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How to Manage Public Speaking Anxiety

Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of The Anxiety Workbook and founder of the website About Social Anxiety. She has a Master's degree in clinical psychology.

does presentation help social anxiety

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

does presentation help social anxiety

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Speech Anxiety and SAD

How to prepare for a speech.

Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia , is one of the most commonly reported social fears.

While some people may feel nervous about giving a speech or presentation if you have social anxiety disorder (SAD) , public speaking anxiety may take over your life.

Public speaking anxiety may also be called speech anxiety or performance anxiety and is a type of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety disorder, also sometimes referred to as social phobia, is one of the most common types of mental health conditions.

Public Speaking Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of public speaking anxiety are the same as those that occur for social anxiety disorder, but they only happen in the context of speaking in public.

If you live with public speaking anxiety, you may worry weeks or months in advance of a speech or presentation, and you probably have severe physical symptoms of anxiety during a speech, such as:

  • Pounding heart
  • Quivering voice
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upset stomach

Causes of Public Speaking Anxiety

These symptoms are a result of the fight or flight response —a rush of adrenaline that prepares you for danger. When there is no real physical threat, it can feel as though you have lost control of your body. This makes it very hard to do well during public speaking and may cause you to avoid situations in which you may have to speak in public.

How Is Public Speaking Anxiety Is Diagnosed

Public speaking anxiety may be diagnosed as SAD if it significantly interferes with your life. This fear of public speaking anxiety can cause problems such as:

  • Changing courses at college to avoid a required oral presentation
  • Changing jobs or careers
  • Turning down promotions because of public speaking obligations
  • Failing to give a speech when it would be appropriate (e.g., best man at a wedding)

If you have intense anxiety symptoms while speaking in public and your ability to live your life the way that you would like is affected by it, you may have SAD.

Public Speaking Anxiety Treatment

Fortunately, effective treatments for public speaking anxiety are avaible. Such treatment may involve medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.

Short-term therapy such as systematic desensitization and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful to learn how to manage anxiety symptoms and anxious thoughts that trigger them.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist who can offer this type of therapy; in particular, it will be helpful if the therapist has experience in treating social anxiety and/or public speaking anxiety.

Research has also found that virtual reality (VR) therapy can also be an effective way to treat public speaking anxiety. One analysis found that students treated with VR therapy were able to experience positive benefits in as little as a week with between one and 12 sessions of VR therapy. The research also found that VR sessions were effective while being less invasive than in-person treatment sessions.

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If you live with public speaking anxiety that is causing you significant distress, ask your doctor about medication that can help. Short-term medications known as beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol) can be taken prior to a speech or presentation to block the symptoms of anxiety.

Other medications may also be prescribed for longer-term treatment of SAD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). When used in conjunction with therapy, you may find the medication helps to reduce your phobia of public speaking.

In addition to traditional treatment, there are several strategies that you can use to cope with speech anxiety and become better at public speaking in general . Public speaking is like any activity—better preparation equals better performance. Being better prepared will boost your confidence and make it easier to concentrate on delivering your message.

Even if you have SAD, with proper treatment and time invested in preparation, you can deliver a successful speech or presentation.

Pre-Performance Planning

Taking some steps to plan before you give a speech can help you better control feelings of anxiety. Before you give a speech or public performance:

  • Choose a topic that interests you . If you are able, choose a topic that you are excited about. If you are not able to choose the topic, try using an approach to the topic that you find interesting. For example, you could tell a personal story that relates to the topic as a way to introduce your speech. This will ensure that you are engaged in your topic and motivated to research and prepare. When you present, others will feel your enthusiasm and be interested in what you have to say.
  • Become familiar with the venue . Ideally, visit the conference room, classroom, auditorium, or banquet hall where you will be presenting before you give your speech. If possible, try practicing at least once in the environment that you will be speaking in. Being familiar with the venue and knowing where needed audio-visual components are ahead of time will mean one less thing to worry about at the time of your speech.
  • Ask for accommodations . Accommodations are changes to your work environment that help you to manage your anxiety. This might mean asking for a podium, having a pitcher of ice water handy, bringing in audiovisual equipment, or even choosing to stay seated if appropriate. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder such as social anxiety disorder (SAD), you may be eligible for these through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Don’t script it . Have you ever sat through a speech where someone read from a prepared script word for word? You probably don’t recall much of what was said. Instead, prepare a list of key points on paper or notecards that you can refer to.
  • Develop a routine . Put together a routine for managing anxiety on the day of a speech or presentation. This routine should help to put you in the proper frame of mind and allow you to maintain a relaxed state. An example might be exercising or practicing meditation on the morning of a speech.

Practice and Visualization

Even people who are comfortable speaking in public rehearse their speeches many times to get them right. Practicing your speech 10, 20, or even 30 times will give you confidence in your ability to deliver.

If your talk has a time limit, time yourself during practice runs and adjust your content as needed to fit within the time that you have. Lots of practice will help boost your self-confidence .

  • Prepare for difficult questions . Before your presentation, try to anticipate hard questions and critical comments that might arise, and prepare responses ahead of time. Deal with a difficult audience member by paying them a compliment or finding something that you can agree on. Say something like, “Thanks for that important question” or “I really appreciate your comment.” Convey that you are open-minded and relaxed. If you don’t know how to answer the question, say you will look into it.
  • Get some perspective . During a practice run, speak in front of a mirror or record yourself on a smartphone. Make note of how you appear and identify any nervous habits to avoid. This step is best done after you have received therapy or medication to manage your anxiety.
  • Imagine yourself succeeding . Did you know your brain can’t tell the difference between an imagined activity and a real one? That is why elite athletes use visualization to improve athletic performance. As you practice your speech (remember 10, 20, or even 30 times!), imagine yourself wowing the audience with your amazing oratorical skills. Over time, what you imagine will be translated into what you are capable of.
  • Learn to accept some anxiety . Even professional performers experience a bit of nervous excitement before a performance—in fact, most believe that a little anxiety actually makes you a better speaker. Learn to accept that you will always be a little anxious about giving a speech, but that it is normal and common to feel this way.

Setting Goals

Instead of trying to just scrape by, make it a personal goal to become an excellent public speaker. With proper treatment and lots of practice, you can become good at speaking in public. You might even end up enjoying it!

Put things into perspective. If you find that public speaking isn’t one of your strengths, remember that it is only one aspect of your life. We all have strengths in different areas. Instead, make it a goal simply to be more comfortable in front of an audience, so that public speaking anxiety doesn’t prevent you from achieving other goals in life.

A Word From Verywell

In the end, preparing well for a speech or presentation gives you confidence that you have done everything possible to succeed. Give yourself the tools and the ability to succeed, and be sure to include strategies for managing anxiety. These public-speaking tips should be used to complement traditional treatment methods for SAD, such as therapy and medication.

Crome E, Baillie A. Mild to severe social fears: Ranking types of feared social situations using item response theory . J Anxiety Disord . 2014;28(5):471-479. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.05.002

Pull CB. Current status of knowledge on public-speaking anxiety . Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012;25(1):32-8. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32834e06dc

Goldstein DS. Adrenal responses to stress . Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010;30(8):1433-40. doi:10.1007/s10571-010-9606-9

Anderson PL, Zimand E, Hodges LF, Rothbaum BO. Cognitive behavioral therapy for public-speaking anxiety using virtual reality for exposure . Depress Anxiety. 2005;22(3):156-8. doi:10.1002/da.20090

Hinojo-Lucena FJ, Aznar-Díaz I, Cáceres-Reche MP, Trujillo-Torres JM, Romero-Rodríguez JM. Virtual reality treatment for public speaking anxiety in students. advancements and results in personalized medicine .  J Pers Med . 2020;10(1):14. doi:10.3390/jpm10010014

Steenen SA, van Wijk AJ, van der Heijden GJ, van Westrhenen R, de Lange J, de Jongh A. Propranolol for the treatment of anxiety disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis . J Psychopharmacol (Oxford). 2016;30(2):128-39. doi:10.1177/0269881115612236

By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of The Anxiety Workbook and founder of the website About Social Anxiety. She has a Master's degree in clinical psychology.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety: 8 Techniques & Exercises

Social Anxiety

I’ve tried going before, but at the door I blushed and started sweating. I just knew everyone would stare at me, judge me, and laugh at me.

I’ll just sit this one out too, pretend to be sick or something …

If this sounds like your typical diary entry, then you might struggle with social anxiety disorder. Experiencing social anxiety, which is closely related, is very common, and the two can be confused.

In this article, we outline ways to cope with mild social anxiety (not the clinical disorder) and provide helpful tips, tricks, and exercises to help you prepare for upcoming social occasions.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based exercises will equip you and your clients with tools to better manage stress and find a healthier balance in your life.

This Article Contains

  • The Difference Between Social Anxiety & Social Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety in the workplace, social anxiety and public speaking, can you overcome social anxiety 3 techniques, self-help exercises for managing social anxiety, 3 books about social anxiety, helpful resources from positivepsychology.com, a take-home message, frequently asked questions, the difference between social anxiety & social anxiety disorder.

Most of us experience moments of shyness, tension, nervousness, or anxiety around social events. Sometimes it can be as simple as butterflies in the stomach when expecting to meet new people at a party.

Physical reactions such as these signal that the situation is important enough to want to make a good impression. When our bodies are activated in this way, we are often galvanized into action (Weissman & Mendes, 2021).

However, the mild nervousness and shyness of social anxiety every now and again must not be confused with social anxiety disorder .

Social anxiety disorder , sometimes referred to as social phobia, is a type of clinical anxiety disorder whereby an individual’s persistent fear of being watched or judged by others impedes everyday functioning.

Individuals with this disorder may ruminate on planned social events weeks in advance and may actively avoid social situations completely. The disorder can be so intrusive and cause such distress to individuals that even simple tasks, such as buying groceries or visiting family, are impossible to do (Stein & Stein, 2008).

To be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder by a qualified mental health professional, individuals may experience several criteria as outlined by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Criteria include:

  • A persistent fear of social situations in which the individual fears being exposed to the scrutiny of others, or the fear of acting in a way that will be embarrassing or humiliating
  • Avoiding social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • The fear or anxiety is not proportional to the actual threat posed by the social situation.
  • The fear or anxiety is so intense that it affects normal functioning.
  • Lasting for six months or more
  • The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is not because of a medical condition, substance use, or other mental disorder.

In these instances, the help of a therapist is needed. Let’s look at the symptoms of social anxiety to clarify where the line should be drawn.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

These are fairly generic symptoms that occur when the autonomic nervous system (ANS; our fight-or-flight system ) becomes activated (Cannon, 1932), and the body is flooded with epinephrine (adrenaline).

Couple this with a decrease in gamma-aminobutyric acid (a main inhibitory neurotransmitter), which for most individuals is turned down during social situations, and you may feel tense and anxious. This activation happens when an event or situation is seen as stressful, whether the perception is accurate or not.

While chronic stress is extremely detrimental to the body — because of the continuous activation of the ANS (McEwen & Stellar, 1993) — mild stress can actually be helpful in enhancing performance (Kofman et al., 2006) and spurring action.

Usually when this happens, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activates in order to counter the activation of the ANS, by releasing hormones that downregulate the mind and body and help us relax (Sapolsky, 2004).

So when tackling mild social anxiety, the key is to activate the PNS. Below, we will outline useful techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

does presentation help social anxiety

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Given that we can all feel the effects of social anxiety at one time or another, how can we actively tackle such feelings? And how do we cope in stressful environments, such as work?

Coping with social anxiety at work

When those familiar feelings of anxiety emerge at work, individuals face a tough decision: to struggle ahead in silence or take a timeout. Ideally, this is the ability to step away and take a few minutes to apply grounding techniques, as an example. More on that below.

It is strongly recommended that all organizations and employers build supportive cultures where individuals feel able to take such a break. While discussions of mental health in the workplace are fortunately now more commonplace, there is still some way to go to normalize the pervasiveness of anxiety in the human experience.

Strategies for reducing workplace anxiety

To calm anxious feelings at work, individuals can tap into several key techniques that should help to turn things around quickly.

The primary aim here is to activate the PNS. When feeling anxious, it is hard to feel grounded. The mind is spiraling with unhelpful thoughts.

Grounding techniques work by helping the mind focus on the body and the present moment. This can help you feel calmer and more centered.

Below are three highly effective types of grounding techniques.

Breathing techniques

The breath is miraculous! By simply concentrating on breathing, the nervous system can be actively downregulated, and within no time at all, anxious moments may dissipate.

One example is to breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for four seconds, and breathe out slowly over a count of eight seconds. There are many variations of this breathing technique, but essentially, breathing out for longer than breathing in helps slow a racing heart.

Touching the body can be an excellent way to soothe and calm the nervous system, particularly areas that are not associated with anxiety. This includes rubbing your earlobes or elbows, which cannot themselves hold tension or anxiety in them.

Touch is powerful; it is often used in therapeutic settings for the very purpose of relieving anxiety and has also been effective in reducing pain.

When feeling anxious, individuals should try to distract the mind from worrying. An alternative and equally effective technique to breathing exercises  is to focus on counting.

Counting can be particularly powerful when paired with observation of the surroundings. A popular example is to find five things that can be seen, four things that can be felt, three things that can be heard, two things that can be smelled, and one thing that can be tasted.

When doing this exercise, try to be as specific as possible and provide lots of detail with what is sensed.

Performance Anxiety

It’s so intimidating in fact, that researchers often use the notion of having to speak in public to induce individuals into stressful states during experiments (see Kirschbaum et al., 1993).

Indeed, public speaking is the ultimate trigger for social anxiety because it involves purposefully exposing oneself to the opinions and judgments of others.

Overcoming public speaking anxiety

To prepare for an upcoming speech, public-speaking anxiety can be overcome similarly as other stressful events: by focusing on strategies to calm the nervous system.

Tips and strategies for delivering a confident speech

1. prepare well.

Practice, practice, practice! This might be an obvious tip, but by rehearsing the speech more confidence is built about delivering the speech.

This confidence can help offset some of the nervousness experienced.

2. Manage breathing

Engage in breathing exercises before delivering the speech. As mentioned earlier, slowing down breathing is a simple yet powerful way to downregulate the body.

When feeling those familiar anxiety symptoms before giving a speech, practice slow, deep breaths. Pair this with any of the aforementioned grounding or relaxation techniques to amplify the benefits and bring you back into the present moment.

