Fear of public speaking is the most common of all phobias. It’s a form of performance anxiety in which a person becomes very concerned that he or she will look visibly anxious. It is often seen that in many people’s lives, the top raking fear is not death but to having to speak in public. They would rather be lying in the casket at the funeral than giving speech in public. Many people deal with a lifelong dread of getting up to speak in public. Over time, people try to avoid public speaking. In this way, the fear becomes more intense and chronic with time.
Following are the ways how can you avoid a panic attack while you’re giving the speech or presentation if you are already having a panic attack at the very thought of it.
- Confidence: Remember the public speaker you admire the most and portray the confidence you see in that public speaker. Put on your best smile and start by visualizing your confidence in yourself.
- Deep breathing- Rapid breathing is a very common symptom to panic attack. Focus on your breathing and count slowly to 6 as you breathe and then hold the breath for 6 seconds and slowly let it out. Repeat this until the rapid breathing sensation subsides and you’ll soon find your panic attack gone.
- Practice makes perfect- Practice your speech or presentation in front of a mirror, family, and friends. Go a step further and place a specific person or stuffed toy in the very front and pretend that the character is someone you are terrified to speak in front of.
- Know you subject- The more familiar you are with your subject, the easier it will be to get your point across and deliver your speech or presentation. Do your research. Know your material and be comfortable with it.
- Know you room- If possible; take stock of the room you’ll be delivering your speech or presentation in. Find some focal points to look at that will make it appear that you’re looking at your audience when you’re really not. Sometimes this trick alone will make the difference.
- Know your audience- You wouldn’t give the same speech or presentation to a group of 4 year old preschool students that you would give to the executive board. Know your audience and talk at their level.
Although having a panic attack while speaking in public can be very frightening, it doesn’t have to control you. Following one or all of these techniques can alleviate most serious symptoms and give you the confidence you need to make your speech or presentation. With time and practice you’ll soon be the one giving advice to colleges on how to avoid a panic attack when speaking in public or giving a presentation.
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