all mention actually going out of their way to avoid speaking in public. One extreme case was Gandhi. According to an article in  The Atlantic , Gandhi was due to be speaking in a court and only managed to say the first sentence of his speech before he dried up and an assistant stepped in and finished the speech for him. They have all had to devise strategies for overcoming this fear.

In the video clip below, the well-respected actor, Emma Watson, is giving a speech to the United Nations. It is interesting to see how nervous she is at the beginning – she speaks a little too fast, for example – but as the speech goes on, she appears more and more confident. If you watch and listen carefully, you can observe some of the techniques she uses to overcome the nerves. These include trying to control her breathing, taking pauses, speaking more slowly and using well-rehearsed emphasis on particular words.

Breathing is a very important factor in overcoming the nervousness caused by the increase of adrenaline. Excess adrenaline makes us breathe shallowly, i.e., in the top part of our lungs, and too rapidly. 

How to help yourself relax and control your breathing

Relaxation and breathing techniques are invaluable when trying to calm your nerves. When we are nervous, we often take shallow breaths. This leads to added anxiety, so slowing down our breathing and learning to relax are invaluable.

Exercise 1 – Learning to relax

Find a comfortable place and lie on the floor. Close your eyes and concentrate on relaxing every part of your body, starting with your feet and legs and working upwards to your shoulders, neck and head. Now bring your attention to your breathing. To begin with, just be aware of breathing in and out.

Now try to imagine a place that you can associate with calmness. Picture this place and hear the sounds, smell the smells.

Once you have become familiar with recalling this special place, it can be somewhere to go whenever you are feeling nervous – such as just before you go on stage to make a speech.

Learning to relax takes time but it will really help, especially if you do this exercise regularly. After a while, you'll be able to recall the feelings of relaxation anywhere.

Exercise 2 – Centering yourself

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands hanging loose, shoulders down and head relaxed on your neck.

First, try to collect your thoughts and  think in your head . Feel yourself become lighter.

Now try to  think in your stomach , and start to feel yourself getting rooted in the ground. You are effectively 'thinking your centre of gravity' down through your body. This process is called 'centering' and it may take a little practice.

Now breathe in, and feel the breath going right down into your centre, i.e., to the bottom of your lungs and into your stomach. Breathe out allowing your diaphragm to control the outward breath, as described in our  previous article .

Exercise 3 – Get to know your space

Nerves often come from the unknown, so go to the room or hall where you will be speaking, and walk around it, rehearsing your speech out loud. Now sing parts of your speech and move around allowing your voice to fill the space.

Make sure you know your subject

This may sound obvious, but it is important that you are confident in your subject. Plan your speech, practise it, say it out loud. Imagine a positive outcome of the speech. This will help you get into the right frame of mind for the speech you are about to make.

Practise again and again, and learn the points where you need to use emphasis or pauses. Mark them on your speech in a clear and precise way.

Take the stage like an actor

Actors will spend a few minutes before going on stage working out where they have just come from as a character and what they have been doing. This distraction takes their minds off their concerns about their performance.

The same habit can work for someone just about to speak in public. By spending a few minutes before your speech thinking about the positive aspects of what you are about to do, you can take your mind off worrying about your performance. So you might ask: What will be the outcome of my speech for my audience? What will I have achieved by giving it? You can then take the positive emotions these questions evoke onto the stage. The emotion may be excitement or a sense of fulfilment, but the effect is the same in that it will create a distraction and provide an outlet for your adrenaline.

Exercise 4 – Breathing a few minutes before you go on to make your speech

Just before you start your speech, breathe in, counting up to seven, and breathe out when you reach 11. Do this three or four times. It helps slow the build-up of adrenaline and reduces your heart rate, thereby diminishing feelings of nervousness or anxiety.

Do some gentle exercise

A short burst of physical exercise is another good way of countering the effect of the adrenaline that our bodies are expecting to use in our muscles.

Exercise 5 – Warming up

Stand in a comfortable position, knees shoulder-width apart. Stretch up to the ceiling, extending your arms and legs as far as possible. Slowly squat down putting your hands on the floor. Repeat this two or three times.

Back in your standing position, rotate your shoulders and then extend your arms out to the side and repeat the rotation. This will also help relieve any tension.

Now jog gently on the spot for a minute or so, ensuring that you are moving your arms. Finally shake out your arms and legs. Remember, you are not trying to exhaust yourself, so don’t overdo it.