3. Burn energy

Harness some of that nervous energy and take action. Do star jumps or jumping jacks before the speech to blow off steam. During the speech, individuals can move around and gesture to consume even more nervous energy.

4. Visualize success

Before the event, spend a few minutes visualizing the delivery of a successful speech or presentation. Imagine the audience responding positively and see yourself feeling calm and collected.

If you recognize yourself as someone who often experiences social anxiety and are wondering what other steps you can take to reduce the frequency and/or intensity of these experiences, the key resides in being proactive .

If we simply do nothing and then try desperately to reduce anxiety when it rears its head in a stressful moment, we may very well be ill prepared to manage it effectively.

Given that it is not possible to avoid stressful events, the focus should be to learn how to better cope with them. By building internal resources , a stressful event can be navigated with ease.

Below are three preventive practices that will help build all-important psychological resources, such as resilience, positive coping, positive emotions, and self-esteem.

Physical exercise

The benefits of regular exercise to both physical and mental health are well documented (Penedo & Dahn, 2005).

By acting as a protective buffer against disease and psychological distress, exercise is one surefire way to bolster internal resources. Exercise boosts the experience of positive emotions, which in turn helps accrue psychological resources (see the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions ; Fredrickson, 2001).

Mindfulness practice

Mindfulness is another superpower that can help stock up internal resources. If engaging in a regular practice, users can expect a cascade of positive outcomes, including reduced depressive and anxious symptoms and increased positive mood, compassion, and resilience (Gu et al., 2015).

Even 10 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can drastically improve both physical and psychological functioning.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it does not have to be practiced as a formal meditation. Rather, it can take many forms, including mindfulness walking or listening to music.

Experiment with different mindfulness activities to find the best-suited format for you or your clients.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Sometimes, in order to counteract anxiety, you might want to look more closely at patterns of thinking. Given that activation of the autonomic nervous system and symptoms of anxiety occur because we interpret  an event as stressful, it stands to reason that interpretations may not always be on point.

When this happens, engaging with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be a real game changer. CBT is often employed as a treatment for anxiety and works by challenging thinking patterns and helping individuals shift their mindsets.

Useful CBT techniques include writing down thoughts and then gently challenging the veracity of them, and learning positive coping mechanisms such as cognitive reframing.

Observe anxiety mindfully

Observing Anxiety Mindfully

This worksheet helps clients identify and observe how anxiety feels in the body.

Clients are encouraged to explore the different sensations that arise in the body when thinking about a stressful social situation.

Once the sensations have been observed, clients are encouraged to accept and sit with the feelings and sensations of anxiety from a place of nonjudgment, as with any mindfulness practice.

Lastly, clients are invited to use visualization to further tap into self-compassion and recognize the transient nature of anxiety.

Anxiety Record

The Anxiety Record is an effective worksheet that allows a client to capture step by step what happens when they experience anxiety.

The first step is to identify the stressor, before noting down anxious feelings and whether thoughts are helpful or realistic.

The client is then invited to identify more helpful thoughts when facing anxious moments and ways to regain a sense of control when feeling carried away with anxious thoughts.

Creating a Mindfulness Anxiety Plan

One excellent way to prepare for upcoming social situations is to create a mindfulness anxiety plan .

Mindfulness has a powerful impact on building coping skills, and it also enhances the ability to sit with discomfort without getting swept away by feelings.

If you are interested in learning more about social anxiety, the following three books provide excellent reading. These three were chosen because of their practical nature and the fact that they are grounded in science.

1. How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiet y – Ellen Hendriksen

How To Be Yourself

Dr. Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist specializing in overcoming anxiety so that individuals may lead a more authentic life.

How to Be Yourself  takes real-life stories of situations where individuals have experienced social anxiety and weaves in a compelling narrative that outlines why social anxiety persists and the science behind it.

The book offers tangible, practical ways to rewire our brain so we can break free of the shackles of social anxiety.

Find the book on Amazon .

2. Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques – Gillian Butler

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness

If you are looking for a self-help guide that takes individuals through the techniques of CBT as a pathway to reduce social anxiety, this book by Dr. Gillian Butler, a cognitive therapist and clinical psychologist, is for you.

Chock-full of practical strategies, the reader can work through the book at their own pace and by the end should feel armed to the teeth with solutions for fending off social anxiety.

3. Find Your Voice: The Secret to Talking With Confidence in Any Situation – Caroline Goyder

Find Your Voice

Caroline Goyder is a renowned voice coach and author of another highly popular book, Gravitas .

The central thesis of Find Your Voice  is learning to speak with confidence by implementing different strategies that help individuals relax, stand tall, and speak with clarity.

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to speak confidently in any type of social situation.

For more information on Goyder’s work, check out this popular TEDx Talk.

PositivePsychology.com has a plethora of useful resources for anyone interested in learning more about coping with social anxiety.

Below, you will find several worksheets for learning to cope with anxiety. Completing these exercises proactively can help ensure better navigation of anxiety, inducing in social situations.

Stressors and Resources

The aim of this worksheet is to help clients identify key sources of stress and anxiety, and outline strategies or resources that can deal with them.

This worksheet is extremely helpful because it also identifies past, present, and anticipated sources of stress and anxiety. After completing this worksheet, clients should have a greater awareness of their triggers and the strategies that work best for them in social situations.

Coping Skills Inventory

The Coping Skills Inventory worksheet introduces six common and widely used coping skills that can be used when facing social anxiety.

The client is guided in selecting the most appropriate coping skill that will work for them in a given social situation. Identifying coping strategies before a stressful event is an excellent way to build self-awareness and those all-important internal resources.

Recommended reading

For more informative and practical articles on anxiety and coping, you may enjoy this selection of articles:

  • How to Deal With Anxiety: 5 Coping Skills and Worksheets
  • 18 Anxiety Worksheets for Adults, Teens, and More
  • How to Relax: Best Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety
  • Anxiety Therapy: Types, Techniques, and Worksheets

17 Stress & Burnout Prevention Tools

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others manage stress without spending hours on research and session prep, check out this collection of 17 validated stress management tools for practitioners . Use them to help others identify signs of burnout and create more balance in their lives.

does presentation help social anxiety

17 Exercises To Reduce Stress & Burnout

Help your clients prevent burnout, handle stressors, and achieve a healthy, sustainable work-life balance with these 17 Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises [PDF].

Created by Experts. 100% Science-based.

Social anxiety is a pervasive human experience and one we can all expect to encounter every now and again.

Whether we are at work, out with friends, or with family, some social events can and will trigger our fight-or-flight response.

Because life is fraught with stressful life events, trying to avoid them at all costs is not realistic or sustainable. Rather, it is better to be proactive in engaging in practices and techniques that will help us better cope with stress and anxiety as and when we need to.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free .

Physical symptoms can include an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, and feeling dizzy. Psychological symptoms can include feelings of panic or dread, rumination on negative thoughts, and a difficulty focusing on the here and now.

Social anxiety is not a mental illness. It is healthy and normal to experience mild physiological activation from time to time when faced with situations or tasks outside of our comfort zone. Often, low levels of anxiety are adaptive and can help us perform better. Only when social anxiety becomes intrusive to daily functioning, can social anxiety disorder be considered, as identified by the DSM -5.

Anxiety is highly prevalent worldwide, with about 309 million individuals experiencing an anxiety disorder in 2019 (World Health Organization, 2022). Since many individuals experience activated nervous systems in the face of social stressors, it is fair to say that social anxiety is extremely commonplace.

The activation of our autonomic nervous system causes social anxiety, which kicks into gear when a situation is perceived as stressful. The brain floods the body with adrenaline to prepare for action, and it is this adrenaline that causes many of the physical symptoms of social anxiety.

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  • Cannon, W. B. (1932). The wisdom of the body . Norton.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist , 56 (3), 218–226.
  • Gu, J., Strauss, C., Bond, R., & Cavanagh, K. (2015). How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies. Clinical Psychology Review , 37 , 1–12.
  • Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K. M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’—A tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology , 28 (1–2), 76–81.
  • Kofman, O., Meiran, N., Greenberg, E., Balas, M., & Cohen, H. (2006). Enhanced performance on executive functions associated with examination stress: Evidence from task-switching and Stroop paradigms. Cognition & Emotion , 20 (5), 577–595.
  • McEwen, B. S., & Stellar, E. (1993). Stress and the individual: Mechanisms leading to disease. Archives of Internal Medicine , 153 (18), 2093–2101.
  • Penedo, F. J., & Dahn, J. R. (2005). Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry , 18 (2), 189–193.
  • Sapolsky, R. M. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers: The acclaimed guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping (3rd ed.). Henry Holt and Company.
  • Stein, M. B., & Stein, D. J. (2008). Social anxiety disorder. The Lancet , 371 (9618), 1115–1125.
  • Weissman, D. G., & Mendes, W. B. (2021). Correlation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity during rest and acute stress tasks. International Journal of Psychophysiology , 162 , 60–68.
  • World Health Organization. (2022). Mental disorders . Retrieved June 15, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders.

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The article provides insights into social anxiety and offers techniques and exercises to help individuals manage and overcome it. It distinguishes between mild social anxiety and social anxiety disorder, highlighting the symptoms and criteria for the disorder. The article discusses social anxiety in various contexts, such as the workplace and public speaking, and provides practical strategies to cope with anxiety in those situations. It also suggests preventive practices like physical exercise, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioral therapy to build internal resources. The self-help exercises provided can assist individuals in managing their social anxiety effectively.

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8 Ways to Deliver a Great Presentation (Even If You’re Super Anxious About It)

  • Joel Schwartzberg

does presentation help social anxiety

Know your point, always.

Feeling anxious about a presentation? It’s likely about a fear of public humiliation rather than of public speaking.

  • Shift the spotlight from yourself to what you have to say.
  • Reject the voice in your head trying to destroy your confidence.
  • Knowing what matters – and what doesn’t – will help you succeed.

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

I recently worked closely with a 24-year-old client — let’s call him Martin — who was tapped to deliver a five-minute presentation at his company’s annual town hall meeting. Martin had never given a public speech in his professional life, but his accomplishments impressed his supervisors, and they wanted Martin to share his success with the rest of the organization.

does presentation help social anxiety

  • JS Joel Schwartzberg oversees executive communications for a major national nonprofit, is a professional presentation coach, and is the author of Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter and The Language of Leadership: How to Engage and Inspire Your Team . You can find him on LinkedIn and X. TheJoelTruth

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How to Manage Your Anxiety When Presenting

Do you get nervous speaking in public? Learn how to mitigate your fear.

January 29, 2016

does presentation help social anxiety

Tricia Seibold

For media inquiries, visit the Newsroom .

Explore More

Power, culture, persuasion, and the self: communication insights from stanford gsb faculty, lose yourself: the secret to finding flow and being fully present, speak your truth: why authenticity leads to better communication, editor’s picks.

does presentation help social anxiety

March 02, 2015 Matt Abrahams: Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations A Stanford lecturer explains key ways you can better plan, practice, and present your next talk.

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Chloe Brotheridge

12 Powerful Ways to Help Overcome Social Anxiety

Simple steps to feeling more socially confident..

Posted July 17, 2020 | Reviewed by Kaja Perina

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Find a therapist to overcome anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is often misunderstood, and many people could be suffering in silence. It’s much more than feeling shy and not wanting to speak up in big groups. It can really take control and impede your everyday life. Anxiety Care UK states that social anxiety is a common and distressing condition, with as many as 40 percent of the population suffering from it.

Young People With Social Anxiety

Experiencing social anxiety and fear of social interactions can make simple responsibilities almost impossible to overcome. An estimated 15 million American adults have social anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, with young adolescents who are transitioning to secondary school or college being particularly vulnerable. It’s suggested that social anxiety disorder symptoms usually begin around the age of 13.

The good news is that there are ways to develop new habits to help ease and overcome your social anxiety.

1. Challenge your negative and anxious thoughts. At times it may feel like there’s nothing you can do about the way you feel and how you think. In reality, though, there are a number of things that can help.

Challenging your mentality and negative thoughts can be an effective way to reduce symptoms of social anxiety. Start by identifying the anxious thoughts that automatically pop into your head when you think of social situations. Next, analyze these thoughts and challenge them. Question why you think like this and if your first reaction is actually how you feel or you’re just always assuming the worst. Changing the way you think is a long journey and is not an immediate fix, but the mind is a powerful thing, and it is possible.

2. Be mindful. Being mindful and practicing mindful meditation helps you to be present and aware of your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental and positive way. In a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience , researchers found that meditation has effects on activity in particular areas of the brain. Participants who had normal levels of anxiety took part in four 20-minute mindfulness meditation classes. They found up to a 39 percent decrease in anxiety levels after mindfulness training.

3. Go to a coffee shop. If you enjoy watching movies online or catching up on your favorite TV show, then try taking your tablet or laptop to your nearest coffee shop. Do an activity you like and feel comfortable with, in an environment that would usually make you anxious. You have the familiarity and comfort of being able to concentrate only on what you’re doing, but will be pushing your boundaries . Hopefully, you can push yourself but remain in your mental comfort zone at the same time.

4. Create an exposure hierarchy. Identify and rate how each social situation makes you feel in terms of anxiousness. For example, 0 would mean no anxiety, and 10 would be a full-blown panic attack.

Make a list and write down how you think you would feel for every situation, no matter how small or big. From walking into a room at a gathering to asking a stranger on the tube for the time. It’s important to write down on a piece of paper your predictions so that when the time comes to experience it, you know how you thought you would feel.

5. Don’t focus on yourself. It’s hard to stop the endless mind chatter when you’re in situations that make you particularly anxious. We often turn inward and focus on ourselves and how others will perceive us, almost always assuming it will be negative. The thought that everyone will be looking at you when you walk into a room and judging you in one way or another? This isn’t the case.

Stop focusing on yourself and what other people are thinking of you. Focus on other people, try to be present, and make genuine connections. No one’s perfect, so try to be in the moment and actually listen to what is being said.

6. Adopt a healthier lifestyle to reduce anxiety. The mind and body are linked, and how you treat your body can have a significant impact on the rest of your life, including your anxiety levels. Making small lifestyle changes can help to improve your self-confidence and your ability to cope with anxiety symptoms. Avoid or limit your caffeine intake by not drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks after a certain time. Energy drinks act as a stimulant and can increase anxiety symptoms. Make physical exercise a priority in your day and always try to be active at some point; even taking a brisk walk during your lunch hour is a great way to fit it in.

does presentation help social anxiety

Drink alcohol only in moderation; although it may feel like it calms your nerves, it can also increase your chances of having an anxiety attack. Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, and get enough high-quality sleep. When you’re deprived of sleep, you’re much more vulnerable to anxiety, and your mood can be affected greatly. New research suggests that sleep deprivation can actually cause an anxiety disorder.

