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Hi, Fear of public speaking is number one fear among people. It is a symptom of social phobia, but does not sound as if you have this disorder. Many people have extreme anxiety with symptoms you describe.
Medicational treatment to include beta blockers and benzodiazepines. Also SSRIs such as celexa, zoloft, paxil are used as well.
Sometimes these are enough to make you feel comfortable. You are probably aware the benzos and beta blockers are much faster and instantaneous, and the SSRIs usually take about 4 weeks to reach maximum potential.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the preferred treatment method for addressing this issue, but there are also many online courses to address this as well.
Doing some things for yourself can help a bit such as saying aloud "I'm a little nervous" during your talk, telling a joke loosens up you and the crowd a little. Some people prefer to sit down on a stool or chair while speaking. This puts you on a more even keel with everyone, and you don't feel so much in the spotlight. As you gain more confidence you can stand up. If you are lecturing, standing in the back of the room with an overhead, allows the eyes off of you, and on to something else. Finding one person in the room who is paying attention and looks "kind" and focus on them. As you look around during your speech, focus on the bridge of the nose rather than the eyes of your audience. This appears as if you are looking directly at them, without seeing the eyes on you. You are already addressing this through Toastmasters, which is excellent. The more you practice anything, the more comfortable you feel.
One or a combination of these treatments can help you over come this common fear. Please let me know what other questions you have. Gina
I have been trying Toastmasters on and off since for 10 years (I've probably joined about 10 clubs so far) - they don't seem to work on their own for me as I get very apprehensive and anxious when I have to mix with other people in a club situation.
When a group conversation starts I always try and stop it and return to a one to one conversation.
I have also tried the beta blockers but they didn't work with me.
I suppose social phobia is also a bit of a continuiim?
You know, it does have a lot to do with living in a bubble. The bubble is the comfort zone. We allow certain people and situations to be inside the bubble, because we feel comfortable around them. The bubble stretches and pulls in other things as we feel they are mastered, or with certain people who are not threatening to us. So, yes, it is like a continuum in a way.
The more you do something, the more your confidence builds in your ability to succeed at doing it, and then eventually it slips into the bubble. So we aren't nervous about it anymore. Like riding a bicycle, so to speak.
Public speaking is a little different, because most of us don't have to do it everyday, so we lose a little confidence in between. I think that is why it is so threatening to us. If you ever have to do a daily speech or class, you would find at the end of that period of time, you would feel pretty good about your abilities.
Please let me know if you have other questions. Gina
Yes -I have framed it that way myself (the bubble).
From what you are saying then - perhaps it's an ecclectic kind of approach - if I'm on a continuiim than I could take some useful tips from people about social phobia kind of treatment which might be useful - e.g cognitive therapy/ desensitisation etc ??