Make adrenaline your friend

A final thought from an article in Forbes from 2011: ‘Make adrenaline your friend because it makes your body and brain work better’. Once you get used to controlling your adrenaline, you can then make sure you always have enough to give your speech or performance that extra boost, but not so much that it makes you feel like running away.

Ros and Neil Johnson are founders of  Theatresaursus , which runs Shakespeare workshops, drama courses and holiday courses. They will be returning to the British Council in Malaysia to give some more workshops on using theatre techniques in the classroom in early 2017.

Find out about the British Council's  Shakespeare Lives  programme of events and activities in 2016, celebrating Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death.

You might also be interested in:

  • How to improve your voice for presentations
  • How have performances of Shakespeare changed over time?
  • How to help children speak English with confidence

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What Is Severe Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders can cause mild to severe symptoms, but treatment is available

  • Seeking Help

Risk Factors

Most people experience some anxiety. However, severe anxiety can be overwhelming and sometimes debilitating.

Severe anxiety occurs when the body's natural responses to anticipated stress exceed healthy levels. The symptoms—a racing heart, changes in breathing, and headaches—can hinder your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Long-term or recurrent severe anxiety can be a sign of an anxiety disorder . Left untreated, it can lead to chronic health problems, including heart disease .

This article discusses severe anxiety. It explains common anxiety reactions and how the severity can vary. It also offers tips for how to deal with severe anxiety and when to talk to your healthcare provider about it.

If you or a loved one is struggling with severe anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database .

The mind and body naturally perceive and react to potential threats automatically, with the goal of staying safe. This is often helpful and means your body is working the way it should.

Anxiety is a way of preparing for future stress or possible negative experiences.

However, when these feelings include constant worry or a chronic sense of threat or impending dread, it could signal an anxiety disorder.

Severe anxiety symptoms can become a persistent problem. They can interrupt daily functioning, impact quality of life, and become too difficult to manage. Severe anxiety can even bring about suicidal thoughts.

Mild, Moderate, and Severe Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety, in a broad sense, is very common. In fact, it's the most common type of mental health disorder, with 33% of people being impacted by an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

Symptoms of anxiety can impact a person's mind, behaviors, and physical well-being. Though anxiety symptoms can be different for each person, worry and avoidance are common.

The actual symptoms of severe anxiety are no different from mild or moderate anxiety. However, severe anxiety symptoms are less likely to be self-manageable.

In small amounts, as with mild levels of anxiety, worry can actually help you prepare, like when studying for a test or paying your bills before late fees kick in.

However, worrying too much about things that cannot be controlled can have a negative effect on overall well-being and is a sign that anxiety may be more severe.

Severe anxiety often causes avoidance, a type of behavior people use to escape uncomfortable feelings. It can mean physically avoiding something, such as crowds, or declining invitations to events.

In some cases, avoidance can lead to life choices like not preparing for a presentation due to feelings of nervousness. This type of behavior may temporarily circumvent anxiety, but avoidance is not an effective way to overcome it. When most severe, anxiety-induced avoidance can cause a person to withdraw from stressful interactions, such as socializing, making decisions, or working. It can even lead to isolation. It's common for social isolation itself to lead to anxiety and depression, adding to the problem.

Physical Symptoms

Severe anxiety can lead to physical symptoms. Muscle tension is a natural tightening of muscles when the body experiences stress. A tight jaw and tense abdominal muscles are examples of ways that muscles react to stress and anxiety.

Paying attention to specific ways your body feels when you are calm vs. anxious can help you recognize when you are experiencing anxiety symptoms.

These are common ways anxiety is experienced physically:

  • Upset stomach
  • Shallow breathing
  • Racing heartbeat

People with severe levels of anxiety might experience physical responses more frequently, more intensely, or with a more significant impact.

Long-term impacts from severe levels of anxiety symptoms can result in medical conditions like heart disease, an ulcer, or a lowered immune system .

Types of Severe Anxiety

Severe anxiety is not a formal diagnosis but a level of how serious the symptoms and impact of the anxiety disorder are. Anxiety disorders are categorized into different types based on the specific way symptoms are experienced.

Categories include:

  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Selective mutism
  • Specific phobia , the most common type
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia (fear of public or crowded places)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Each type of anxiety disorder can range from mild to severe and requires different interventions based on the individual and the circumstance.