7. Take a breath. The physical symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, pounding chest, dizziness, and muscle tension. Learning to take a minute and slow down your breath can help you take back control of your body.

Simply take a seat, get comfortable, and take the biggest breath you’ve taken all day and hold it in for four seconds. Then exhale slowly, pushing out as much air as possible. Take another deep breath filling the stomach with air and continue until you feel your breath slowing down to its normal rate.

8. Act confidently. There are a large number of adults suffering from social phobia and crippling shyness. You can learn to be confident in the same way you learned to ride a bike. Act more confidently, and people will react positively.

This doesn’t mean you need to be the class clown or the center of attention . It’s just about being more assertive . Something that feels terrifying at first will gradually feel better each time.

9. Find social situations and engage. Make a conscious effort to be more social. Actively look for supportive social environments that can help you overcome your fears. Perhaps start with a social skills training class. Here you can properly practice your social interactions before heading out into the real world. This will give you some tips on what to say and do when you find yourself in a social situation you’re unfamiliar with or anxious about.

10. Be kind to yourself. Nobody’s perfect, and everyone feels embarrassed at one point or another in their life. Overcoming social anxiety is by no means easy. You’ll have times where you think negatively and slip back into old habits. If you’re feeling run down or tired, you may find yourself feeling more anxious than normal, but it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Just take a minute, focus on the present, and practice the techniques you’ve been working on.

11. Talk. By overcoming social anxiety and shyness, you will hopefully start feeling more confident during conversations. Talking to someone can be very challenging, and knowing what to say isn’t easy. Sometimes an awkward silence can feel like it lasts a lifetime. Talking to people gradually will help you be less anxious each time.

12. Face your fears. The final step is to face your fears. It’s impossible to overcome social anxiety if you don’t expose yourself to situations that make you anxious. By using avoidance as a tool to cope, you won’t be helping yourself or encouraging personal growth.

Numerous studies have shown that exposure therapy , facing your fears, is effective in treating anxiety disorders. Research does suggest, however, that exposure should be applied gently. Therefore take part in a social interaction or activity that only slightly provokes your anxiety and work your way up.

Overcoming social anxiety is a long journey, and it takes time for new neural pathways for social interactions to form. Is your social anxiety constantly interfering with your daily life? Then don’t hesitate to seek professional help in whatever form you feel comfortable looking for. These are great ways to help overcome your social anxiety. Although it seems like an impossible obstacle, it’s so worth overcoming, so you can live your life to the fullest.

Chloe Brotheridge

Chloe Brotheridge is a hypnotherapist and anxiety expert and the author of The Anxiety Solution .

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At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives.

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does presentation help social anxiety

Manage Presentation Anxiety to Become Confident Public Speaker

by Janice Tomich

  • Fear of Public Speaking

I’m a public speaking coach, and I know that for a lot of people (including those you think look cool and composed on stage) the thought of public speaking creates a surge in anxiety levels. That anxious feeling is daunting because the out-of-control emotional rollercoaster usually overrides logic. Learning how to calm yourself down before a speech or presentation is an essential skill. 

When you don’t have the ability to calm yourself or manage your emotions it can stop you from volunteering to deliver a presentation (pass by an opportunity to be seen) or the reason for not sleeping well nights before the day you’re scheduled to be on stage. 

Presentation anxiety is an issue that clients often reach out to me for because having the ability to deliver presentations and communicate confidently is a skill that’s in high demand. It’s important that their ideas are heard. Direct reports look for strong public speaking and communication skills in their teams because it’s crucial to organizations that persuade and influence others without worrying they’ll be racked with anxiety.

Some of my clients described the anxiety as feeling weirdly outside of their body … out of touch with reality and as an outside observer looking at themselves. Their stressed out monkey mind takes control and they can’t figure out how to get out of the anxiety loop. 

Presentation anxiety can manifest in other ways such as excessive sweating, shaking or trembling, an octopus of knots in your stomach, or even nausea. It’s no fun when you waste time feeling the fear of public speaking before and during a presentation.

The bad news is when you’re on stage and feeling anxious it can have serious impact. So much so  that your mind goes blank because your amygdala has been hijacked . 

The good news is presentation anxiety (usually) can be managed. Just like anything else you learn and get better at, the tools and techniques can be worked through, however as always the caveat is they need dedication to a consistent practice. 

Investing your time to deliver presentations confidently is well worth the time compared to what happens to your career growth when you pass off presentations to your colleagues or decline speaking opportunities. 

Table of Contents

How Common Is Presentation Anxiety?

Public speaking anxiety can be managed.  You can’t entirely get rid of it, however there are tools and techniques to dampen down the anxiety and regulate it so you’re able to deliver speeches and presentations confidently. 

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 73% of us humans are affected by public speaking anxiety . The primary reason that the anxiety happens is because we fear being judged by others.

Many of the people you see that speak at events have some degree of a fear of public speaking but they have learned how to tame their anxiety. Even to the point they enjoy delivering presentations. 

So, many people experience presentation anxiety…how will you tame your own nerves?

It is possible for most anyone to enjoy public speaking. Once you’ve managed your anxiety and delivered a presentation that you’re proud of there is an energy that happens when you connect with your audience and you’ll find you’ll want to invite more speaking opportunities because of the rush you get. 

does presentation help social anxiety

Angela Ferarro Managing Director, International Education, Burnaby School District

(info on public speaking coaching package)

Steps To Manage Presentation Anxiety

Anxiety is fueled by the chattering, negative monkey brain that’s telling you stories that aren’t true such as, “this presentation is going to fall flat or what business do I have presenting?” 

Please know that the whiley monkey is lying to you. 

Getting rid of the monkey takes reeling your mind back and asking what’s really going on – figuring out what you’re believing that’s sabotaging your confidence. Then notice what you’re feeling. The feeling piece takes practice and patience because you need to slow down and listen. 

If you’ve spent years ignoring what triggers you it’s going to take some time and investigation to go inside and listen to what your emotions/feelings are telling you. 

The next step is acknowledging what you’re feeling and then letting it go. This visual works well: Visualize a nasty little gremlin on your shoulder that’s chattering away at you. Listen to it, thank it, and then in your mind’s eye make them dissolve/disappear. Give them a swat and send them on their way. To manage presentation anxiety take the time to go through each step – it’s is important to stop what fuels it. 

Without taking the time to learn where your anxiety is coming from you’ll have a difficulty managing public speaking anxiety. Or you might find that you’re doing okay and then for no reason – out of the blue – get bitten by it. 

It’s Not About You

It’s about your audience…what’s in it for them.

focus on your audience to help with presentation anxiety

To help shift the spotlight off of yourself consider how your presentation will help your audience. Think too about why you’re grateful to be the person to deliver the message. How are you being of service? 

By taking the focus off of yourself and realizing that you are delivering a presentation to educate or provide a service/product to help others, your mindset shift will tame your anxiety. It’s because you’ve moved the spotlight off yourself and focussed it on your audience. From this perspective there is no/little room for you to experience anxiety. 

Pro Tip: You may think your anxiety or nervousness is obvious to others. It’s usually not. I’ve been privy to many conversations where the speaker shared they had been really anxious and thought they were obviously nervous. They are usually  surprised to hear that no one could tell. 

Carefully Plan And Prepare Your Presentation

It’s key that in the first stages of getting ready for your presentation you understand why you’re giving it. It’s how you will really understand if you have been successful (or not) and will help you get a good foundation of what your audience wants and needs to hear from you. 

You are an expert in what you’re presenting. Your audience is not. Be cautious about bombarding your audience with too much information. Take your subject matter expert hat off and think back to when you were learning your craft or the gaps of knowledge that your expertise fills. Keep it simple and stick to the facts. 

I’ve built a framework to create and develop presentations that are simple and focussed. You can access it here . My framework works well to stop audience overwhelm, so you don’t build in extra concepts that will confuse and lose your audience.   

Practice Deep Breathing

deep breathing to manage presentation anxiety

Most adults don’t know how to take a deep breath. When asked they think they do but can only take a breath from their upper chest. Their breathing is constricted. It’s been a habit that’s built over lots of years. 

Have you watched a young child or a baby breathe when they’re sleeping? Their lower belly expands and contracts as they breathe. That’s what you’re aiming for.

Are you skeptical about how well deep breathing works to calm nerves? You’ll find this article and this one that is proven research. Or prove it to yourself. If you have a smartwatch that records your heartbeat take a number of deep breaths and watch your heart rate go down. It’s magic how well deep breathing works to regulate nerves and anxiety.

If you find taking deep breaths difficult to master  (you’re an upper chest breather) this explainer video will help you visualize the mechanics of deep breathing.

I encourage you to do a round of two to three deep breaths each time you practice your presentation. And do a few rounds just before your presentation. And set an alert on your phone or watch for a few times a day. Check in. Are you taking deep breaths?

Deep breathing is a worthwhile exercise to master. You’ll feel calmer for it.

does presentation help social anxiety

​​​​David Getzlaf Strategy Manager, Autonomy & Positioning, Hexagon

Turn Nervousness Into Positive Energy

There is a close connection to nervousness and excitement and reframing will change your perspective and tame your anxiety. 

Have you noticed that sometimes you tell yourself stories that aren’t true? Stories such as my colleagues won’t value what I’m sharing (they already know what I know) or there are people that know more about what I’m speaking about than I do. These types of stories breed anxiousness. 

Research tells us that by flipping the switch and using the word excited instead of negative ones will make us feel positive. 

There is a connection between words/thoughts that make us feel anxious and those that make us feel positive. 

The next time your thinking is going down a negative path, change your wording to excitement, which will change your perspective to a positive one. 

Practice Your Presentation

Practice your speech to help with presentation anxiety

Practicing just until you’re confident that you have learned your presentation will ease your public speaking anxiety. You’ll notice that I used the word learned and not memorized. 

Memorizing your presentation will fuel anxiety. It’s too time consuming and tedious to learn your presentation word for word. And when you’re practicing or delivering your speech if you forget your place or even one word you have set yourself up for trouble. Which will reflect badly on your delivery and cause more anxiety. It’s too much pressure!

You’re better served to memorize your outline and then riff/expand off of your points. The result will be a presentation that comes off as being natural and you will be more comfortable delivering it. 

Only practice until you are tired of practicing and of hearing your voice. You might have a few rough spots and rather than practicing your presentation in its entirety simply practice those. 

It’s by knowing your presentation well that you’ll manage any anxiety that bubbles up. 

Visualize Your Success

Elite athletes ‘watch’ themselves driving the ball onto the green or scoring goals. It’s from this type of positive perspective that you’ll  create a feeling of comfort and ease – watching from the theatre of your mind deliver your presentation. 

Taking yourself through the actions of getting ready, arriving on the stage, delivering, and taking in the applause. Key though is you’re not only watching your success. You need to also feel success too. 

Feel Your Feet On The Ground 

mindset techniques to relieve presentation anxiety feet on the ground

Try this quick tip just as you are about to deliver your presentation ground yourself by feeling your feet on the ground. This is a mindfulness technique that will pull you to the present rather than letting your monkey mind sabotage you with anxiety. 

Interrupt Your Anxiety While On Stage

Did you know that Steve Jobs practiced Apple new product rollouts for months and months before the conference events? He meticulously practiced for what could go wrong and had a Plan B down to every detail. Do the same by giving thought to what you will do if your technology doesn’t work so you’re not caught without your Plan B if technology doesn’t go as planned. 

Speaking too quickly and not really feeling the depth of your words can accelerate your nerves. Take your time, breathe, and give your words time to land by using pauses. You’ll notice that your audience will find it easier to get your point and the connection that happens when you’re on the same wavelength as your audience. 

If you find yourself going blank and unable to remember what you wanted to speak to next buy yourself time by taking a few sips of water or referring to your notes. No one except you will realize that you’re gathering your thoughts.

If you’re lost and unsure about how to make your presentation compelling, I can help.

Give more presentations

Give more presentations to manage presentation anxiety and to be a confident public speaker

When I returned to university as a mature student and struggled with a fear of public speaking I was determined to put it behind me. I made a point of volunteering for every opportunity I had to present to my cohort. It was naive because there is a foundation of skills that go hand and hand with practicing and raising your hand to every opportunity. 

Your presentation skills do get better with the more presentations you give. Presentation anxiety diminishes when you have experience successfully managing your anxiety, which builds confidence for the next one and so on. 

Performance Anxiety (Stage Fright) Disclaimer

Please seek medical support if you have severe performance anxiety.

If the techniques described above don’t make a difference to your anxiety level consider speaking with a medical professional. A medical professional can help with stage fright using cognitive behaviour techniques and by prescribing medications such as propranolol, which will slow down your heart rate and block adrenaline surges. 

I encourage you to reach out for help from your medical provider if your anxiety is severe. 

Most presentation anxiety can be managed so that you can deliver a presentation that is well received. It takes techniques such as shifting mindset, deep breathing to regulate your emotions, and practicing with the right focus. Managing presentation anxiety is doable and even better a goal that’s worthwhile. 

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does presentation help social anxiety

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  • Patient Care & Health Information
  • Diseases & Conditions
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Your health care provider will want to determine whether other conditions may be causing your anxiety or if you have social anxiety disorder along with another physical or mental health disorder.

Your health care provider may determine a diagnosis based on:

  • Physical exam to help assess whether any medical condition or medication may trigger symptoms of anxiety
  • Discussion of your symptoms, how often they occur and in what situations
  • Review of a list of situations to see if they make you anxious
  • Self-report questionnaires about symptoms of social anxiety
  • Criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association

DSM-5 criteria for social anxiety disorder include:

  • Persistent, intense fear or anxiety about specific social situations because you believe you may be judged negatively, embarrassed or humiliated
  • Avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • Excessive anxiety that's out of proportion to the situation
  • Anxiety or distress that interferes with your daily living
  • Fear or anxiety that is not better explained by a medical condition, medication or substance abuse
  • Care at Mayo Clinic

Our caring team of Mayo Clinic experts can help you with your social anxiety disorder (social phobia)-related health concerns Start Here

Treatment depends on how much social anxiety disorder affects your ability to function in daily life. The most common treatment for social anxiety disorder includes psychotherapy (also called psychological counseling or talk therapy) or medications or both.

  • Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy improves symptoms in most people with social anxiety disorder. In therapy, you learn how to recognize and change negative thoughts about yourself and develop skills to help you gain confidence in social situations.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective type of psychotherapy for anxiety, and it can be equally effective when conducted individually or in groups.

In exposure-based CBT, you gradually work up to facing the situations you fear most. This can improve your coping skills and help you develop the confidence to deal with anxiety-inducing situations. You may also participate in skills training or role-playing to practice your social skills and gain comfort and confidence relating to others. Practicing exposures to social situations is particularly helpful to challenge your worries.

First choices in medications

Though several types of medications are available, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first type of drug tried for persistent symptoms of social anxiety. Your health care provider may prescribe paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft).

The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine (Effexor XR) also may be an option for social anxiety disorder.

To reduce the risk of side effects, your health care provider may start you at a low dose of medication and gradually increase your prescription to a full dose. It may take several weeks to several months of treatment for your symptoms to noticeably improve.

Other medications

Your health care provider may also prescribe other medications for symptoms of social anxiety, such as:

  • Other antidepressants. You may have to try several different antidepressants to find the one that's most effective for you with the fewest side effects.
  • Anti-anxiety medications. Benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-die-AZ-uh-peens) may reduce your level of anxiety. Although they often work quickly, they can be habit-forming and sedating, so they're typically prescribed for only short-term use.
  • Beta blockers. These medications work by blocking the stimulating effect of epinephrine (adrenaline). They may reduce heart rate, blood pressure, pounding of the heart, and shaking voice and limbs. Because of that, they may work best when used infrequently to control symptoms for a particular situation, such as giving a speech. They're not recommended for general treatment of social anxiety disorder.

Stick with it

Don't give up if treatment doesn't work quickly. You can continue to make strides in psychotherapy over several weeks or months. Learning new skills to help manage your anxiety takes time. And finding the right medication for your situation can take some trial and error.

For some people, the symptoms of social anxiety disorder may fade over time, and medication can be discontinued. Others may need to take medication for years to prevent a relapse.

To make the most of treatment, keep your medical or therapy appointments, challenge yourself by setting goals to approach social situations that cause you anxiety, take medications as directed, and talk to your health care provider about any changes in your condition.

Alternative medicine

Several herbal remedies have been studied as treatments for anxiety, but results are mixed. Before taking any herbal remedies or supplements, talk with your health care team to make sure they're safe and won't interact with any medications you take.

More Information

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) care at Mayo Clinic

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

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Lifestyle and home remedies

Although social anxiety disorder generally requires help from a medical expert or qualified psychotherapist, you can try some of these techniques to handle situations that are likely to trigger symptoms:

  • Learn stress-reduction skills.
  • Get physical exercise or be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit or avoid caffeine.
  • Participate in social situations by reaching out to people with whom you feel comfortable.

Practice in small steps

First, consider your fears to identify what situations cause the most anxiety. Then gradually practice these activities until they cause you less anxiety. Begin with small steps by setting daily or weekly goals in situations that aren't overwhelming. The more you practice, the less anxious you'll feel.

Consider practicing these situations:

  • Eat with a close relative, friend or acquaintance in a public setting.
  • Purposefully make eye contact and return greetings from others, or be the first to say hello.
  • Give someone a compliment.
  • Ask a retail clerk to help you find an item.
  • Get directions from a stranger.
  • Show an interest in others — ask about their homes, children, grandchildren, hobbies or travels, for instance.
  • Call a friend to make plans.

Prepare for social situations

At first, being social when you're feeling anxious is challenging. As difficult or painful as it may seem initially, don't avoid situations that trigger your symptoms. By regularly facing these kinds of situations, you'll continue to build and reinforce your coping skills.

These strategies can help you begin to face situations that make you nervous:

  • Prepare for conversation, for example, by reading about current events to identify interesting stories you can talk about.
  • Focus on personal qualities you like about yourself.
  • Practice relaxation exercises.
  • Learn stress management techniques.
  • Set realistic social goals.
  • Pay attention to how often the embarrassing situations you're afraid of actually take place. You may notice that the scenarios you fear usually don't come to pass.
  • When embarrassing situations do happen, remind yourself that your feelings will pass and you can handle them until they do. Most people around you either don't notice or don't care as much as you think, or they're more forgiving than you assume.

Avoid using alcohol to calm your nerves. It may seem like it helps temporarily, but in the long term it can make you feel even more anxious.

Coping and support

These coping methods may help ease your anxiety:

  • Routinely reach out to friends and family members.
  • Join a local or reputable internet-based support group.
  • Join a group that offers opportunities to improve communication and public speaking skills, such as Toastmasters International.
  • Do pleasurable or relaxing activities, such as hobbies, when you feel anxious.

Over time, these coping methods can help control your symptoms and prevent a relapse. Remind yourself that you can get through anxious moments, that your anxiety is short-lived and that the negative consequences you worry about so much rarely come to pass.

Preparing for your appointment

You may see your primary care provider, or your provider may refer you to a mental health professional. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Situations you've been avoiding, especially those that are important to your functioning
  • Any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long, including any symptoms that may seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, especially any significant events or changes in your life shortly before your symptoms appeared
  • Medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed
  • Any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you're taking, including dosages
  • Questions to ask your health care provider or a mental health professional

You may want to ask a trusted family member or friend to go with you to your appointment, if possible, to help you remember key information.

Some questions to ask your health care provider may include:

  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Should I see a mental health specialist?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • Are effective treatments available for this condition?
  • With treatment, could I eventually be comfortable in the situations that make me so anxious now?
  • Am I at increased risk of other mental health problems?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your health care provider

Your health care provider or a mental health professional will likely ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your health care provider may ask:

  • Does fear of embarrassment cause you to avoid doing certain activities or speaking to people?
  • Do you avoid activities in which you're the center of attention?
  • Would you say that being embarrassed or looking stupid is among your worst fears?
  • When did you first notice these symptoms?
  • When are your symptoms most likely to occur?
  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
  • How are your symptoms affecting your life, including work and personal relationships?
  • Do you ever have symptoms when you're not being observed by others?
  • Have any of your close relatives had similar symptoms?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • Have you been treated for mental health symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use recreational drugs? If so, how often?
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed May 21, 2021.
  • Gabbard GO, ed. Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). In: Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. 5th ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2014. http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/book/10.1176/appi.books.9781585625048. Accessed May 21, 2021.
  • Schneier FR. Social anxiety disorder in adults: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Stein MB, et al. Approach to treating social anxiety disorder in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Hofmann SG. Psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Stein MB. Pharmacotherapy for social anxiety disorder in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Bystritsky A. Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Herbs and medications. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Bystritsky A. Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Physical, cognitive, and spiritual interventions. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Social anxiety disorder: More than just shyness. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Natural medicines in the clinical management of anxiety. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. April 29, 2021.
  • AskMayoExpert. Anxiety disorders. Mayo Clinic; 2020. Accessed April 8, 2021.
  • Brown A. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Sept. 11, 2020.
  • Valerian. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed April 12, 2021.
  • Sarris J, et al., eds. Anxiety. In: Clinical Naturopathy. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 12, 2021.

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does presentation help social anxiety

Beating Presentation Anxiety: 5 Steps to Speak Confidently

  • The Speaker Lab
  • April 16, 2024

Table of Contents

Feeling jittery about your next presentation? If so, you’re not alone. Presentation anxiety hits many of us, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. In this article, we’ll dive into what sparks this fear and how it shows up. We’ve got you covered with strategies to prep before your talk, keep cool during the show, and even use tech tools to smooth out those nerves.

If you find that the jitters are negatively impacting your presentations, we have the strategies you need to build confidence. And if you need more help, we’ll point you towards top-notch resources for beating presentation anxiety.

Understanding Presentation Anxiety

Presentation anxiety grips many of us before we step onto the stage. It’s that stomach-churning, sweat-inducing fear of public speaking that can turn even the most prepared speaker into a bundle of nerves. But why does this happen? Let’s break it down.

Common Triggers of Presentation Anxiety

First off, it’s important to know you’re not alone in feeling nervous about presenting. This type of anxiety is incredibly common and stems from various triggers. One major cause is the fear of judgment or negative evaluation by others. No one wants to look foolish or incompetent, especially in front of peers or superiors.

Another trigger is lack of experience. If you haven’t had much practice speaking in public, every presentation might feel like stepping into unknown territory. Then there’s perfectionism; setting impossibly high standards for your performance can make any slight mistake feel disastrous.

How Presentation Anxiety Manifests

The symptoms of presentation anxiety are as varied as they are unpleasant: dry mouth, shaky hands, racing heart—the list goes on. Oftentimes, these physical signs go hand-in-hand with mental ones like blanking out or losing your train of thought mid-sentence. In addition to affecting how you feel physically, anxiety also messes with your confidence levels and self-esteem.

By understanding presentation anxiety better, we realize its grip on us isn’t due to our inability but rather a natural response that can be managed with the right techniques and mindset adjustments.

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Strategies for Managing Presentation Anxiety Before the Event

Feeling jittery before taking the stage is a common plight, but let’s not let those nerves derail our success. Here are some tried and true strategies to help keep your cool.

Planning Like a Pro

Kicking off with solid planning can be your first line of defense against presentation anxiety. Initiate by segmenting your presentation into digestible sections. This could mean outlining main points or scripting it out entirely, depending on what makes you feel most prepared. A good resource that dives deep into effective planning is Toastmasters International , where you’ll find tips on structuring speeches that resonate.

An equally crucial part of planning involves researching your audience. Understanding who will be in front of you helps tailor your message and anticipate questions they might have, making you feel more confident and connected.

The Power of Practice

You’ve heard it before, but practice really does make perfect—or at least significantly less nervous. Running through your presentation multiple times lets you iron out any kinks and get comfortable with the flow of information. For an extra boost, simulate the actual event as closely as possible by practicing in similar attire or using the same technology you’ll have available during the real deal.

If solo rehearsals aren’t cutting it, try roping in a friend or family member to act as an audience. Not only can they offer valuable feedback, they can also help acclimate you to speaking in front of others—a critical step toward easing anxiety.

Breathing Techniques That Work Wonders

Last but definitely not least: don’t underestimate breathing techniques. They have the power to calm nerves fast when practiced regularly leading up to the big day. Headspace offers guided exercises that focus on controlled breathing methods designed specifically for stress management. These practices encourage mindfulness, which can center thoughts away from anxious feelings towards present tasks—like delivering an outstanding presentation. Incorporating these exercises daily can build resilience against last-minute jitters too.

Techniques During the Presentation

Say you’ve practiced your speech a dozen times but you’re still worried about the big day. What should you do then to beat presentation anxiety? Let’s take a look.

Engage with Your Audience

Talking to a room full of people can feel daunting, especially when you don’t know any of them. But remember, your audience is there because they’re interested in what you have to say. Make eye contact, smile, and ask rhetorical questions to keep them hooked. As you speak, don’t forget about the importance of body language since it communicates just as much as your words.

If you think engagement ends at asking questions, think again. Sharing personal stories or relevant anecdotes helps build a connection. It makes your presentation not just informative but also relatable and memorable.

Maintain Composure Under Pressure

If you’re palms are sweating and your heart is racing, know that it’s okay. Feeling your pulse quicken shows you’re invested in nailing that speech, yet it’s crucial not to let these sensations throw you off track. Practice deep breathing exercises before stepping onto the stage to calm those nerves.

Besides deep breathing, adopting power poses backstage can significantly boost your confidence levels. Although it may sound crazy, this is a tip from social psychologists that has helped many speakers take control of their anxiety. Just check out Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language to see for yourself.

Facing unexpected tech glitches or interruptions during your speech is par for the course. Stay calm and use humor if appropriate—it shows professionalism and adaptability.

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The Role of Technology in Managing Presentation Anxiety

When giving a presentation, it’s not uncommon for your slides or videos to suddenly turn on you, malfunctioning in some way. However, while technical issues are something to prepare for, they shouldn’t keep you from considering technology an ally against presentation anxiety. Let’s look at some ways that technology can help soothe your public speaking jitters.

Presentation Software Features

Gone are the days when speakers had to rely solely on their memory or paper notes. Modern presentation software not only allows you to create visually appealing slides but also comes with features designed specifically for speaker support. Tools like PowerPoint’s Presenter View or Keynote, give you a behind-the-scenes look at your notes and upcoming slides without showing them to the audience. This lets you stay on track discreetly.

Another gem is interactive polling through platforms such as Mentimeter or Poll Everywhere . Engaging your audience with real-time polls not only keeps them involved but also gives you brief moments to collect your thoughts and breathe.

Stress Management Apps

When it comes to taming those pre-presentation butterflies in your stomach, there’s an app for that too. Meditation apps like Headspace offer quick guided sessions that can be squeezed into any busy schedule. Taking even just five minutes before stepping onstage can significantly calm nerves and improve focus.

Breathing exercises have proven effective in managing stress levels quickly. The beauty of apps like Breathe2Relax , is that they provide structured breathing techniques aimed at reducing anxiety on-the-go. As a result, it’s perfect for those last-minute jitters backstage or right before a webinar starts.

Resources for Further Support

If you’re on a quest to conquer presentation anxiety, you’re not alone. It’s like preparing for a big game; sometimes, you need more than just pep talks. Thankfully, there are plenty of available aids out there to help support you on your journey.

Books That Speak Volumes

Finding the right book can be a lifesaver. “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun gives an insider look at the highs and lows of public speaking with humor and wisdom. Another gem is “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson, which pulls back the curtain on what makes talks memorable.

Beyond books, consider immersing yourself in stories of others who’ve walked this path before. A great way to do this is through podcasts or audiobooks focusing on overcoming fears and embracing confidence.

Professional Services: When You Need A Team

Sometimes self-help isn’t enough; maybe what you really need is someone in your corner guiding each step. That’s where expert coaches come in. These mentors can craft plans tailored uniquely to your situation, ensuring you’re equipped for every challenge.

Here at The Speaker Lab you’ll find plenty of resources and help if you’re looking to master the art of public speaking while tackling anxieties head-on.

Together, all these resources have one thing in common: they empower speakers at any stage of their journey towards becoming confident communicators ready to tackle any audience.

