I'm glad I found this sight. I have spent many hours of worrying about my irrational fear of speaking in front of other people. I believe it all stems from when I was 12 yrs old and was "Mary" in the Christmas nativity play. I was completely overwhelmed by stage fright and completely forgot my lines. I had another experience playing the piano in front of an audience and completely freaking out and forgetting how to play!!!!
I am 30 now and am always worried about speaking in front of others. I thought it was a completely irrational fear until I found this website and it seems many others suffer from this anxiety.
I have recently started a job in sales and marketing and have found that I often need to speak to audiences and give presentations. This really freaks me out and my heart pounds so much beforehand. This fear reallyn over takes my life and I find that I am continually worried about it!!! If I don't do something soon, I fear that it will really damage my relationship as I can't remember the last time I felt freee of this constant anxiety. I feel that my life would be so FREE if I didn't have this worry.
Hi .....thank you for this site. First of all, I'm a strange person in terms of "makes no sense" fears. I'm a photography studio manager from a very large company. I dearly love my work and position. However, it requires role playing at times and may require speaking to my peers at some point in time. I have had this fear my entire life, as long as I can possibly remember. I would "get sick" rather than give an oral book report in school. This sensation has remained with me all these years. However, there are times, I've made myself "do it" anyway. I fall apart..literally. I draw a "blank brain." These situations usually occur when I was not the one to initiate them. I must role play sales presentations with my peers at times. I would
automatically know all the answers if the situation happened with a real customer. I'm very, very good in real situations. I cannot deal with the unreal. I do, indeed, draw blanks....can't think...can't figure anything out. I perspire to the point of embarrassment. It's just awful. I must say though.....if I were the one to initiate the public "whatever", I'm usually fine. I'm the controller. Somebody else is not controlling me. "I" decide what I want to do and say. I'm not on the spot in front of people. I just don't understand how I can be one way and not be able to handle the other?
This fear overcomes me. I don't overcome it. I feel I can't fight it. It's so old...it's now part of me. Yet, I'm an excellent manager, sales person, photographer. I'm excellent in communication skills as long as I initiate. They have been my strengths on my bi annual reviews. Go figure. I can't put a finger on it. When I started with this company and had to go through extensive training with others in the same boat. I was so intimidated by them. I "almost" quit 50 different times, but I didn't. I started as a part time photographer and within 8 mo. was asked to take over one of the most difficult studios in our district. I've made constant improvements in staff, PR with our host store, sales, increased the client base....I won PR awards, customers service awards, sales volumn award. I was named manager of the district for the month of Nov. last year....the busiest month of the season in photography. All within one half year of becoming manager. I just don't understand my fear in these areas of apprehension with my peers. I'm sorry this got so long. I'm a strange bird. Trust me. Anyway.....thanks for your time.
Since I had a *really* bad experience doing a book report in 7th grade I have never been the same since. I took F's on oral reports because I was too afraid to do them. I dropped out of college classes where oral reports were required and at almost every job I've had, I'm terrified when I'm called upon. My voice is shaky and I cannot control my facial expressions or think about what I am talking about. My new job requires everyone gives talks every so often on their work area to 20-30 people during lunch. I feel like quitting, but the worst part is the stress I go through every day thinking about it. It degrades the quality of my life and gives me stomach pain. I have been running from this my whole life and the handful of times I've faced the fear head-on, I've lost. I feel totally trapped.
I always seemed to have 2 sides...sometimes shy and sometimes outgoing.
In 7th grade, I signed up to read the morning announcements over the PA system. I was not at all anxious before hand as I had never had any real bad experiences in this way. As I began reading the daily news, I started hearing my voice reverberate through the entire school. It really caught me off guard and my voice began to shake and I could hardly croak out the rest of the messages. But croak I did and it was a totally humiliating experience which I have never gotten over. From that day on, I was never the same...always having way too much anxiety over any oral presentation. I never have had as bad an experience as that day, but still it haunts...I am now 45 years old and have recently gotten a teaching job and it is very difficult for me to handle the public speaking parts.