Anxiety disorders also come about at different points in a person's life, with most developing during childhood and adolescence, and they tend to fluctuate in severity throughout the course of the illness.

For example, separation anxiety disorder and specific phobias tend to arise during childhood, with an average age of diagnosis around 7 years old, while generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is more common later in life.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If symptoms of anxiety are impacting your ability to function at work or in your personal life, contact your healthcare provider. Signs that warrant further evaluation include:

  • Difficulty controlling your worries or feelings of nervousness
  • Excessive worry about everyday things 
  • Fatigue or excessive tiredness
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
  • Inability to concentrate on tasks
  • Irritability or feeling on edge
  • Panic attacks
  • Restless or inability to relax 
  • Trembling, twitching, or startling easily
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

When Is Anxiety an Emergency?

Severe anxiety accompanied by thoughts of suicide or self-harm requires emergency medical attention. In addition, panic attacks often mimic a heart attack or other serious health condition. Symptoms that should be evaluated promptly include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme weakness 
  • Pounding or racing heart
  • Tingling or numbness in your hand and arms

However, if you have a history of panic attacks, follow the treatment plan from your healthcare provider. You may be prescribed a fast-acting anxiolytic (antianxiety medication). If medication does not resolve these troubling symptoms, seek medical care.

Causes of Severe Anxiety

The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown. Several factors can play a role, such as genetics and brain chemistry. Stress and your environment can also contribute to the development of severe anxiety.

Situations and events that may trigger an anxiety disorder are unique to individual experiences. These can include:

  • Difficult life experiences, such as the death of a loved one
  • Family issues
  • Financial insecurity
  • Having a baby (post-partum anxiety)
  • Health concerns
  • Miscarriage
  • Relationship problems, including divorce
  • Stressful childhood events
  • Worries over global issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic , climate change , or politics

Symptoms of anxiety can also be caused by a physical health condition, such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmia. Alcohol, caffeine, medications, and substance use can also trigger anxiety symptoms.

Anyone can develop an anxiety disorder, but it is more common in people with the following:

  • Childhood shyness or feeling distressed or nervous in new situations
  • Exposure to stressful and negative life or environmental events
  • A family history of anxiety or other mental disorders
  • Traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood

Anxiety Can Run in Families

Though it is difficult to determine who will be most at risk for developing an anxiety disorder, those with a close family member who has an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves.

Severe Anxiety Diagnosis

Anxiety is one of the most underdiagnosed mental health disorders. Though it is very common, many people do not seek treatment for anxiety. One study found only 20% of people with an anxiety disorder seek help from healthcare providers.

If you're trying to manage severe anxiety alone, it may be time to seek professional care. Your healthcare provider or insurance company can help you to find a mental health professional.

Anxiety disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed mental health professionals. A provider will typically ask a series of questions to determine the type and severity of anxiety you're experiencing.

Anxiety disorders are highly co-occurring, meaning they are often present alongside depression, substance use disorders , and other conditions.

Measuring Anxiety Levels

The fifth edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5) includes diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders.

Mental health professionals often use measurement scales to determine anxiety levels. These tools can determine how distressing and disruptive your anxiety symptoms are, which allows for a more personalized and effective treatment plan.

Examples of common anxiety-measurement scales include:

  • The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7)
  • The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)
  • The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)

These assessments ask questions related to how often anxiety symptoms occur and how disruptive they are. Based on the responses, a determination of mild, moderate, or severe anxiety will be provided.

Severe Anxiety Treatment

Noticing and effectively addressing the feelings that come with anxiety is an important step toward treatment. Even severe levels of anxiety can be treated by working with a mental health professional. Sometimes, medication is recommended along with psychotherapy.

Though the specific treatment plan will depend on the individual needs of the person seeking help, some common treatment approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psycho-education about the disorder and how to manage it
  • Exposure therapy (for specific phobias)

Mindfulness

  • Support groups

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most highly recommended intervention for overcoming anxiety due to its high level of effectiveness. CBT involves identifying negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to anxiety with the goal of changing these in more adaptive ways.

Psycho-Education

Along with a formal intervention like CBT, psycho-education is often used to provide information about the nature of anxiety. A therapist will explain how it impacts health, functioning, and experiences, and ways it can be recognized and reduced.

Exposure Therapy

Sometimes, the best way to overcome anxiety, as with specific phobias, is to face the fear directly. With exposure therapy, a person is gradually introduced to the anxiety-causing stressor over time.