FAQs on Overcoming Presentation Anxiety

How do i overcome anxiety when presenting.

Practice your talk, know your stuff, and take deep breaths. Confidence grows with preparation and experience.

Why am I anxious about public speaking?

Fear of judgment or messing up in front of others triggers this anxiety. It’s our brain on high alert.

What is anxiety presentation?

Presentation anxiety is that jittery feeling before speaking publicly. It stems from fear of failure or negative evaluation.

What can I take for presentation anxiety?

Talk to a doctor first but beta-blockers or natural remedies like chamomile tea might help ease the jitters safely.

Feeling nervous before a presentation is common. However overwhelming it might feel, know that mastering this fear is possible. Remember: practice makes perfect. By prepping ahead of time and getting familiar with your content, you can dial down the nerves.

As you’re in the spotlight, make sure to maintain a lively interaction with those watching. This builds confidence on the spot. Tech tools are there for help too. They can streamline your preparation and delivery process significantly.

Don’t be shy about asking for more info if you’re looking for something specific. We’re here to help and make sure you find exactly what you need. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get out there and nail that presentation!

  • Last Updated: April 11, 2024

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  • For General Anxiety
  • For Panic Attacks
  • For Fears and Phobias

Presentation Anxiety: How to Overcome Stage Fright (Complete Guide)

Tyler Ellis

Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is thought to affect as much as 75% of the population. For both students and professionals alike, this phobia tends to take the form of presentation anxiety. So, how can we overcome stage fright and presentation anxiety once and for all?

While avoiding presentations may bring some short-term relief to your anxiety, this will worsen your stage fright in the long-run. To overcome presentation anxiety long-term, presentation tools and gradual practice are the most effective solutions.

Maybe, right now, you’re extremely anxious about a presentation coming up. Maybe the only thought racing through your mind is how in the world am I going to get out of giving this presentation?

No worries. This guide is going to cover everything – and I mean everything – you’ll need to know. Make sure not to skip the section on “alternative ways of presenting,” I think you’ll find those really useful!

No need to stress; let’s get right into this.

What Causes Presentation Anxiety?

First things first… why do we feel presentation anxiety in the first place?

Sure, we might expect our heart to pound and breathing to accelerate as we walk along the edge of a cliff – but during a presentation? What part of talking about George Washington Carver inventing peanut butter should cause our hands to tremble and our voice to stutter?

Well, as it turns out, presentation anxiety is caused by ancient mechanisms in our brain responsible for our survival. For anxious people, our brain perceives being the center of attention in large group to be a threat. This triggers the “fight or flight” response, causing us to panic as we try and escape our uncomfortable setting.

Obviously, we are in no real danger while giving a class presentation or work presentation. Many years of evolution, however, have trained us to avoid stage fright with a passion. In ancient times, being surround by a (potentially angry) mob could have fatal consequences; as could being humiliated, rejected, or otherwise cast out from the tribe.

For many of us – especially those of us prone to social anxiety – such fears have stuck with us since caveman times. It’s important we remember these fears are harmless. Just being aware of their nature can help with this process. Despite what your brain and body may be telling you, these feelings of anxiety are not dangerous; they are going to pass.

Feel free to check out this article for a better understanding of the evolutionary psychology behind anxiety .

How to Get Out of a Presentation

I recommend against avoidance in most cases, as it only reinforces our anxiety in the long-run.

However, I know what it’s like to be a student with presentation anxiety.

I know how hard it is juggling academics, a social life, relationships, and newly blossoming anxieties all at once. I know that it can get so bad the most logical option feels like dropping out of school altogether. I don’t want you to feel like you have to do that.

So, if you’re really just not ready to overcome your stage fright:

  • Intentionally Choose Classes That Don’t Require Presentations
  • Tell the Teacher or Professor About What You’re Going Through
  • Ask the Teacher or Professor for Alternative Assignments
  • For Group Presentations, Ask Someone Else to Take the Lead
  • Present Your Assignment in an Alternative Format Using Presentation Tools and Software (more on this in a bit)

If this seems a bit vague, it’s only because I’ve actually dedicated an entire article to this topic already. Check out this piece on how to get out of giving a presentation in class for more help with this.

Like I said, ultimately, avoidance is a poor strategy. However, I believe it’s just as detrimental to be “forced” into facing our fears before we are mentally prepared to do so. Having been there myself, I want you to be able to rest easy knowing that you do have some options here.

For this guide, however, I want to focus more on how to actually overcome presentation anxiety and stage fright.

My secret is – believe it or not – I get incredibly nervous before public speaking, no matter how big the crowd or the audience and, um, despite the fact that I laugh and joke all the time I get incredibly nervous, if not anxious, actually, before going into rooms full of people when I'm wearing a suit... And now that I've confessed that, I'll probably be even more worried that people are looking at me.

Prince Harry - Duke of Sussex, Member of the British Royal Family

How to Stop a Panic Attack While Presenting in Class

When I first started having panic attacks, I had no idea what they were or why they were happening. Prior to my first panic attack, I had never had an issue with public speaking or presentation anxiety at all. In fact, I had voluntarily participated in several clubs and activities that required public speaking.

Yet, when my first few panic attacks started (I was around 16 at the time), they would occur in any random situation. Wherever they occurred, I'd quickly develop a phobia associated with that location or situation. One such random panic attack occurred – you guessed it – during a class presentation.

While this experience was terrifying, embarrassing, and extremely uncomfortable, I had – fortunately – managed to keep it together enough for most people not to notice. For the many class presentations that would follow, however, I had to develop some tricks to stop panic attacks while presenting in class.

Here’s what worked for me:

  • Volunteer to go first. This may seem strange, but I always felt it easier to volunteer first and get it out of the way. Oftentimes, it’s easier to deal with presentation anxiety when we don’t feel cornered. By choosing to do it yourself, you maintain some control of the situation and get the jump on things before anticipation anxiety kicks in .
  • Remember you are not going to die. This is just a panic attack, and it’s going to pass. It may be uncomfortable, but it will be over within a few moments.
  • Take control of your breathing. 478 breathing is a simple technique that works. Simply breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds through the mouth.
  • Find a focus object. Choose a point, or several points, to focus on in the room. This could be a ceiling tile, a lightbulb, a pile of books, anything. Whenever your thoughts start to wander or spiral out of control, recenter your thoughts on that focus object.
  • Try and remember the other times you’ve given a class presentation with anxiety. Chances are, this isn’t your first time. Remember those past successes and visualize this presentation as one where you overcome stage fright as well. If your mind is drawn to a time when it didn’t go so well, at least remind yourself that it passed and you survived it; just as you’ll survive this one.
  • If you have a friend in the class, look to them from time to time. Flash them a smile or a wink, and try not to laugh out loud while you’re up there. This may seem silly, but I’d rather stifle a laugh than grapple a panic attack.
  • Remember that no one’s really paying attention. Just as you were sitting at your desk nervously thinking about your own turn to present, most people are doing the exact same now. And even if they’re not anxious, they’re probably zoned out or drifting off; it’s quite difficult to keep an involuntary crowd’s attention. Trust me, they’re probably not thinking about you much.

These are just a few ways to stop a panic attack while presenting in class. Of course, just about any method for stopping panic attacks can work well here, so feel free to explore our site a bit to learn some other methods.

There are only two types of speakers in the world:

1. The nervous

Mark Twain - American humorist, novelist, and travel writer

Alternative Ways of Presenting to Help Overcome Stage Fright

If you take nothing else from this article, I believe that this is the section that can help anxious students and professionals with stage fright the most. When I was dealing with presentation anxiety myself, most of these options didn’t even exist. If you’re anxious about standing in front of class and presenting, any of these could be fantastic alternatives to presenting.

Basically, any of these presentation software tools can help you to quickly create a visually stunning presentation; all without having to speak in front of the class. They utilize audio, video, and/or animation to create informative videos that get the point across even more effectively than conventional presentations.

For the most part, all a teacher or boss really cares about is that you: 

  • Put hard work and dedication into your assignment
  • Learned something throughout the process
  • Are able to communicate what you learned to educate your peers

Telling the teacher “Sorry, I just can’t present today,” won’t meet any of these points, and is likely to land you a failed grade.

Instead, ask your teacher if you can use one of these presentation tools to create an even more engaging and informative presentation. This way, it’ll seem like you’ve put in the most effort in the class, rather than the least; all without having to speak in front of the class.

Here are the automated presentation tools I currently use myself and recommend:

I go into much greater detail on these tools here: automated presentation software . Before buying anything, I strongly suggest giving that article a read. Otherwise, Toonly and Doodly are my top picks.

What is the Best Presentation Anxiety Medication for Stage Fright?

Giving a presentation in high school or college can be extremely stressful for many people. If standing in front of the class feels like an impossible task, you may be wondering about presentation anxiety medication. So… what are the best drugs for presentation anxiety?

Since I’m not a doctor, I can only offer you a friendly opinion here.

In general, I think it’s a good idea to steer clear of anti-anxiety medication whenever it isn’t absolutely necessary. If your doctor prescribes you presentation anxiety medication, so be it. In the long-run, however, this can often create cycles of reliance and dependence that are best avoided.

But what about taking an over-the-counter supplement for anxiety before a presentation?

I have personally found one supplement to help me relax and communicate more confidently. This is my favorite supplement for stage fright, as it has helped me tremendously in situations where I would normally feel a bit socially anxious. I’ve used this supplement for presentations, job interviews, and even first dates.

My favorite supplement for presentation anxiety symptoms is phenibut. It just helps me feel significantly calmer while simultaneously boosting my sociability and confidence. This supplement is extremely affordable and legally sold online in most countries. If you want to learn a bit more about it, I have an article going into greater depth about phenibut here.

I do urge responsibility when using phenibut, as you don’t want to become reliant on it. But if it makes the difference between shirking your presentation vs. delivering a great one, I highly recommend it.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning

Winston Churchill - Former Prime Minister of the UK, Famous Orator

Tips for How to Present a Project Effectively

Few things help to eliminate anticipation anxiety like truly preparing for the situation. If your fears are rooted in delivering a poor or ineffective presentation, take some time to prepare.

Here are some tips for how to present a project effectively:

How to Present a Project Effectively chart

How to Overcome Stage Fright and Presentation Anxiety

There are many strategies we can take when dealing with our presentation anxiety or stage fright. Here are three of the most common strategies:

  • Complete Avoidance – Post-college, public speaking occasions like presentations are pretty few and far between. As an adult, it isn’t too difficult to avoid presentations, although not overcoming stage fright can be a hinderance in many career fields.
  • Reluctant and Occasional – Here’s where most people in the world probably fall. Most of us aren’t 100% comfortable with presenting, yet we suck it up and get it done when we have to. This isn’t a bad place to be, although it's uncomfortable occasionally.
  • Conquering Presentation Anxiety – Some brave souls will choose to completely crush their fear of public speaking, overcoming stage fright and glossophobia entirely. This path is not for the faint of heart, as it isn’t easy; however, it has the largest payoff in the end with regard to career and confidence.

We’ve already discussed strategies for the first two earlier in this guide. Let’s now focus on the third.

How can we overcome presentation anxiety and glossophobia?

Well, whenever we want to eliminate a fear or phobia long-term, the best way to do so is through exposure therapy. We do have a full article on how to extinguish fears through exposure therapy if you’re curious to really understand this process.

For now, I’ll fill you in on the basics:

By gradually stepping outside of our comfort zone and exposing ourselves to our fears, we can eliminate those fears over time. The key here is that we are stepping a bit outside our comfort zone, but not immersing ourselves so fully to induce panic. In other words: challenge yourself at a fair pace.  

comfort zone vs growth zone vs panic zone

So how do we apply this to overcome presentation anxiety and stage fright?

My suggestion would be to identify the smallest voluntary step you can take outside of your comfort zone without panicking. Perhaps presenting may induce a panic attack, but are you at least able to read aloud from your seat? Perhaps reading aloud is difficult, but could you at least volunteer an answer from time to time?

This process will be as unique as a fingerprint for each person, as we all have different comfort zones and stressors. Try and find where your comfort zone ends and take small steps just outside of it. With repeated practice, you’ll notice your comfort zone expanding as you become more confident with the activity.

gradual exposure hierarchy image

In general, here are some opportunities you may find useful for stepping outside of your comfort zone:

  • Start raising your hand more often to ask or answer questions
  • Volunteer to read aloud or answer a problem on the board whenever you’re feeling confident
  • Create a presentation using presentation software (recommendations above), but see if you can actually get through it without relying on the audio. If you get too nervous, you can use it
  • Rather than trying to get out of a presentation, ask your groupmates if you could take a lesser role with speaking; perhaps you could do more of the research to make up for it
  • Seek out your local Toastmasters group to practice public speaking away from the pressures of your own social circles
  • Try and attend small open mic nights and similar opportunities to gain experience with public speaking

Fun Fact: I successfully avoided presentations for the majority of my high school and college career. Afterward, I wound up working several jobs that forced me to confront this fear. First came a sales job, and next came a job that required me to speak in front of 150-200 people multiple times per day.

Turns out, I liked money more than I disliked public speaking.

List of Famous People with Public Speaking Anxiety

Sometimes a bit of solidarity goes a long way. Here’s a list of famous/successful people who have long been known to have suffered from public speaking anxiety:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Prince Harry
  • Warren Buffet
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Tiger Woods
  • Rowan Atkinson
  • Jackie Chan
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Princess Diana
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Sir Richard Branson

As you can see… we’ve got some big names up there. And this is just a very small list of successful people who have been open about their public speaking anxiety – to say nothing of the silent majority!

Never forget, you’re far from alone in experiencing this – you can absolutely overcome presentation anxiety, stage fright, and glossophobia if you wish to!

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About the Author

Years of personal experience with anxiety disorders and panic attacks have led me to devise some pretty creative ways to keep my anxiety in check. In the past, anxiety and panic attacks felt like something I'd have to live with forever. Nowadays, panic attacks are a distant memory for me, and I'm free to pursue passions like writing and traveling the world. Hopefully, the information on this website can help you achieve the same. I do all the writing here myself, so don't hesitate to reach out with questions!

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Should We Force Shy Kids to Do Class Presentations?

Here’s what experts say..

Taylor Lorenz’s recent piece in the Atlantic about kids who want to abolish the in-class presentation has predictably triggered the kind of older people who think children today are far too pampered and indulged. But do these young critics of public presentations have a point? And—to pose a broader question about our requirements of the younger generation—should parents and educators force kids who are shy to do the social things that scare them? Lorenz asked kids and teachers their opinions. I wanted to see what psychologists thought.

