Public Speaking Anxiety

Public Speaking Anxiety

One of the most common forms of social anxiety disorder is public speaking anxiety. Many people don’t really enjoy speaking in public, but those with a true public speaking anxiety exhibit serious anxiety symptoms when asked to speak in public. They may avoid all situations where they need to speak in public or give a presentation, and they may even have a panic attack when thinking about speaking in public.

If you struggle with a public speaking anxiety, you’re certainly not alone. There are millions of people who hate speaking in public, and many who have severe anxieties surrounding such an event. Here’s what you need to know about how to deal with or get over your public speaking anxiety:

Try cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a great option when you have a public speaking anxiety that’s really interfering with your life. For some people, a public speaking anxiety isn’t a huge problem, since many people never have to undertake public speaking engagements at all. However, if this anxiety is a huge problem for your job or social life, or if you just want to get over it so that you have no social anxieties left, consider cognitive-behavioral therapy.

This type of therapy will help you identify negative thought and behavior patterns surrounding public speaking that trigger your anxiety or make it worse. With the help of a therapist, you can change the way you think about and deal with this anxiety so that you no longer have to worry about it interfering with your life again.

Expose yourself gradually

If you have a rather mild public speaking anxiety or even an outright phobia, you can sometimes cure yourself by exposing yourself gradually. This type of exposure therapy works for many people who have phobias of different sorts, and it might just work for you.

With this type of therapy, you’ll want to write down all the things about public speaking that make you even a little bit anxious. For instance, maybe writing a speech even makes you a bit anxious because you know it could lead to public speaking. Rank these uncomfortable or scary events in order from least to most frightening.

Then, practice each of these events or actions one at a time. Start writing small speeches, and keep writing them until you’re completely comfortable with the idea of writing a speech. Then, you might try practicing your speeches in front of a mirror until you’re comfortable with that step. Gradually, work your way up to doing your speeches in front of family members or close friends. Again, at each step, pause until you’re comfortable with that step. Eventually, give a public speech in front of some people you don’t know, and you’ll find that it’s much less scary than it used to be because you’ve worked your way up to that point slowly and steadily.

Keep your perspective

If your public speaking anxiety doesn’t ever fully go away, try to make it less of a problem in your life. Get into a position where you don’t really need to do public speaking. Even if you work in a higher job in an organization, you can often have another person give the actual public speeches, so long as you write them down or tell that person what to say. There are almost always ways around public speaking unless you’re a politician or in some similar profession. If you have a serious public speaking anxiety, you should consider choosing a life track that doesn’t require you to speak in public, so that you don’t have to worry about this anxiety anymore.