Seeing a snake across the room, then being near it, and then touching it is an example of exposure therapy. This type of therapy is done with the support of a qualified mental health professional.

Prior to being exposed to triggers, the therapist will first teach you relaxation techniques and tools for calming your anxiety. Practicing these new skills when calm will help you to implement them once the exposure stage of therapy begins.

Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that can be done for severe anxiety. It can help people to overcome racing thoughts or constant worry with a focus on the present.

Research has shown promising results in people with severe anxiety and depression, especially those who haven't responded well to other interventions.

Support Groups

When working through severe anxiety, it's important to have ongoing support. Along with trusted friends, family members, and colleagues, support groups can be an impactful way to connect with others who are experiencing similar symptoms.

A mental health therapist will often provide recommendations for support groups based on the type of anxiety disorder a person is dealing with.

Coping and Prevention

It's important to find ways to cope with anxiety and to incorporate lifestyle practices that can help prevent your symptoms.

There are many ways to keep anxiety in check, including:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep every night
  • Relaxation exercises , including deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, and meditation
  • Eating healthy, nutritious, and regular meals
  • Limiting caffeine intake
  • Finding helpful social supports

A good routine can help to support the work that happens in therapy.

Anxiety is a common mental health concern. Severe anxiety can impact a person's overall well-being, ability to function, and enjoyment of life.

Anxiety disorders can range from mild to moderate to severe. It's important to work with a mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis and start a treatment plan. With the right support, even severe anxiety can be reduced and managed.

Zlomuzica A, Kullmann F, Hesse J, Plank L, Dere E. Recognition memory, primacy vs. recency effects, and time perception in the online version of the fear of scream paradigm . Sci Rep . 2022;12(1):14258. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-18124-9

Bandelow B, Michaelis S. Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century . Dialogues Clin Neurosci . 2015;17(3):327–35. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.3/bbandelow

Spinhoven P, Hoogerwerf E, van Giezen A, Greeven A. Mindfulness-based cognitive group therapy for treatment-refractory anxiety disorder: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial . J Anxiety Disord . 2022;90:102599. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2022.102599 

Barbosa-Camacho FJ, Romero-Limón OM, Ibarrola-Peña JC, et al. Depression, anxiety, and academic performance in COVID-19: a cross-sectional study . BMC Psychiatry . 2022;22(1):443. doi:10.1186/s12888-022-04062-3.

U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Anxiety .

Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders . Dialogues Clin Neurosci . 2017;19(2):93-107. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/bbandelow

National Institute on Mental Health. Generalized anxiety disorder: when worry gets out of control .

National Institute of Mental Health. Panic disorder: when fear overwhelms . 

National Institute of Mental Health.  Anxiety disorders.

Ströhle A, Gensichen J, Domschke K. The diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. Dtsch Arztebl Int . 2018;115(37):611–20. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2018.0611

Bystritsky A, Khalsa SS, Cameron ME, Schiffman J. Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. P T . 2013;38(1):30-57.

American Psychological Association.  Exposure therapy .

Bandelow B, Lichte T, Rudolf S, Wiltink J, Beutel EM. The diagnosis of and treatment recommendations for anxiety disorders. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International . 2014;111(27-28):473. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2014.0473

  • Patient Care & Health Information
  • Diseases & Conditions
  • Anxiety disorders

Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).

These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. You may avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.

Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. You can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.

Whatever form of anxiety you have, treatment can help.

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Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Several types of anxiety disorders exist:

  • Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression.
  • Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These panic attacks may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they've occurred.
  • Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.
  • Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that's excessive for the child's developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
  • Specific phobias are characterized by major anxiety when you're exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs.
  • Other specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorder are terms for anxiety or phobias that don't meet the exact criteria for any other anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • You feel like you're worrying too much and it's interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life
  • Your fear, worry or anxiety is upsetting to you and difficult to control
  • You feel depressed, have trouble with alcohol or drug use, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety
  • You think your anxiety could be linked to a physical health problem
  • You have suicidal thoughts or behaviors — if this is the case, seek emergency treatment immediately

Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may get worse over time if you don't seek help. See your doctor or a mental health provider before your anxiety gets worse. It's easier to treat if you get help early.

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The causes of anxiety disorders aren't fully understood. Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people who are already prone to anxiety. Inherited traits also can be a factor.

