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Public speaking anxiety?

I'm in my second year of uni and this semester we have an oral presentation worth 5% of our overall grade.I have a very severe fear of public speaking which persisted all throughout high school and last time I had a presentation back in high school, 10 minutes before I was meant to start I had a really bad panic attack, broke down crying, left the room and didn't end up doing it. I felt humiliated and I lost marks off that assignment but I didn't care just because the thought of public speaking was even worse. How should I approach the situation? I'm about 90% sure that if I try to do it I will have another panic attack and break down and make a complete fool of myself. I've also thought that because it's only worth 5% will it matter too much if I just don't go to the presentations and not present? Or should I talk to my lecturer and see if there is an alternative, however I'm really embarrassed about feeling this way. Also I did see a psychologist about this fear when I was in high school but I found that it did not help me at all and over time my fear got even worse. Advice would be appreciated.

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

@lr8991 hmmm it's a common problem from what I understand. 


I personally don't have this issue, but I have had friends that have watched a bit of youtube to help coax them through Smiley Happy 

I know this TED one is super popular [link here]

I think the best thing we can do is to face our fears, and remember that it's okay to make mistakes whilst we are facing them. Sometimes it can take quite a while. Another of my peers used hypnosis to help them, which is a bit alternative, but some people find quite helpful.


I understand feeling embarassed however please don't be hard on yourself Smiley Happy Some of the most influential people started out incredibly shy in the public eye,  @j95 @redhead @DruidChild what are your thoughts?

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Hey @lr8991! Welcome to RO Smiley Happy 


Public speaking and oral presentations can be soo challenging, hey? It's totally valid to be feeling this way, although I'm really sorry that you're going through it right now. Smiley Sad 


I agree that facing our fears is better for us in the long term...last year I had an oral presentation and although it was really difficult, it helped me to know that I was capable of doing it. In my experience, if you would like an alternative (which is also cool! You need to do what you need to do to succeed Smiley Happy ) then I've found that tutors or lecturers are always happy to talk to students about these issues and are generally pretty helpful. Many universities also have a counselling service that you could check out as they might be able to help with some of your anxiety. 


What strategies do you usually use for feeling nervous/anxious I find that simple breathing exercises and deep breathing can really work wonders. In fact, ReachOut has an app called Breathe that helps you to calm down when you're feeling upset or anxious, maybe it'd be worth a look? Smiley Happy


The other thing that helps me is to be really well prepared. I make sure to write down everything that I want to say and rehearse it a few times beforehand. Don't forget, oral presentations are really intimidating at first - I can imagine that lots of students feel nervous and confronted by the idea, you're not alone Smiley Happy 


Good luck! 


(P.S @Bree-RO I'm sorry I haven't replied in the other thread you tagged me in, I really didn't think I could be helpful there as I have no experience with friendship stuff!) 

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Hey @lr8991 Nice to hear from you.

Personally, I've become a lot better a public speaking in the last couple of years, I even spoke on video a while ago and it was shown to heaps of people and that was pretty huge for me. Now at trade school I can stand up talk, its usually really fast and I'm sweating a lot but I can do it.
I think though, if you really don't feel that presenting is going to work for you, that you approach your lecturer, you'll find that you may not be the only person that has talked to them about this. I'm wondering if you've read this link before? I really like it, let me know what you think.

//You can stay afraid, or slit the throat of fear and be brave//

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Hey @lr8991, just checking in to see how you're doing?

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Thanks for the help everyone. The presentation isn't for a few weeks so I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I found that Ted talk really helpful, thank you @Bree-RO. I think I am going to try and do it and see how I go. At least if I struggle on the day or do really badly then at least I can say I have tried. Thank you all for the support.

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

hey @lr8991 

i really dont like public speaking either but i might be able to help with a few tips to help you to move forward with it and might help with your nerves just abit, might help you decide whether to do it or not.


so in my experience- i havent been to uni but i went through to yr 12 and had to do speech in front of the wholes school so i no how nerve wrackign it can be.

 somethign that i find helpful is when your reading your speech or talking to an auidience try to focus on something on the walls instead of people faces that way you arent feeling like your taking in all their reactions.  whoever is markign you though just make sure you make eye contact maybe twice once at the start during your intro and towards the end in the conclusion. so kinda dont jsut stare at the back wall but rather flick your eyes sort of like middle, left, middle, right so it looks like your not jsut staring into this space.


you could practice in front of a small crowd like a few family memebrs or friends to get use to talking into the crowd.


when you are about to start, yes the nerves will be around just take a few deep breaths and then just start try not to think to much about what you sound like or anything, the first few sentences are often the worst but just rememebr to breathe, and relax and try not to stress to much about the marks otherwise youll add so much more pressure onto yourself and mae your panic worse. so jsut have faith in your work and believe in your selfHeart

**NEVER be afraid to ask for help because you're WORTH it!**

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Hi @lr8991!

I think it's really brave of you to face this challenge. I used to be very scared to do public speaking presentations. I even had a circumstance where I couldn't stop laughing and I was so embarrassed. Little did I know at the time was that everyone was preoccupied with worrying about their own presentations while I was speaking! This made me feel better because it highlighted that most people will feel exactly the same way. When you do the presentation please know that there are so many people here on RO who are rooting for you!

Please tell us how it goes! 

Re: Public speaking anxiety?

I know the feeling - i even went to a hypnotherapist to deal with this issue that is  how bad it was for me.


It still is not great but here's what helps me:


Give it a go - ok you get in front of the room, you shake, you stumble, your words don't come out, you appear outwardly nervous. But at the end of it you give yourself a pat on the back and say "well i did it".


The tip: Celebrate the wins and not the losses. You did it! it sucked BUT you did it. Next time you will do better. The more you do it the better you will get. 


Practice in subtle situations like with a group of friends (without telling them), attempt to command the conversation, and in that moment pretend you are doing a speech. Its practice!


Also remember fear of public speaking is just a mental roadblock. Think back to when you remember the VERY first time you felt nervous about public speaking. For me it was in primary school when we had to stand up in front of the class and tell everyone what we did on the weekend. I close my eyes, picture that little girl and tell her "everything is going to be ok" it doesnt matter and you can do it. 


Fears are just bad experiences - try and remember your first bad experience, pretend to relive the moment and tell that little self that its ok!






Re: Public speaking anxiety?

Public speaking anxiety is a common fear that every individual experience. It is also called glossophobia. Some people tend to get nervous while giving a speech or presenting in front of the client. If you have a social anxiety disorder, public speaking anxiety can overtake your life.


The symptoms of public speaking anxiety are like the ones which occur for social anxiety disorder. However, they take place only in the context of public speaking.


Tips for managing your anxiety are:

  • You could seek professional treatment. It may be short-term therapy or medications
  • Prepare your speech. For this purpose, choose a topic that interest you, become accustomed to the venue, do not script it, deal with demanding audience tactfully
  • Practice, practice, practice. Do so maybe 10, 20, or 30 times. It will boost your confidence
  • Try preparing in front of the mirror or record yourself in a smartphone. Identify your nervous habits
  • Imagine yourself succeeding. The best way to beat public speaking anxiety is visualizing wowing the audience with your oratorical skills