I am 25 years old and I was fine all my life until shortly after my 20th birthday.I was at work and a co-worker made me blush over something silly which wasn't a big deal but then some of the other girls started making fun of the fact that my face was red. Suddenly I started to feel extremely nervous, my lips started quivering, and my heart started beating harder than it ever had.
I then became anxious of going to work the next day. I worried so much about it that of course the next day it happened again. And again my co-workers teased me thinking it was cute and not understanding what I was feeling. I quit that job.
This fear worked itself into all aspects of my life and has caused me to turn down basically any situation where the attention might be drawn to myself. And cause me to not have fun in a situation that would have been great a few years earlier.I can't even play a board game because I only think about how my hand might start shaking on my turn and I am sure that everyone is watching me for the same thing.
At another job I had everyone had to have their lunch together in a lunchroom. I would spend my whole lunch break freaking out that someone might want me to say something. One day I lifted my hand off the table and there was literaly a puddle of sweat where my hand had been.
Anyways sorry to make a short story long but my main problem is that because this has only been a problem for 4 years I can still remember the way I was ( outgoing ) and I refuse to accept this as part of my life. I hope that someone can send in some useful information.
I just read your chapters on effective speaking and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration. I have a speech to make in 2 days, already thought out and prepared to be read at a memorial service for a veteran killed in Viet Nam. That man was my fiance. 34 years later I have reopend a wound never healed but sorely festering. The time for healing is now. I have never been comfortable speaking in public but want to honor my first love with my memories of him. I keep thinking of Courage... Being afraid and doing it anyway. That is what he was an example of. I know I will honor his memory on Tuesday.
Thank you, I am a student of Yoga and needed reminding of my spirit having this human experience.
I can nearly get into a panic just thinking about when the NEXT time I have to speak might be. I've seen psychologists, psychiatrists, and blown a bundle of money, but still.....shaking, voice trembling, voice higher than normal. Have you ever seen some of those old movies with Don Knotts? It is just like that. Once I was volunteered to have my blood pressure taken before a group. My pressure was higher than what the machine was calibrated to measure!!! Yet, at home, I'm 120/75 or less. Whew!
I am a IT professional. I live with the exhausting fear of public speaking. I can deal with small meetings and other interaction fairly well, once I get to know the people. However, being the presenter and having all eyes on me is my GREATEST fear! I have no idea why. I am the type of person who shines at work. Its a double edge sword! I tend to get huge raises and have lots of opportunities to move up. I have the fear that if I move up there is a MUCH greater probability of having to do presentations.
I spend most of my time worrying about something that does not even exist. Completely irrational thoughts! And I know it!
I am a subject matter expert where I work. Most of my communication is written or through one-on-one conversations. However, speaking in front of a group terrifies me to the point that not only does my voice quiver, but I tremble and have facial spasms and trouble breathing. I know I look scared to death and it totally shifts the focus from my topic to whether or not paramedics should be called! It comes on suddenly. Generally a moment or two before I'm due to speak. My only saving grace is that after a moment or two I begin to calm down and am able to finish with at least some dignity. I'm very embarrassed and depressed for days afterwards.
I am usually able to avoid public speaking situations, but when I can't I simply freak. I know as fact that if I can overcome my horrific fear of public speaking I would be at the top of my organization.
I am just starting to address my problem of public speaking. I am a senior in college and have always dropped classes that require oral presentations. My major ironically is communications, emphasis on advertising, and I am ready to face and conquer this fear before I go crazy. Now that I am a senior there is no way to avoid classes that I have to present advertising campaigns on a regular basis. I have to give a brief speech this Monday that is in front of the class and I am terrified. I was trying to figure out how to arrange my schedule to avoid taking this class semester, but now I am going to stick with it and face this crazy fear. I do not know who is going to read this but if anybody has any information or advice, I would greatly appriciate it. I have heard that I should think of something to make me angry, because that blocks the adrenaline from flowing or something like that. Oh well, I am willing to try anything at this point.