Medical causes

For some people, anxiety may be linked to an underlying health issue. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of a medical illness. If your doctor suspects your anxiety may have a medical cause, he or she may order tests to look for signs of a problem.

Examples of medical problems that can be linked to anxiety include:

  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
  • Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma
  • Drug misuse or withdrawal
  • Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or other medications
  • Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones

Sometimes anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications.

It's possible that your anxiety may be due to an underlying medical condition if:

  • You don't have any blood relatives (such as a parent or sibling) with an anxiety disorder
  • You didn't have an anxiety disorder as a child
  • You don't avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety
  • You have a sudden occurrence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events and you didn't have a previous history of anxiety

Risk factors

These factors may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder:

  • Trauma. Children who endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in life. Adults who experience a traumatic event also can develop anxiety disorders.
  • Stress due to an illness. Having a health condition or serious illness can cause significant worry about issues such as your treatment and your future.
  • Stress buildup. A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety — for example, a death in the family, work stress or ongoing worry about finances.
  • Personality. People with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than others are.
  • Other mental health disorders. People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also have an anxiety disorder.
  • Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
  • Drugs or alcohol. Drug or alcohol use or misuse or withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety.

Complications

Having an anxiety disorder does more than make you worry. It can also lead to, or worsen, other mental and physical conditions, such as:

  • Depression (which often occurs with an anxiety disorder) or other mental health disorders
  • Substance misuse
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Digestive or bowel problems
  • Headaches and chronic pain
  • Social isolation
  • Problems functioning at school or work
  • Poor quality of life

There's no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you're anxious:

  • Get help early. Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.
  • Stay active. Participate in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships, which can lessen your worries.
  • Avoid alcohol or drug use. Alcohol and drug use can cause or worsen anxiety. If you're addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious. If you can't quit on your own, see your doctor or find a support group to help you.

Anxiety disorders care at Mayo Clinic

  • Anxiety disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Brown A. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 5, 2018.
  • Anxiety disorders. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders/Overview. Accessed Feb. 25, 2018.
  • Help with anxiety disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders. Accessed Feb. 28, 2018.
  • Reinhold JA, et al. Pharmacological treatment for generalized anxiety disorder in adults: An update. Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy. 2015;16:1669.
  • Bandelow B, et al. Efficacy of treatments for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2015;30:183.
  • Find support. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Find-Support. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Bazzan AJ, et al. Current evidence regarding the management of mood and anxiety disorders using complementary and alternative medicine. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2014;14:411.
  • Natural medicines in the clinical management of anxiety. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Sarris J, et al. Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, Part 2: A review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. CNS Drugs. 2013;27:301.
  • Bystritsky A. Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Herbs and medications. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Bystritsky A. Pharmacotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 26, 2018.
  • Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 21, 2018.

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How to Prep for a Presentation When You Have Severe Anxiety

extreme presentation anxiety

We all know that getting anxiety before a big presentation can make presenting difficult. For those with pre-existing conditions for anxiety, such as social anxiety, agoraphobia and panic disorder, presenting can be more difficult than for those without.

While many of the tips most students use to deal with presentations fail to help those with anxiety, here are some practical steps to take that I use, in order to deal with my anxiety, when presenting. No amount of gimmickry in the world will leave you feeling serene as you address your classmates, but these six tips can definitely help ease your nerves.

1. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

All students planning a presentation are told to practice, but those with anxiety will need to practice even more; at the same time, remember that quantity is not the only factor in intelligent practicing, as it is possible to over-prepare. When you are running through your presentation, establish some key points you want to make sure you’re getting correctly.

The first is usually your time limit; tailor what you say and how quickly you say it in order to meet that mark. Once you’ve figured out exactly what you can adequately cover in your time limit, reduce your talking points into more easily memorable bullet points, such as introduction, main point one, supporting evidence, main point two, supporting evidence and conclusion, depending, of course, on what you’re presenting. When preparing your key points, make sure to craft deliberate segues from point to point, as doing so will take the onus off your on-the-spot creativity, which will be likely be flagging during your speech.

The more you prepare beforehand, the more confident you’ll be when the time comes. Creating a tightly structured PowerPoint and some easy-to-read index cards, and then practicing using those materials, will make it such that by the time it’s actually time to present, you’ll just be running through a script that you’ve practiced to perfection.

