Typically, people with normally low levels of anxiety get nervous before speaking but begin to relax once they get started. People with normally high levels of anxiety, however, are also anxious when they start speaking, but their apprehension only gets worse as the speech goes on. As the anxiety intensifies, the body experiences a surge in stress hormones, which encourages a fight or flight reaction. Watch out— we’ve reached the point of no return!
Not up for drowning anxiety with booze? There are lots of safer, sober ways to overcome that fear, tooTreating individuals with debilitating performance anxiety: An introduction. Powell DH. Harvard Medical School, MA. Journal of Clinical Psychology 2004, Aug;60(8);801-8.Cognitive therapy techniques before a speech— like deep breathing exercises, concentrating on the material, and plenty of practice to build confidence— have also been found to effectively calm nerves. And while a few cocktails before a big speech might seem like a good way to relax, it’s probably best to save the alcohol consumption for the celebration afterwards!