I start getting anxious when I know that I will be in a meeting, or classroom situation where I will be asked to speak. I worry about it so much, I can't even concentrate on the subject the group is discussing. I start wishing I could just run out of the room. What bothers me the most about public speaking, is the fact that everybody is looking at me while I am talking. It is as though I can feel their eyes on me.
I do much better in situations where I have a visual aid to point to when discussing things in front of a group...as though to draw their eyes away from me, and on to something else. Ultimately, I feel pretty comfortable if I interject a thought into the conversation on my own...but when called upon to do so, I feel trapped. Also, if I can make a short statement of a sentence or two, I am fine -- but when I have to explain something, or read out loud - basically any speech longer than 30 seconds or so, that is when I start to panic and get the 'flight response'.
I am 43 years old and get a pit in my stomach when I know I must speak in front of my collegues. I become tongue-tied, blush, and my voice wivers. Sometimes, I'm fine, sometimes, I'm at a loss for words.
I wish I could express myself to groups of people without having any pangs of anxiety. It's frustrating, and weighs on my mind days before I know I have to speak in front of a group.
I try to convince myself that it is only a few minutes of my life, and who gives a '$%*#' about them anyway! Wishing I could rid of myself of this anxiety that plagues me.
My attacks come in a variety of situations. There can be 100 people or 10 people. Sometimes I can speak very persuasively and sometimes I panic for no understandable reason. It seems like when I have to go to a microphone out in an audience I have a harder time that when it is up at a podium in front of a room but not particularly.
At worst my anxiety makes my heart pound, my voice quiver uncontrollably, and my mind unable to focus on anything other than my fear which only feeds on itself making things worse. It does seem to me that if I can find a way to get into the beginning of speaking without "blowing my cover" or exposing myself, I can than gain confidence and be OK.
I am searching for ways to help me become more and more comfortable in different settings so I can do what I want to do and not be fearful of taking on new challenges.
I just read your chapters on effective speaking and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration. I have a speech to make in 2 days, already thought out and prepared to be read at a memorial service for a veteran killed in Viet Nam. That man was my fiance. 34 years later I have re-opened a wound never healed but sorely festering. The time for healing is now. I have never been comfortable speaking in public but want to honor my first love with my memories of him. I keep thinking of Courage... Being afraid and doing it anyway. That is what he was an example of. I know I will honor his memory on Tuesday.
Thank you, I am a student of Yoga and needed reminding of my spirit having this human experience.
I am an up and coming military officer in college. Fortunately I have had many chances to speak in public. Whenever I have to deliver a report or even answer a question in class the moment right before,my heart begins to beat rapidly, and when my words finally do escape my mouth, they are delivered in a shaky tone. I can not go on like this. I am a senior and I am constantly hearing people telling me that I need to have more confidence in myself. I do have confidence believe me. I am afraid that this will really hender my military career, what soldier would take my shaky voice serious?
I have had a problem with public speaking for years, but the most ironic part is I am actually an excellent public speaker. But for the life of me, I get completely freaked out. The most bothersome about it is that sometimes I actually am not as nervous as I am other times, and that uncertainty of how I will react on that day is what is the biggest variable that makes the thought of that day coming so grueling.
I can point to dozens of very successful presentations where I walked away feeling so empowered and so excited that I could not wait to do my next public speaking event, but that only lasts so long.
If you are a nervous speaker, don't ever, ever drink caffeine before a presentation. It's bad enough with all the adrenaline running through your veins the last think you need is a stimulant. I limit myself to one cup of tea that morning. I think that people believe that coffee will make them a better speaker, but not with me. It just makes my brain go into overdrive and then I get really confused. So, try not to have any caffeine and you will see the difference. -beverly
I have always been scared to speak in a group in front of people even when I have been required to introduce myself, it just makes me sweat, my voice and body trembles. I love singing but cant do it in front in church. Iam glad that to know that there could be help to my problem even at this age above fifty.