2. Plan Your Eye Contact

A good presentation entails that you look out at the crowd, not at your notes or behind you at your slides. So before you present, pick three spots to focus on during the presentation. These spots can be three people in the class that you know well or areas on the walls that are at eye level. Since most people with anxiety have issues with the eye-contact aspect of a presentation, choosing focus areas can be integral to overcoming that challenge.

Since anxiety can make it hard to focus during the presentation, you may even want to insert self-cues into your notes or slide presentation, such as reminders to “look up at the class” or “pause for a deep breath.” Every little benchmark you embed in your presentation will feel like a light house guiding you in a storm; reaching each one will give you a tiny jolt of confidence that you’re on track, everything is going according to plan and that if you just continue to stick to the program, you’ll be absolutely fine.

anxiety

3. Just Breathe

If you have anxiety, there is a good chance that you are already familiar with breathing exercises, as they can be an effective way to deal with stress in general, not just when presenting a speech to a class.

If you have never worked with any breathing routines, google some and try a few out during your practice sessions; if they feel helpful, then bust them out before your presentation. If you already have a few breathing techniques in your back pocket, running through a few before your presentation can be a great way to feel grounded. If you are delivering a group presentation, practice deep breathing before it’s your turn.

Whether you choose to use them or not, make sure to make that choice prior to the day of your presentation, as last-minute decisions will decrease your feeling of control over the situation. If you are planning to do some breath exercises, practice those during your prep sessions so when the big day comes, every part of your routine is comfortable and established.

4. Allot for Mistakes

The worst thing you can do before a presentation is set high standards, as doing so can cause you to mess up and make your anxiety worse. In fact, it can even benefit you to have a set quota of expected mistakes. When I present, I assume I will have at least one or two hiccups, so when they happen, they feel like part of the plan rather than an unexpected mistake.

Allotting for a mistake or two will reduce the pressure you feel, as it will protect you from berating yourself if you stumble. Plus, if you expect to make a mistake or two and you don’t, then the feeling of success you’ll experience after the speech will be even better than had you simply met your expectations. It’s not a matter of aiming low, however, as preparing yourself for failure is certainly not the answer. You should be realistic about your capabilities, prepare as much as you can and plan for a tiny mistake cushion. If you don’t need it, then all the better.

5. Get Excited

Generally you don’t get to pick your presentation topic, so finding a component of your presentation that genuinely interests you will vastly increase the amount you invest in it. The positive energy that is created by your enthusiasm about a topic can do wonders in combatting the negative energy of your anxiety. Getting caught up in a topic that you find fascinating makes it much easier to forget—at least a little bit—about the fact that you’re living your worst nightmare.

Plus, if you let your professor know that you struggle with anxiety and they see you really getting into a topic, they’ll see how much you must care about the subject. So, if at all possible, find at least one little segment of your presentation that you can get excited about.

6. Pick a Small Role

Let’s be real: Just because you can practice and polish your way to giving a half-decent presentation in no way means that you want to be up in front of the class. All the previous tips were centered on the idea of making the best of a bad situation.

The smartest advice? Try and snag the smallest role possible. Take on the tiniest easiest part, or get out of speaking entirely if you can. While you should try and learn how to channel your anxiety in college, as—make no mistake—you will need to be able to overcome it later in the professional world, it never hurts to know yourself and play to your strengths. If you have to give a speech, then go out there and kill it. But no one said that speech had to be long.

  • giving a presentation
  • mental health
  • prep for a presentation
  • public speaking

Angela Herbst, Lakeland University

extreme presentation anxiety

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presentation anxiety

We’ve all been there before. The room is dark, and the only light comes from the projector screen in front of you. You can feel everyone’s eyes on you, and your heart is racing. You take a deep breath and begin to speak, but your mind goes blank. You stumble over your words, and by the end of your presentation, you feel like a complete mess. If this sounds familiar, then you may be suffering from presentation anxiety. In this blog post, we will discuss what presentation anxiety is, how to recognize it, and how to overcome it!

  • 1 Defining Presentation Anxiety
  • 2 Signs And Symptoms
  • 4 Link With Other Disorders
  • 5 Consequences
  • 6.1 Be rehearsed
  • 6.2 Practice positive self-talk
  • 6.3 Build cues
  • 6.4 Ensure comfort
  • 6.5 Release tension
  • 6.6 Know your triggers
  • 6.7 Set realistic goals
  • 6.8 Breathe deeply
  • 6.9 Normalize failure
  • 6.10 Visualize success
  • 6.11 Seek professional help
  • 7 Conclusion

Defining Presentation Anxiety

Defining Presentation Anxiety

The important thing to note is the difference between shyness/nervousness and anxiety. While everyone may get a bit nervous before presenting, those with presentation anxiety often experience more intense symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, trembling, and even nausea. For some people, the fear is so intense that they may avoid presenting altogether.

