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Fear Of Public Speaking and Panic Attacks

Aug 18, 2008
You might be surprised but the fear of public speaking is one of the greatest causes of panic attacks. It's almost ridiculous to think that basically some people would rather be in a coffin than reading a eulogy. For people who suffer fear of public speaking, the anticipation of the event can lead to panic attacks weeks or months before.

Such fear of public speaking may be as basic as a meeting with the office- not necessarily on a podium giving a speech. The fear of public speaking and panic attacks in this case is based on having an attack in the middle of the talk. The person imagines being stuck for words, and being forced to flee the office, much to the amazement of fellow workers.

There is a difference between having a fear of public speaking because of suffering panic attacks, and just a general shyness of speaking in public.
The question is how does someone tackle fear of public speaking?

Firstly you need to accept your fear of public speaking and panic attacks will not disappear over night. Essentially what you need to do is build your confidence back up. You may be surprised to know that the best public speaker's have great anxiety, but use it in a positive fashion to drive them through their public speaking. You need to understand that you can experience a panic attack and anxiety during public speaking and the audience will never know. You will be able to finish your talk and everything will be fine. No matter how uncomfortable you may feel, you will be able to finish.

The real breakthrough in terms of fear of public speaking and panic attacks is the knowledge that you will not be in danger, and will be able to finish your talk without issue.

It is all based on fear. Once you no longer fear the fear of public speaking and panic attacks, you will no longer have a problem

Self doubt is another major issue. The minute you think - I will not be able to cope of finish, is the minute you allow the panic attack to take over. Your self doubt triggers adrenaline which allows the panic attack to take over like a giant wave over your body. The minute you feel this wave of adrenaline, you need to condition your mind and oppose this sensation to give into the panic attack.

Your natural response to the feeling of the panic attack coming on might be:

I am about to have a panic attack, and I really can't afford that to happen in the middle of this speech.
Normally the person suffering from fear of public speaking and panic attacks would confirm the question and give in and let the panic attack take control. What you should do however, is say something like the following to yourself:

"There you are- I have been waiting for you to arrive, I am prepared and you do not pose any danger for me anymore".

The key factor in controlling your fear of public speaking and panic attacks is that instead of suppressing the emotional energy down into your stomach, you are moving out through it. Your body will be in a naturally excited sate- and you can now use that to your advantage. Push out this nervous energy rather than internalizing it. Your presentation will become more lively and energetic.

You should want more from the anxiety as it is feeding your presentation now rather than holding it back.
This might seem like a lot to think about while you are concentrating on your presentation, however you would be surprised how much your mind can deal with simultaneously. By conditioning yourself you will be amazed by the positive effect it will have on your fear of public speaking and panic attacks,
If your fear of public speaking is related to being trapped, then seeking feedback from your audience will provide a great release, and will take you out of the moment. Before your speech plan intervals where you can ask questions of your audience to alleviate those feelings of being trapped and threatened by the potential of an anxiety attack.


Fear of public speaking and panic attacks is extremely common. You have the potential to be great at public speaking - believe in your self. It will take time and practice but you will be amazed how you can use the nervous energy and anxiety to fully overcome your fear of public speaking and anxiety attacks.
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