There is a big difference between experiencing a garden-variety fear of public speaking, which is extremely common, and having social anxiety disorder. Young people with the latter, psychologist Jonathan Dalton told me, have extended physical responses to public speaking; it’s not the same as just being a little scared beforehand and coming through OK. “One of the things about social anxiety disorder that’s most pernicious is that nonsufferers have the illusion they understand it,” Dalton said. “They can say, ‘Oh, I understand this problem. I used to have a hard time giving a talk when I was in high school.’ That’s like saying ‘I have major depression’ and the teacher saying, ‘Oh, I used to be sad in high school too.’ ”

For people with anxiety disorders who have a fear of public speaking, Dalton said, the difference is physical. “The average person who’s giving a public presentation, their blood pressure and all those measurements of body activation will be elevated for about eight minutes when you begin a presentation,” Dalton said. “With someone with social anxiety disorder, it can be elevated for about 90 minutes.” The situation feels grave to the person suffering through it; Dalton said he once had a patient threaten suicide at school and end up hospitalized because of a mandated class presentation.

Still, Dalton said he doesn’t believe the answer should be to avoid presentations altogether. He said he counsels parents that avoidance of events that may provoke anxiety will only “make more room for anxiety to grow.” “So much of what we do is parent training,” Dalton, the director of the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change , told me. “The more compassionate the parent is, the more they want to reduce the child’s suffering. And I always tell the parents, ‘I promise you the anxiety will fill whatever space you give it.’ ”

Even setting aside a clinical diagnosis like social anxiety disorder, what we perceive as “shyness” itself may be partly biological—and not actually about shyness and sociability at all, but rather about a person’s reactions to unexpectedness and unfamiliarity. In their book The Long Shadow of Temperament , psychologists Jerome Kagan and Nancy Snidman wrote based on their findings that we could assess children as early as 4 months of age for a set of responses that would classify them as “inhibited” or “uninhibited.” “Inhibited” children react to unexpected events, like the appearance of a stranger or the popping of a balloon, with expressions of stress that “uninhibited” children don’t.

Kagan, Snidman, and other collaborators have followed children across their childhoods to see how those biologically determined temperaments did and didn’t affect children’s lives. In the end, they write, a naturally inhibited child might end up shy and reserved, or she might not; the temperamental bias “is embedded in a family context that, over time, creates a psychological profile.” The relationship between a child’s biologically determined temperament and the work that nurture does is infinitely complex, which is why this is an interesting research question .

Psychologist Doreen Arcus , studying these questions about temperament, found that inhibited children who lived with parents who practiced “authoritative parenting” in the kids’ first few years ended up what she described in a phone call as “less fearful, less timid, less stressed.” Children judged “inhibited” but whose parents placed strong limits on their behavior and let them protest those limits had experienced strong emotions, come through them, and realized that those emotions would come to a close. Arcus theorized this enabled those children to respond better to unfamiliar situations as they grew older. In explaining this to me, Arcus used the example of a toddler who is getting into the cat food. The parent might deny the child the experience of sticking her fingers in the kibble, by moving the bowl or the child, and endure the child’s protests before moving on to a new activity. Or the parent might distract the child with some other object of desire (Arcus used the Tupperware drawer as an example), so the baby never has the experience of being frustrated. The inhibited child who has been allowed to feel challenged in different situations had a better chance of losing some of his innate fearfulness.

Arcus said authoritative parenting—as opposed to permissive, neglectful, or authoritarian parenting, the less-effective alternatives —is about a mix of sensitivity and strong expectations. The steps she suggested to acclimate shy younger children to an activity they fear are the opposite of “throwing them in the deep end.” “Would your child really like to be swinging on the swings, but it’s just too painful?” she asked. “You can work up to things in small increments.” A parent could tell a child she can walk by the swings today, but she definitely needs to try to swing tomorrow. The next day, the parent could bring the child to the swings, and have her try swinging, but promise that she can leave after five minutes. “Sometimes, four minutes and 59 seconds comes, and the child is OK,” Arcus said. “And you can say, ‘You want to try another five minutes?’ ” Along the way, the parent should praise the victories. Authority, in this framework, looks more like responsive firmness than strict or angry insistence.

This concept of progressive acclimation, which Arcus described in the context of younger children who fear certain social situations, reminded me of the strategies Dalton told me he and his colleagues might pursue with patients with social anxiety disorder who were afraid of in-class presentations. He told me he might have the patient follow a multistep process: first, to read a kids’ book aloud, with an audience only of a psychologist; have the patient do an original presentation in front of a psychologist, with a camera on, and then email the file to the teacher; have the patient and the teacher watch that file together; have the patient do the presentation with a peer in the room; finally, have the patient do the presentation in class. It’s an art, Dalton said. “We don’t just throw the kid to the wolves and say, ‘It’s just anxiety, do this anyway.’ ” For kids without social anxiety disorder who have a more moderate fear of class presentations, teachers could do a modified version of this graduated introduction to the concept—presentations in pairs, then in groups, with conversations along the way about strategies you can use to cope with the fear that public speaking often arouses.

The answers I got from Dalton and Arcus, which confirm that avoidance is not the answer, might seem to reinforce the predictable arguments of people who think these kids need to suck it up. As the epigraph to the new Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt book The Coddling of the American Mind goes: “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” The saying is attributed to “Folk wisdom, origin unknown.” The authors hold this idea up as evident common sense (even as their critics strongly refute its implications). Why let shy kids, such people grumble, claim an exemption for themselves? After all, we all did class presentations, and we survived.

But when it comes to shyness and social anxiety, “the road” has changed before. In the United States in 2018 we reward boldness, curiosity, self-assuredness, and social ease; the parent of a naturally uninhibited child will get a lot of compliments, even if some of that brazen sociability and lack of fear comes from the child’s biology. But it wasn’t always so. “Before Freud,” Kagan writes, “a child who conformed to parental requests, was cautious in dangerous situations, and remained quiet with adult strangers was regarded as having a good character. After Freud, this child was classified as anxious.” Historian Barbara Benedict writes , in a history of early modern inquiry, that children and adults who were very curious about the world were once seen as dangerous and disruptive instead of laudable founts of ingenuity. The Victorians perceived shyness, Joe Moran writes in his delightful cultural history of the trait , “as an unwavering disposition, a force one could never defeat, as fixed and as little one’s fault as a tendency to suffer from gout or piles.”

We older people think of the “road” as common sense, “the world the way it is.” Of course you have to be able to talk to people you’ve never met. Of course you’ll need to do presentations. That’s just the way it is. But as a parent or a teacher, you always make personal judgments about the things children will need to do in order to survive “the road.” In this argument, as in so many intergenerational conflicts, a little adult humility would go a long way. Yes, your child probably should present in class. But you don’t have to be a jerk about it.

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Do You Have Social Anxiety or Are You Just Shy?

social anxiety

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought Why did I say that? immediately after walking away from a conversation. (You can’t tell through the screen, but my hand is raised— very high.) The fear of being judged by others before, during, or after a social interaction is real, but most people can shake off an awkward moment on a first date (see: dating anxiety ) or lingering nervousness from a high-stakes meeting. With social anxiety, or social anxiety disorder, those moments can wreck your whole day and kick off non-stop racing thoughts for weeks.

Maybe that feels relatable, but there’s a lot more to the mental health condition than overthinking the last thing you said. Sure, most of us feel at least a little awkward in lots of social circumstances. And, of course, the more important the interaction—a job interview, meeting your partner’s friends, pitching a new idea to your boss—the more on edge you might feel.

But if you spend a pretty significant amount of time freaking out about social interactions at work, school, or out with your friends, you might wonder whether something bigger, like social anxiety or social anxiety disorder , is at play. And it might be!

To help you sort through the difference between being shy or introverted and having social anxiety disorder, we asked mental health pros for the signs that help them spot this mental health condition. Plus, what to do if you’re having a hard time. 

One quick thing before we dive into the details: Mental health is complex and everyone has a unique experience, so don’t go diagnosing yourself just because you read a few articles on the internet (though, we do appreciate you stopping by to learn a few things). If this resonates with you, consider it a jumping-off point in your journey to getting care. OK, let’s get into it...

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety exists on a spectrum. On one end, you might feel very anxious about social situations occasionally. On the more intense end, that kind of anxiety could keep happening for months or even years, making a significant impact on your day-to-day functioning. If the latter is the case for you, you might meet the criteria for social anxiety disorder. 

Technically, social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is a mental health condition characterized by intense, overwhelming fear of everyday social interactions and situations, and those anxieties get in the way of living your life the way you want, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR ). 

Unlike shyness, which is a personality trait that might make you feel more reserved in social situations, social anxiety is a fear of doing something wrong in front of others that keeps you from being as outgoing as you want to be. “If somebody’s shy, they might walk into a room and not feel the need to speak,” says therapist Aimee Estrin, LMSW . “They’re not walking into this room and feeling a sense of panic or anxiety.”

The same is true for introverts. If you consider yourself part of that club, you likely find downtime alone more energizing than being with others. It’s not that you’re freaked out by social situations (like with social anxiety disorder), you just need more solo dolo time to recharge. While introverts can have social anxiety, as psychologist Jessica Stern, PhD , previously told Wondermind , they don’t go hand in hand (same goes for extroverts, BTW).

How can I tell if I have social anxiety disorder?

Now that you have a better idea of what social anxiety is (and what it’s not), let’s talk about what it can look and feel like out in the wild. Here are the signs you might be dealing with social anxiety disorder. 

1 . You feel physically awful before, during, and after.

Leading up to a Big Social Thing (or even a small one) you might get sweaty, start shaking, and feel your heart beating really intensely. You could also feel sick, short of breath , or hot, Cwynar says. That can happen in the days or even weeks before the thing actually happens, per the DSM-5-TR . If you don’t avoid that event or task entirely, those feelings stick with you or get worse as you go through the motions. By the time it’s all over, you likely feel ex-haus-ted by those physical symptoms.

2. You can’t get shit done without freaking out.

Sure, giving a speech at your friend’s 300-person wedding or interviewing for a job are definitely anxiety fuel for most of us, says Estrin. Those are totally rational things to get a little anxious about—these moments are big deals and you want to get it right.

With social anxiety disorder, you’ll stress about being judged by others, humiliated, or embarrassed to the point where it becomes extremely difficult to engage in everyday situations like prepping for a work meeting, making small talk at the office, eating lunch with a friend, or making new friends , per the DSM-5-TR.   That can make existing among other people, even people you don’t know or those who care about you, really, really challenging. 

3. You change your behavior to avoid feeling or looking anxious.

Because doing life in front of others feels physically and emotionally daunting, severe cases of social anxiety might inspire you to avoid people as much as possible, says therapist Monica Cwynar, LCSW . You might have your groceries delivered instead of shopping at the store, skip family gatherings, or avoid leaving the house in general. 

But shifting your behavior for the sake of your social anxiety can also be more subtle. Maybe you avoid making eye contact, initiating small talk, or becoming the center of attention at all costs (even if you actually enjoy the idea of being noticed). 

You might also take precautions to mask your anxiety symptoms. For example, you might avoid sipping water in your meeting or holding your notes to cover for shaky hands. Or maybe you avoid wearing certain colors to make it harder for people to see you sweating, per the DSM-5-TR .

4 . Anxiety runs in your family.

Listen, genetics don’t determine whether you’ll have social anxiety or not. Your family tree could have lots of people with the disorder and you don’t or vice versa. That said, there is a higher risk associated with social anxiety disorder when any of your first-degree relatives have the condition, per the DSM-5-TR .

5. You suspect or know that your social anxiety is excessive.

Estrin says that, in her experience, people with social anxiety often recognize that their anxiety in normal social situations is over-the-top and unreasonable. For example, you might notice that your coworkers don’t seem as anxious before or during your monthly status update meeting as you do. People with social anxiety know they shouldn’t feel this way, but they can’t help it, she adds.

6. This has been going on for a while.

Most of us can relate to feeling anxious and awkward in social situations some of the time. But in order to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, these intense, irrational feelings have to be happening for six months or more. 

How is social anxiety treated? 

Step one: Remember that social anxiety is not uncommon, and you’re not weird or gross for dealing with it. After all, acceptance is the first step in any healing process, and how you treat yourself can play a significant role in your journey. Don’t be so hard on yourself. 

Whether you think you have the diagnosable form of social anxiety or not, if you’re feeling weird about your social interactions or they’re getting in the way of your goals or just how you want to live, talking to a mental health pro can help you deal with social anxiety .

Cwynar and Estrin both recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapeutic modality that teaches you to challenge the negative thoughts and self-talk that come with social anxiety. With the help of a therapist you can also do gradual exposure therapy, which is all about “facing your fear of social situations in a controlled manner,” according to Cwynar. “This can help individuals learn how to be more confident and reduce anxiety over time,” she adds. If you’re comfortable, you could also DIY your own exposure therapy, making a list of social things that scare you and working your way from least terrifying to most (within reason).

Therapy will also help you rethink the narratives fueling your social anxiety by challenging your thoughts. Estrin says a therapist may ask questions like, “Where is your evidence of this? Why did you think everyone’s eyes were on you in this big crowded room? ” And you can learn to do this on your own.

She also adds that joining a social anxiety therapy group can be helpful as well. “It’s nice to put yourself in a situation with like-minded people who feel the same way you do so you feel validated and less alone in your experience,” Estrin says. If appropriate, a health care provider may also prescribe medication to help treat social anxiety.

No matter where you stand on the social anxiety scale, know that you’re not alone. “I know social anxiety is hard for people,” Cwynar says. “We have to keep showing up and keep trying, because life is so amazing… we don’t want people missing out on their lives.”

Wondermind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a replacement for medical advice. Always consult a qualified health or mental health professional with any questions or concerns about your mental health.


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Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Panic Disorder

  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder

  • OCD and PTSD Classification

Living With Anxiety Disorders

  • Next in Anxiety Disorder Guide Causes and Risk Factors of Anxiety

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that involves intense feelings of fear or worry. Different types of anxiety disorders affect millions of Americans. For example, 15 million U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder, and 6 million experience panic disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be challenging and may greatly impact daily life. Learn about the different types of anxiety disorders, their causes, treatment, coping, and more.