It is also essential to keep in mind that presentation anxiety is not the same as stage fright. Stage fright is the fear of being on stage in front of an audience. This can be due to a bad experience in the past or a general feeling of uneasiness. While presentation anxiety is focused on the content of the presentation and how well you will do, stage fright is more about the physical act of being on stage.

Signs And Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and red flags of presentation anxiety is the first step in overcoming your fear. For some people, the symptoms may be very mild and only occur in specific situations. Others may find that their anxiety is more constant and interferes with their daily lives. The most common signs and symptoms of presentation anxiety include the following.

  • Avoiding social situations or events where you know you will have to present
  • Experiencing physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, trembling, or nausea
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Having trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Feeling irritable or on edge
  • Imagining the worst-case scenario
  • Fearing that you will embarrass yourself or be judged negatively
  • Having intrusive and negative thoughts
  • Dry mouth or difficulty speaking
  • Mind going blank during presentations
  • Feeling like you are going to faint or pass out
  • Experiencing anxiety or panic attacks in the days leading up to your presentation

It is important to remember that this is only an outline of some of the most common symptoms. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, so you may experience other symptoms not listed here. If you are unsure whether or not you are suffering from presentation anxiety, it is best to consult with a mental health professional.

Causes

  • Fear of public speaking : For many people, the thought of speaking in front of a group is enough to trigger anxiety. This can be due to a bad experience in the past or a general feeling of uneasiness.
  • Perfectionism: If you are someone who strives for perfection, then the thought of making a mistake in front of an audience can be very anxiety-inducing.
  • Lack of experience : If you have little to no experience presenting, then it is only natural to feel anxious about it. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
  • Imposter syndrome : This is the feeling of being a fraud or not good enough for the task at hand. It is common among high-achievers and can be very debilitating.
  • Fear of being judged or evaluated negatively: This is a common cause of anxiety for many people. The fear of being judged by others can be very overwhelming and often leads to avoidance behaviors.
  • Lack of preparation: If you do not feel prepared for your presentation, it is only natural to feel anxious.
  • Previous bad experiences: If you have had a bad experience presenting in the past, it is likely that you will feel anxious about doing it again. This is because you may be worried that you will make the same mistakes or that the outcome will be just as bad.
  • Low self-esteem or lack of confidence: Lastly, if you do not feel confident in your abilities, it is likely that you will feel anxious about presenting. This is because you may be worried that you will not be able to do a good job or that you will be found out as a fraud.

It is essential to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently. What may cause one person to feel anxious may not have the same effect on another.

Link With Other Disorders

Our psychology and emotions are not separate entities. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that presentation anxiety is often linked with other disorders. The most common ones are as follows.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder : This is a disorder characterized by excessive and long-lasting anxiety that interferes with daily life. It often leads to avoidance behaviors, as well as physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, and difficulty sleeping.
  • Social anxiety disorder : Also known as social phobia , this is a disorder characterized by intense fear and anxiety in social situations. It often leads to avoidance behaviors and can be very debilitating.
  • Panic disorder: This is a disorder characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. These panic attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and sweating.
  • Agoraphobia : This is a disorder characterized by fear and anxiety of situations where escape may be difficult or impossible. It often leads to avoidance behaviors and can be very debilitating.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: This is a disorder characterized by intrusive and distressing memories, flashbacks, and nightmares of a traumatic event. It often leads to avoidance behaviors and can be very debilitating.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder : This is a disorder characterized by intrusive and distressing thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It often leads to avoidance behaviors and can be very debilitating.

As you can see, presentation anxiety is often linked with other disorders. If you are experiencing anxiety, it is important to seek professional help.

