Many people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are afraid to talk in public. This is a form of social anxiety. These fears can have a huge impact on a person’s success at work or school. People who are afraid of public speaking may avoid jobs, courses, or situations that must be shown in front of others. But you can overcome these fears, even if you still have PTSD.
People who are afraid of public speaking often blame themselves for these fears.
If you are afraid of public speaking, it is important to remember that these fears are justified. When you speak in front of a crowd, you are vulnerable. For people with PTSD, this can be very scary.
In addition, you may worry that people will make negative comments about you. You may even be afraid of getting positive reviews, because if people think you are doing well, they may expect you to always reach that level. You are worried that a new standard has been established that is difficult to keep up with.
PTSD public speaking skills
Fortunately, you can learn to overcome fear. Here are some tips for people dealing with PTSD and those who are afraid of public speaking. This advice can help you better control your anxiety in public speaking and increase your confidence when speaking in front of others.
- Identify and verify your anxiety. When people give public speaking, anxiety is normal. Accepting anxiety and being willing to experience it will prevent it from growing and may interfere with your speech. “Willing” yourself to relax or try to suppress anxiety will only distract you and increase your anxiety. Remember, no one in the audience knows how you feel.
- breathe. Before you start speaking, take some time to focus on your breathing. This can reduce your anxiety and keep you focused before attending.
- Release muscle tension. Don’t clench your fists or lock your knees. Use gestures. If you find yourself nervous, move around. Exercise also helps breathing.
- Focus on your information, not your body. When people speak in public, they often pay attention to their inner feelings, or whether they blush, tremble, etc. When we speak in public, small body movements or small changes in the body will be exacerbated. What may feel like a lot of trembling or shaking to us may not be obvious or insignificant to our audience. The more we pay attention to these experiences, the stronger they become, and the more our anxiety interferes with our information.
- practice. Obviously, practice is very important when speaking. However, people often practice in the wrong way. People often practice speeches by reading exactly what they want to say, and can almost memorize the content of the speech. This will make you fail. During the speech, if you deviate from the content of your practice or memory, you may derail, causing your anxiety to soar. Practice through concepts, not words. Familiarize yourself with the main points you want the audience to take home. These points can be communicated in many different ways.
- Water is available. This can help relieve dry mouth, but if you need to breathe during your speech, it will also give you a chance to breathe. Avoid caffeine or sugary liquids.
- Plan a break in the presentation. Ask if anyone has any questions. Even if no one has any questions, this will give you a chance to catch your breath and organize your thoughts. You can also ask questions to people in the audience to give yourself a break.
- Try to avoid using notes. When there is too much content on note cards, people tend to rely too much on them and lose contact with the audience. If you use note cards, just include short points.
- Be confident. Even if you don’t feel that way, speak firmly and be confident. Your emotions will eventually catch up with how you behave.
- Maintain sincere eye contact with different audiences. If you are in a large room, it can help divide the room into several parts and guide your eyes to these different areas of the room through a demonstration.
- Handle your attention flexibly. When performing a presentation, it is normal to focus on the person providing negative facial feedback. It is normal to interpret this as a sign that we have not succeeded in communicating the message. In fact, we don’t know what that person is responding to. Have a broader understanding of the room. Pay attention to those who also provide positive facial feedback.
- Be careful when you start the presentation. People sometimes feel overwhelmed when they start a presentation because they feel they have a lot to do. Focus on the present and effectively convey your message for every part of the presentation.
- Plan ahead. If you might not be in time, please plan in advance what you can cut. In addition, decide in advance how to answer questions that may be asked, especially questions you don’t know how to answer.
- Be familiar with your location. If you are not familiar with where to give your speech, please try to arrive early to understand the situation. The more familiar you are with the place, the less you will be caught off guard.
- Practice self-care. Eat well that day. I slept enough the night before. Also, limit caffeine again.
The importance of practice
The fear of public speaking can be difficult to overcome, especially if you have PTSD. Therefore, don’t expect these techniques to immediately relieve your anxiety. They require repeated practice.
It may also be useful to give a short presentation in front of someone you are comfortable with. When you are less anxious, try to practice these skills. This way, you can use them more easily.
Although you may not be relieved immediately, through repeated practice and public speaking, your fear can be overcome.