Kseniya Ovchinnikova / Getty Images

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with GAD experience intense feelings of worry or fear that occur most days for six months or longer. This anxiety is related to a variety of different areas of life, such as relationships, careers, health, and safety. GAD affects nearly 6% of adults at some point in their lives.

In addition to worry and fear that is difficult to control, symptoms of GAD may include:

  • Changes in sleep or difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Digestive issues
  • Feeling restless
  • Irritability
  • Tense muscles , often in the neck and shoulders

While some people may be genetically prone to GAD, this condition may run in families partially because of life circumstances and the home environment. The specific causes are not fully understood.

Diagnosis involves an evaluation with a healthcare provider or mental health professional (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker) who will ask questions and assesses the condition.

Treatment can include the following, which may be combined:

  • Psychotherapy : Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches how to modify your thinking, behavior, and reaction to situations. Acceptance and commitment therapy teach strategies to address negative thoughts and reduce anxiety.
  • Medication : Antidepressants or antianxiety medications may be prescribed.

Panic disorder is a condition in which a person experiences many panic attacks over a long period of time. The panic attacks come on suddenly, without any known danger, and involve intense feelings of fear or feelings of losing control. This condition is more than twice as common among females than males.

Symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling weak
  • Increased heart rate
  • Light-headedness
  • Pain in the chest
  • Shaking or chills
  • Sweating with our without feeling hot
  • Upset stomach

A person with panic disorder is intensely fearful of experiencing another panic attack, and they often fear or avoid places where they have had a panic attack.

Like GAD, it is not entirely clear what causes panic disorder. People who experience traumatic events or loss are at an increased risk. A mental health professional such as a psychiatrist can diagnose this condition with an evaluation that involves asking questions.

Panic disorder can be treated with talk therapy (psychotherapy) techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), coping techniques, relaxation exercises , support groups, lifestyle changes, and medications (antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, beta-blockers ).

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

SAD involves fear or worry related to social interactions. Women are more likely to experience SAD than men, especially among teens and young women. Additionally, their symptoms tend to be more severe.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Avoiding social situations or interactions
  • Extreme shyness or fear of talking to new people
  • Feelings of nervousness , embarrassment, or being judged
  • Overthinking conversations
  • Ruminating about interactions with others

The specific causes of social anxiety disorder are unclear. It may run in families, and stress and environmental factors also may play a role.

Similar to other types of anxiety disorders, SAD can be diagnosed by talking with a mental health professional. Some providers offer virtual appointments, which tend to be easier for people experiencing symptoms of SAD. Treatment may involve talk therapy, medications, or both.

Separation anxiety disorder involves intense fear or reaction related to being apart from those to whom the individual is attached. These fears and reactions are normal for babies and young children but can become a concern if they do not grow out of it around school age. This condition may also affect teens and adults.

Symptoms of separation anxiety disorder include:

  • Difficulty sleeping, leaving the house, or taking part in activities that involve being away from a primary caregiver
  • Extreme reaction when separated from a primary caregiver
  • Fear or worry related to danger for a primary caregiver or self
  • Feeling physically ill when separated from a primary caregiver
  • Intense desire to constantly be with a specific person

The causes of separation anxiety disorder are not fully known. Traumatic experiences, instability at home, and stressful situations can increase the risk of this condition. It can be diagnosed with an evaluation from a mental health professional.

This condition can be treated with talk therapy or play therapy for children and talk therapy or medications for adults.

A phobia is a continuous, irrational, and intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Most people who have a specific phobia have more than one. For example, a person may have a phobia of both spiders and heights.

Phobia symptoms include:

  • Avoiding something specific due to fear, such as needles or dogs

Phobias can be caused by a traumatic event involving the thing that is feared or someone repeatedly or intensely expressing the dangers of what is feared. However, sometimes the cause is unrelated to the specific phobia, or the cause is unknown.

Phobias can be evaluated and diagnosed by a mental health professional. Treatment options include talk therapy and exposure therapy.

New Classifications for OCD and PTSD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) used to be considered anxiety disorders, but are now classified independently.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD involves repeated, unwanted thoughts or urges (obsessions) and feeling the need to do something repeatedly (compulsions). It affects up to 3 million American adults.

Symptoms of OCD include:

  • Feeling fear of losing control of their behavior
  • Feeling the need to clean excessively or an intense fear of germs
  • Fear of forgetting or losing things
  • Placing items in a specific order
  • Repeatedly checking that things have been completed

OCD may be caused by genetics or traumatic experiences, especially in childhood, but the causes are not fully understood. This condition can be diagnosed with an evaluation from a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist. It is treated with talk therapy , medications, or both.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD can result from experiencing a traumatic event. It involves a nervous system response after the event has ended and the person is no longer in danger.

PTSD affects about 6% of Americans at some point in their life. It affects about 8% of women compared to 4% of men due to trauma such as sexual assault being more commonly experienced by women.

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Intrusive thoughts, which may include flashbacks
  • Avoiding situations, places, and people that remind them of the traumatic event.
  • Negative thoughts, guilt, shame, fear, distorted beliefs about themself or others
  • Constant vigilance for potential danger
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Jumpiness or being scared easily

PTSD is caused by a past experience of a traumatic event or events. Risk factors include abuse, accidents, and war. After an evaluation, this condition can be diagnosed by a mental health professional. It is treated with talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy CBT, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) , and medications.

Anxiety disorders are challenging, and often severe enough to impact daily life. They are also treatable. Up to 85% of people who receive treatment for anxiety disorders find it to be effective. Additionally, there are many ways to cope with anxiety disorders long term.

Coping methods include:

  • Relaxation exercises
  • Breathing techniques
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Connecting with a trusted friend or family member
  • Lifestyle behaviors such as prioritizing sleep, eating nutritious foods, and exercising regularly

Anxiety disorders involve intense feelings of fear or worry that recur for six months or longer. There are different types of anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, which is an intense fear of social interactions that may be severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Panic disorder involves sudden episodes of intense fear called panic attacks. Separation anxiety disorder is when an older child, teen, or adult experiences an extreme reaction to being away from a primary caregiver or another loved one.

Generalized anxiety disorder is when anxiety is related to a variety of different areas of life rather than a specific object or situation.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder were once considered anxiety disorders, but they are now considered separate conditions.

Anxiety disorders are treatable. It is important to seek help for these conditions to get relief and prevent further complications. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, reach out to a primary care provider or mental health professional for support.

A Note on Gender and Sex Terminology

Verywell Health acknowledges that  sex and gender  are related concepts, but they are not the same. To reflect our sources accurately, this article uses terms like “female,” “male,” “woman,” and “man” as the sources use them.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety disorders - facts and statistics .

National Institute of Mental Health. Generalized anxiety disorder .

National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety disorders .

National Institute of Mental Health. Generalized anxiety disorder: when worry gets out of control .

National Institute of Mental Health. Panic disorder .

National Institute of Mental Health. Panic disorder: when fear overwhelms .

Asher M, Asnaani A, Aderka IM. Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: a review .  Clinical Psychology Review . 2017;56:1-12. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2017.05.004

National Institute of Mental Health. Social anxiety disorder: more than just shyness .

Laicher H, Int-Veen I, Torka F, et al. Trait rumination and social anxiety separately influence stress-induced rumination and hemodynamic responses . Sci Rep . 2022;12(1):5512. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-08579-1

Nemours KidsHealth. Separation anxiety .

Boston Children's Hospital. Separation anxiety disorder .

Wardenaar KJ, Lim CCW, Al-Hamzawi AO, et al. The cross-national epidemiology of specific phobia in the World Mental Health Surveys .  Psychol Med . 2017;47(10):1744-1760. doi:10.1017/S0033291717000174

MedlinePlus. Phobia—simple/specific .

International OCD Foundation. Who gets OCD ?

National Institute of Mental Health.  Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Department of Veteran Affairs. How common is PTSD in adults?

American Psychiatric Association.  What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Garakani A, Murrough JW, Freire RC, et al. Pharmacotherapy of anxiety disorders: current and emerging treatment options .  Front Psychiatry . 2020;11:595584. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.595584

By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH Dr. Olivine is a Texas-based psychologist with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice.

How To Support Someone With Social Anxiety: 9 Tips

Ioanna Stavraki

Community Wellbeing Professional, Educator

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc, Neuropsychology, MBPsS

Ioanna Stavraki is a healthcare professional leading NHS Berkshire's Wellbeing Network Team and serving as a Teaching Assistant at The University of Malawi for the "Organisation Psychology" MSc course. With previous experience at Frontiers' "Computational Neuroscience" journal and startup "Advances in Clinical Medical Research," she contributes significantly to neuroscience and psychology research. Early career experience with Alzheimer's patients and published works, including an upcoming IET book chapter, underscore her dedication to advancing healthcare and neuroscience understanding.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Having a loved one with social anxiety can impact relationships and make things challenging. 

When someone is struggling with social anxiety, everyday social interactions can evoke overwhelming fear and distress, leading to avoidance behaviors and feelings of isolation. 

When I was struggling with social anxiety disorder ( SAD ), I felt like a shell of a person with my fight or flight constantly being activated. 

Having a supportive network, though, can make a world of difference. Friends, family members, and partners who offer understanding, patience, and encouragement can help ease the burden of social anxiety and provide vital emotional support.

An infographic outlining 8 tips for helping someone who has social anxiety including: be patient and understanding, help reframe their thoughts, and celebrate their successes,

This article will explore strategies and tips for effectively supporting someone with social anxiety. This should empower you to provide the understanding and encouragement they need to thrive!

1. Be patient and understanding

Actively listening and acknowledging feelings is key when supporting someone. It was certainly one of the things I valued the most when people were trying to help me overcome my SAD fears. 

It is incredibly easy to fall back on old habits, especially at the beginning, so having someone be patient with you allows the space to work at a comfortable pace. 

So, avoid rushing or pressuring them to progress faster than they are comfortable with. Instead, offer unconditional support, empathy , and reasonable reassurance as they face their fears and work towards building confidence in social situations. 

Understand that setbacks and relapses are normal parts of the process and provide encouragement to help them stay motivated. By demonstrating patience and understanding, you can create a safe and supportive environment that fosters healing and growth.

Lastly, if I could go back and advise my loved ones on what to do, here are 3 tips I would tell them:
  • Listen reflectively: Repeat back what the person has said to show that you understand and validate their experiences. For example, “It sounds like you are feeling really anxious about the upcoming social event.”
  • Use Empathetic Responses: For instance, “I can see how that situation would make you feel anxious. It is completely normal to feel that way.”
  • Ask Open-Ended Questions : Encourage the person to share more. For example, “Can you tell me more about what specifically makes you anxious in social situations?”

2. Learn about social anxiety

Educating yourself about social anxiety is crucial to providing effective support to your loved one. For example, you can take the time to learn about the symptoms, triggers, and challenges associated with social anxiety. 

Understanding the condition will help you empathize with what your loved one is experiencing and recognize when they may be struggling.

Try researching reputable sources, such as books , articles , and online resources , to gain insights into the nature of social anxiety and the various treatment options available. 

Additionally, consider attending informational workshops or support groups for families and friends of individuals with social anxiety.

By educating yourself about social anxiety, you will be better equipped to offer meaningful support and encouragement to your loved one on their journey towards recovery.

3. Encourage open communication about emotions

Creating a safe space for your loved one to express their feelings without judgment is essential for supporting them through their struggles with social anxiety. For example, encourage them to share their emotions openly and without fear of criticism or ridicule. 

Let them know that it is okay to cry or express themselves in whatever way feels natural to them. Instead of asking why they are anxious, try focusing on asking how they are feeling and what physical sensations they may be experiencing. 

This approach allows them to explore their emotions without feeling pressured to justify or explain them. 

By fostering open communication about emotions, you can help your loved one feel heard, understood, and supported as they navigate their journey with social anxiety.

What really helped me was opening conversations in environments where we were more alone, e.g., in a quiet park or in the car. Extra points if we could sit side by side so I would not be forced to look at them in the eyes, which would increase my stress.

4. Roleplay social interactions 

Reflecting ahead of time on topics to discuss or preparing a few icebreakers or questions can help ease anxiety.

But keep it light and flexible. The key is balance – having a general idea of what to say but not being rigidly attached to it.

With social anxiety, the goal is to gradually learn to trust yourself in social interactions, not to perfect them. Embrace the imperfect, spontaneous nature of social interactions as you build confidence .

There are a few reasons why extensively practicing or rehearsing what to say before a social interaction may not be the most effective approach for someone with social anxiety:
  • It can make the interaction feel scripted and unnatural, preventing authentic engagement.
  • It doesn’t allow for flexibility and adaptability in dynamic social situations.
  • It reinforces anxiety and self-doubt by implying a lack of trust in one’s ability to handle the interaction.
  • It hinders growth by focusing on perfection rather than learning through practice.
  • It shifts focus away from connecting with the other person and towards one’s own performance.

Engaging in some roleplay scenarios may provide a safe and controlled environment for your loved one to practice social skills and coping strategies. 

Offer to act out various social situations with them, allowing them to experiment with different responses and approaches in a supportive setting. 

For example, attending a party. You can you act as the host or another party attendee, and simulate various interactions that may happen such as introducing oneself to others, small talk, or joining group conversations. 

Try encouraging them to take on different roles, including the anxious individual and the confident participant, to gain perspective and build confidence. 

By practicing social interactions in a low-pressure environment, your loved one can gradually build their confidence and feel more prepared to navigate real-life social situations. But remember to discourage them from sticking to social scripts that may feel unnatural!

If you are seeing a therapist, I would definitely suggest you ask for them to plan a session around role-playing. For me, sometimes it would feel too awkward to do this with a friend or family member. 

5. Help them refocus their attention 

Remind the person that they should not allow their social anxiety to stop them from living their life.

Distraction techniques can help by shifting the focus away from anxious thoughts and feelings when you want to reduce anxiety quickly.

Healthy distraction involves prioritizing activities that are enjoyable and engaging and help reduce stress without causing harm or avoidance of important tasks.

By shifting their attention away from their anxiety-inducing thoughts, you can help alleviate their distress and provide them with a sense of comfort and reassurance. 

Although distracting ourselves should not be used to deal with anxiety in the long-term, in the moment, it can stop us from thinking about our worries (e.g., the ‘what ifs’) and instead focus on the present. 

For example, encourage them to participate in relaxation techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness exercises to help calm their mind. 