Consequences

Consequences

  • Poor performance: When we are anxious, our performance often suffers. This is because we are not able to think clearly or focus on the task at hand. As a result, our presentations may be poorer quality and we may not be able to achieve our goals.
  • Avoidance: As mentioned earlier, anxiety often leads to avoidance behaviors. This means that we may start to avoid situations where we have to present. This can lead to missed opportunities and a decline in our career or studies.
  • Isolation : When we start to avoid social situations, we may start to feel isolated. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression .
  • Health problems: Anxiety can also take a toll on our physical health. When we are anxious, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This means that our heart rate and blood pressure increase, and we may start to experience chest pain, headaches, and stomach problems.
  • Mental health problems: Anxiety can also lead to mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders , and substance abuse .

If you are experiencing any of the above consequences, it is important to seek professional help. These consequences may be dire but are manageable. This is why it is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing anxiety.

Tips To Overcome

The good news is that there are a variety of treatment options available for those suffering from presentation anxiety. Some people may only need to make a few lifestyle changes, while others may require more intensive treatment. The key is to try different methods and see what works for you.

Be rehearsed

The foremost step to lessen your anxiety is to be rehearsed. This will help you be more confident and in control when presenting. You may do so by practicing your presentation in front of a mirror or videotaping yourself. This will help you catch any mistakes and give you a better idea of how you come across to others.

Practice positive self-talk

positive self-talk

· “I am prepared.”

· “I can do this.”

· “I am confident.”

· “I am not perfect and that is okay.”

If you think you can make it to the end of your presentation without any cues, you are wrong. Cues help to ground us and remind us of what we need to say next. They can be anything from keywords written on index cards to physical prompts like rubbing your hands together. Incorporating these cues will help you feel more prepared and in control.

Ensure comfort

Anxiety is bound to make you feel odd or uncomfortable. To counter this, it is important to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. This means wearing clothes that you feel good in, being aware of your posture, and making sure that the room temperature is not too hot or cold.

Release tension

Anxiety makes its way into our body and makes us hold onto tension. This can lead to physical discomfort and make it difficult to focus. To release this tension, you may want to try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga. You may even want to try aromatherapy or meditation.

Know your triggers

Know your triggers

Set realistic goals

When we set unrealistic goals, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. This can trigger our anxiety and make it harder to cope. To avoid this, it is important to set realistic goals for ourselves. This means being realistic about what we can achieve and not putting too much pressure on ourselves.

Breathe deeply

Don’t forget to monitor your breathing. When we are anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness. To avoid this, make sure to take deep belly breaths throughout your presentation. This will help to calm you down and ease your anxiety.

Normalize failure

If you still fail or are unable to meet your goal, it is important to remember that this is normal. We all make mistakes and we all have days where things don’t go as planned. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes and keep trying. Don’t let one failure define you or your presentation skills.

Visualize success

Another method that can help ease your anxiety is to visualize yourself being successful. See yourself giving a great presentation and imagine the audience applauding you. This will help increase your confidence and reduce your anxiety.

Seek professional help

Seek professional help

At last, if your condition is too severe and is impacting your daily life, it is important to seek professional help. This doesn’t mean that you are weak or crazy. It just means that you need a little extra help to get through this tough time. There is no shame in seeking help from a therapist or counselor. They may make use of the following techniques.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy : This type of therapy helps to identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that are causing your anxiety.
  • Exposure therapy : This therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that trigger your anxiety. This can help you to learn how to cope with your triggers and eventually overcome them.
  • Narrative therapy : This therapy involves telling your story and working with a therapist to find a new perspective. This can help you to see your anxiety in a new light and eventually overcome it.
  • Free association: This therapy involves saying whatever comes to mind without censoring yourself. This can help to identify the root of your anxiety and eventually work through it.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be necessary to help control your anxiety. Your doctor can prescribe you with medication that will help to ease your symptoms.

If you suffer from presentation anxiety, know that you are not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition. However, there are ways to ease your anxiety and make it more manageable. By following the tips above, you will be on your way to giving a great presentation. So don’t let your anxiety hold you back—you can do this!

To conclude our blog post, we can say that presentation anxiety is a common problem that many people face. However, there are ways to overcome it. By being aware of your triggers, setting realistic goals, breathing deeply, and visualizing success, you will be on your way to giving a great presentation. If your anxiety is severe, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. With the right help, you can overcome your anxiety and live a normal life.

If you or someone you know is looking for psychological help, Therapy Mantra is here for you. We are the leading providers of online therapy and counseling. Our team of highly trained and experienced therapists can provide assistance at the most affordable rates. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You may also visit our website to book an  online therapy  session or download our free  Android  or  iOS app  for more information.

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