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How To Distinguish Public Speaking Problems?

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
-Mark Twain


Fear of speaking in public is number one on the list of "phobias" that Americans have.

Phobia is a persistent or intense fear of a particular object, activity, or situation.

Fear of public speaking is one type of social phobia that is often associated with or developed through a person's adolescence.

How would you react if your boss suddenly told you, you must do a presentation in front of your colleagues?

If the mere thought of having to stand and speak in front of a crowd is enough to give you panic attacks, then you have this type of phobia.

As with all fears, you can learn to cope with your public speaking anxiety by recognizing the symptoms first.

Who knows? Once you are up there, you might eventually realize that you are good at giving speeches or addressing the public and even make a living out of it.

People are always hungry for information, and there is no better way of keeping them informed than by giving presentations and speeches about specific topics you have already "mastered.”

First, look at the physical and mental manifestations of a person who experiences fear of public speaking.


Being nervous before the day of your speech has several physical symptoms, which are as follows:

1. You have butterflies in your stomach.

2. Your palms are sweating.

3. Your hands are shaking.

4. Your knees are also shaking, and you feel like your legs are about to collapse.

5. Your heart beats much faster than average.

6. You experience slight dizziness or a "fainting" feeling.

7. You have a stomach disorder.

6. Your face is flushed, and your mouth is dry.

7. You have "cold sweat" all over.

8. 'Panicky' thoughts.

Any of the above symptoms are standard in certain situations. However, if you experience them in excess, you might have to seek professional help.

Public speaking anxiety would also lead to many 'panicky thoughts.'

You might be afraid that someone in the audience knows more about the topic than you do.

You are afraid that there is a question to come up that you are unable to answer.

You are afraid of committing a blunder for everyone to see.

You can channel these negative thoughts into a more positive output, resulting in a spontaneous, informative, and humorous speech.

By recognizing the symptoms and learning how to deal with your fear, you will eventually learn how to address the public and make it enjoyable and informative to yourself and your audience.

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