Hi I work in the public sector. I face clients every day. Even though I speak good English, time to time I tumble and find hard to speak to some body or explain things. Often i lost for words. My work place few people commented about that and one particular woman always make remarks about speaking skills with her friends around me. She never approached me and told me any thing so I found if hard to find a ground to retaliate or respond to her comments. When these people make comments around me I found it hard and harder to speak when they are around me. These days I feel very isolated and lots of people try to avoid me. I got a nice house hold and two kids so their company is not that important to me. So I did not try to go after them searching for a topic for a conversation. Then what happen is they attack me more. Some people who were nice to me before do not talk to me after talking to the people who avoid me. Some times they all get together and look at me as a group from distance and all of sudden they burst in to a laugh. I don't know the reason, but when I look at them it's like they are making fun of me. When they gather and talk I tried to go and join them then they dissolved into different directions. It is not easy at the present. but nobody told me whats going on. One male officer who work with me greets to me every moring several times. and what he did was tell people who are around him to watch and came to me and started me greeting for several times. First I responded to him. Then I told him not to do that as I found him making fun of me. I told him that I don't like what he is doing. When he continue to do that I stopped responding to him. Now he and his two male friends and one female friend all do not speak to me and some times do not give me a space to work. and They go around and talk to the others and laugh infront of me. I do not want to be in this shift but with my kids I can't go to another place to work.
....I have been promoted to a prominent position within my company where I am expected to participate at conferences by speaking, being part of panels etc... I have lots of valuable information to share but when I open my mouth to convey my thoughts, they come out quickly, jumbled and shaky! Some days are worse than others. I have been this way my whole life and am afraid I am going to hold my career back if I cannot do something about this.
I am absolutely convinced that alcohol (not the day of) has something to do with speech impairment. I tend to drink a lot on weekends and the withdrawal effects on the bodies central nervous system I know for certain messes me up. When I have to speak I try not to have any alcohol or really very little for up to a week in advance. For me the difference is dramatic. I read the submission on caffeine and I think alcohol abstinence is crucial too.
I am in the military, a life that deals with briefings day after day. When I was younger, I did not have a fear of speaking in front of larger crowds. Now I'm 45, still in the military and for some reason as soon as I know I have to speak my heart starts racing and my voice always trembles. A hypnotist in California said if a person has had surgery, sometimes it can trigger a fear of public speaking so I thought maybe that was the problem. I would like to get rid of this fear as it could hold me back from future promotions.
I have always felt confident talking to any one and in my earlier years was always the centre of attention and even played the leading roles in quite a few plays. I am now 42 and feel completly the opposite when I am expected to speak to more than a handfull of people. I have a high paying Job and run a company with over 50 employees. I feel relaxed and personel talking to all my staff but the second I have to do any presentation to my Employers or peers I turn into an emotional wreck with a very tight throat, quivering lips and sweaty hands. It has got to the point I am worried about my carere. I am probably going to win a prestigious company award soon and the thought of me doing an exceptence speach is enough for me to pretend I'm not well on the night so I don't have to attend.
I am passionate about what i do, i am currently in college pursuing a career in graphic design. In every class the students have to present their work at the beginning of the class, i have being doing it cause i have to, but its not a pleasurable situations as i want it to be, since i am scared to death of public speaking. I believe that i have overcome aspects of this fear, but not completely, i always start to shake and i get really anxious before presentations, but i tend to go through with it. In my head i think i am a good public speaker the only thing is that my mind does not allow me to show that to my class or to the whomever i am speaking to. Thats one of the reasons, the second most annoying and uncomfortable feeling is speaking english as a second language, when i speak face to face to one of my peer or co-workers my accents does not bother me but when i am about to speak to an audience or a group of people my accents kicks in and gets stronger and i know the reason why, because i am really nervous, but i do not know how other people with way stronger accents do it, they are not a shame or at least it does not look like it. Even if i practice my speech over and over when i stand in front and all eyes are on me, i start digging a hole for myself. If anyone has any tips and/or advices i will really REALLY appreciated it.