Here are a few ideas that you can use:
  • Watch a movie or TV show together.
  • Go for a walk in nature or around the neighborhood.
  • Engage in activities such as painting, drawing, crafting, playing a board game or card game.
  • Listen to music or a podcast.
  • Cook or bake together.
  • Explore a new hobby or interest together.
  • Share funny memes, jokes, or stories to lighten the mood.

Personally, I found it useful if people offered to help me distract but were not too pushy about it. Sometimes, in their attempts to get me out of the house, they would be a bit too intense in their approach as well-meaning as it might have been.

Therefore, it is important to recognize that sometimes wishing to isolate does not stem from SAD but is a need a lot of people have to recharge (especially if introverted). Check-in with your person if that is indeed the case.

6. Help reframe their thoughts

Encourage them to challenge negative or irrational thoughts associated with social situations.

For example, listen attentively to their concerns and gently guide them to explore alternative perspectives. Try asking inquisitive questions that prompt them to reconsider their beliefs or interpretations of social interactions. 

Here is a list of questions that you could ask someone to help challenge their thoughts:
  • “What evidence do you have that supports this thought?”
  • “Are there any alternative explanations for what happened?”
  • “How likely is it that your worst-case scenario will occur?”
  • “What would you say to a friend with the same thought?”
  • “Have you experienced similar situations in the past? How did they turn out?”
  • “What is the most realistic outcome based on the evidence?”
  • “How might someone else interpret this situation differently?”

However, do not ask them all of these questions at once as this could feel confrontational! Perhaps choose one or two when anxiety strikes.

Additionally, you can offer reassurance and support as they work through their thought patterns, emphasizing that it is okay to feel anxious and that their fears may not always reflect reality.

Provide examples of past experiences where their fears were unfounded or situations that turned out better than expected. Take care not to gaslight their feelings where there may be genuine concerns. Always approach with understanding and an open mind.

Lastly, encourage them to practice more realistic thinking and affirmations to counteract any automatic negative thought patterns stemming from the anxiety. By helping them reframe their thoughts, you can empower them to approach social situations with greater confidence and optimism.

Remember that this takes time to do as we are trying to rewrite years of the same negative CD that kept playing in our brains. Instinctive answers may be very pessimistic and hopeless at first, as that was certainly the case for me. It took years to switch to a better mindset but it can be done, you just have to keep pushing.

7. Celebrate their little successes

Acknowledge their efforts and recognize the steps they have taken to confront their anxiety, no matter how small.

For example, using genuine praise for their achievements, whether it is attending a social event or trying a new activity, can go a long way in boosting their confidence. 

Illustration of 3 friends holding up a gold trophy

It is essential to validate their progress and remind them that every step forward is significant on their journey to overcoming social anxiety. Milestones and accomplishments should be celebrated, and encouragement and support should be provided as they continue to progress. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Offer genuine praise and validation for their efforts and progress. You can say “I’m so proud of you for facing your fears and stepping outside your comfort zone.”
  • Acknowledge and appreciate their courage in facing social situations and challenges.
  • Express pride in their accomplishments, no matter how small.
  • Encourage reflection on achievements and how far they’ve come.
  • Remind them of their strengths and resilience, you can say “​​Keep believing in yourself, because you’re capable of amazing things.”
  • Provide specific feedback on what they did well and how it contributed to their success.
  • Create a supportive and celebratory atmosphere e,.g. through congratulatory messages and small gestures.

One word of caution is to avoid overreliance on food as a reward. I was offered to go out for treats sometimes when I was progressing, which led to associations of food=reward. This caused toxic relationships with food down the line and feeling like I did not deserve to have treats if I was not “doing well.” 

So, as instinctive as it may be to go out for ice cream to celebrate (which you should absolutely do), make sure you mix it up. 

8. Provide gentle encouragement to step outside their comfort zone

Offer reassurance and support while gently nudging them to face their fears and try new experiences. This will help boost their self-esteem and motivation to take small steps towards growth and change. 

Here are some ways you can begin doing that:
  • Suggest attending a small gathering with close friends or family members rather than a large social event.
  • For group activities, encourage them to participate where they feel more comfortable and supported, e.g., in a book club.
  • Recommend trying out a new hobby or interest in a low-pressure environment, such as joining a gardening club. Beginner groups are great low-pressure options.
  • Propose gradually increasing exposure to social situations by setting manageable goals, such as attending one social event per fortnight and gradually increasing frequency.
  • Suggest practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness meditation, to help manage anxiety while stepping out of their comfort zone.
  • Offer to accompany them to social outings or events as a supportive presence, providing reassurance and encouragement throughout the experience.
  • Encourage them to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about social situations by reframing them in a more positive and realistic light.

By offering gentle encouragement and support, you can help empower them to confront their fears, overcome obstacles, and ultimately thrive in social settings.

9. Offer practical support 

Practical support involves assisting them in concrete ways to alleviate their anxiety and enhance their confidence.

This can include accompanying them to appointments and social events, providing transportation, or helping them prepare for social interactions by brainstorming conversation topics or practicing relaxation techniques together. 

By offering practical assistance, you support them with the logistical challenges that may contribute to their anxiety and provide a sense of security and reassurance. 

Additionally, being present and available to offer support when needed can help them feel less alone and more capable of facing social situations. 

This can help demonstrate your commitment to their well-being and can significantly contribute to their ability to manage their social anxiety and engage more comfortably in social activities.

That being said, finding a balance is key because if you attend all social events with them, then they are not being pushed to try this on their own. Contrastingly, they may come to rely on you as you become a safety behavior/person for them.

As a recovering SAD person, as I call myself, I’m still prone to leaning on my friends sometimes as a safety zone. It is important to keep challenging yourself and doing new things alone to prevent accidental relapses in SAD behaviors. 

What NOT to do if someone has social anxiety

When supporting someone with social anxiety, it’s crucial to be mindful of certain behaviors or actions that may accidentally make symptoms worse. Here are some things to avoid:
  • Minimizing their feelings : Dismissing or trivializing your loved one’s anxiety can make them feel misunderstood. Avoid saying things like “It is not that serious” or “It is all in your head,” as this can undermine their experience and discourage them from seeking support.
  • Pressuring them into social situations : While encouragement is important, pushing someone with social anxiety to participate in social events before they’re ready can be counterproductive. Respect their boundaries and allow them to progress at their own pace.
  • Making them feel guilty : Guilt-tripping or shaming your loved one for avoiding social activities can worsen their anxiety and erode their self-esteem. Instead, offer understanding and support without judgment.
  • Dismissing their coping mechanisms : Individuals with social anxiety may employ various coping mechanisms, such as avoiding eye contact or rehearsing conversations. Criticizing or mocking these strategies can undermine their sense of control and increase their distress.
  • Pressuring them to “just relax” : Telling someone with social anxiety to simply “calm down” oversimplifies their experience and fails to address the underlying issues. Instead, offer reassurance and support without imposing unrealistic expectations.
  • Don’t make assumptions about their triggers : Every individual with social anxiety has unique triggers and sensitivities. Avoid assuming what situations or environments may trigger their anxiety without their input. Instead, engage in open and non-judgmental communication to understand their specific triggers and offer support accordingly.
  • Providing excessive reassurance: While occasional, genuine reassurance can be supportive, excessive reassurance can inadvertently reinforce anxiety and self-doubt. Instead of always providing reassurance, encourage your friend to develop their own coping strategies and self-talk. If you notice excessive reassurance-seeking, gently point this out and suggest alternative ways to manage anxiety, such as practicing self-compassion or relaxation techniques. The goal is to help your friend build long-term resilience and confidence in handling social situations independently.
  • Don’t be expected to ‘fix’ them : It is crucial to recognize that you can not single-handedly alleviate someone else’s social anxiety. Avoid placing the burden of responsibility on yourself to “fix” the person or their anxiety. Instead, offer compassionate support, encouragement, and resources to help them on their journey toward healing and self-improvement.

Lastly, in our attempts to consolidate and support someone, we may end up using certain phrases that, while well intended, can be not very useful. Here is a list of them to avoid:

  • “Just relax and calm down.”
  • “Stop worrying about what others think.”
  • “You are overreacting.”
  • “Why can’t you just be normal?”
  • “You need to get out more.”
  • “It is all in your head.”
  • “You are being too sensitive.”
  • “You should try harder to socialize.”
  • “Everyone feels anxious sometimes.”
  • “You are making a big deal out of nothing.”

In conclusion, supporting someone with social anxiety requires patience, empathy, and understanding. By avoiding criticism, encouraging them to push outside their comfort zone, and validating their experiences, we can create a supportive environment conducive to their well-being. 

By offering practical support, celebrating their successes, and reframing their thoughts, we can empower them to overcome their anxiety and thrive in social situations. 

In my journey with social anxiety, I have faced many challenges that have tested my resilience and determination. There have been moments when the thought of any social situation seemed so frightening, and I have often felt paralyzed by fear and self-doubt. 

My biggest champions have been those who have encouraged me to keep pushing forward, even when I felt like giving up. 

Rather than pushing me to conform to societal expectations or dismissing my feelings, they validated my experiences and offered nonjudgmental support, even by letting me know where they would be without pressuring me to attend. 

Let us create a culture of compassion and acceptance where individuals with social anxiety feel valued, understood, and supported on their journey toward healing and growth. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those struggling!

Cunha, M., Soares, I., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2008). The role of individual temperament, family and peers in social anxiety disorder: A controlled study. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology , 8 (3), 631-655.

DiBartolo, P. M., & Hofmann, S. G. (Eds.). (2014). Social anxiety: Clinical, developmental, and social perspectives . Elsevier.

Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M. (1997). Social anxiety . Guilford Press.

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Causes of OCD

Causes of OCD


  1. Social Anxiety Treatment

    does presentation help social anxiety

  2. presentation tips for anxiety

    does presentation help social anxiety

  3. Social Anxiety

    does presentation help social anxiety

  4. Social Anxiety Disorder PowerPoint Template

    does presentation help social anxiety

  5. How to support someone with social anxiety

    does presentation help social anxiety

  6. Social Anxiety Disorder PowerPoint Template

    does presentation help social anxiety


  1. The Anxiety behind Uni Group Presentations🫠

  2. Social Anxiety: 4 Tips for More Comfortable Eye Contact

  3. What is required for a social anxiety diagnosis?

  4. Podcast #76: What is social anxiety and how do we stop it?

  5. Try this next time you're having social anxiety

  6. How to deal with presentation stress and anxiety #shorts


  1. Don't Let Anxiety Sabotage Your Next Presentation

    Takers tend to have more anxiety. They want and need validation from their listeners. ... incorporate your findings into you presentation. This will help you shift your focus outwards, from ...

  2. Speech Anxiety: Public Speaking With Social Anxiety

    Public speaking anxiety may be diagnosed as SAD if it significantly interferes with your life. This fear of public speaking anxiety can cause problems such as: Changing courses at college to avoid a required oral presentation. Changing jobs or careers. Turning down promotions because of public speaking obligations.

  3. How to Overcome Social Anxiety: 8 Techniques & Exercises

    Manage breathing. Engage in breathing exercises before delivering the speech. As mentioned earlier, slowing down breathing is a simple yet powerful way to downregulate the body. When feeling those familiar anxiety symptoms before giving a speech, practice slow, deep breaths.

  4. 8 Ways to Deliver a Great Presentation (Even If You're Super Anxious

    It's likely about a fear of public humiliation rather than of public speaking. Shift the spotlight from yourself to what you have to say. Reject the voice in your head trying to destroy your ...

  5. 18 Strategies to Ease Social Anxiety

    Compassionate Self-Parenting. Think of the anxious part of yourself as a young child, and try speaking to the anxiety like you'd speak to a child you care about. Ask yourself if it's anxiety ...

  6. Fear of public speaking: How can I overcome it?

    Imagine that your presentation will go well. Positive thoughts can help decrease some of your negativity about your social performance and relieve some anxiety. Do some deep breathing. This can be very calming. Take two or more deep, slow breaths before you get up to the podium and during your speech. Focus on your material, not on your audience.

  7. How to overcome presentation anxiety: 15 mindful techniques

    Controlled breathing exercises can help you manage immediate symptoms of presentation anxiety. Practice deep, slow breathing techniques regularly, especially before your presentation, and try some mindfulness techniques too. This can help lower your heart rate, reduce shaking, and promote a sense of calm. 4.

  8. Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

    Social anxiety disorder can be a chronic mental health condition, but learning coping skills in psychotherapy and taking medications can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others. ... giving a speech in public or making an important work presentation may trigger symptoms for the first time. Having an appearance ...

  9. Public Speaking Anxiety: What It Is, Signs, and More

    Some psychological symptoms you might have include: feelings of intense worry and nervousness. fear, stress, and panic in public speaking situations. feelings of dread and fear before speaking in ...

  10. How to Manage Your Anxiety When Presenting

    Matt Abrahams: Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations A Stanford lecturer explains key ways you can better plan, practice, and present your next talk. 655 Knight Way

  11. 12 Powerful Ways to Help Overcome Social Anxiety

    Something that feels terrifying at first will gradually feel better each time. 9. Find social situations and engage. Make a conscious effort to be more social. Actively look for supportive social ...

  12. Public Speaking and Social Anxiety

    However, whether it is giving a formal presentation to an audience or asking our boss for a raise, being comfortable speaking in public is an important skill to learn. Change is Possible. ... How to Get Help for Social Anxiety. The National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC) is an association of independent Regional Clinics and Associates throughout ...

  13. You Can Do Public Speaking Even When You Have Social Anxiety

    If they can do it, anyone can do it! I'll share some of my tips on how you can manage your social anxiety before a speech or presentation for it not to interfere with your performance.

  14. PDF Top 10 Tips for Managing Presentation Anxiety*

    beyond your presentation, you will be less anxious during the presentation. 2 3 Use techniques that create an expanded present moment where you do not think about future consequences. Listen to music, do physical activity, say a tongue twister, play a video game. 4 Take a slow, deep inhalation through your nose and fill your lower abdomen. Slowly

  15. 22 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before a Speech or Presentation

    7. Burn Off Energy by Doing Some Cardio. Moving your body and getting your heart pumping also releases endorphins which can help quell any pre-presentation anxiety. I've been known to do a few fast-walking laps around a conference centre to reduce the stress I feel before I deliver a speech or presentation.


    The fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 40%* of the population. The underlying fear is judgment or negative evaluation by others. Public speaking anxiety is considered a social anxiety ...

  17. Manage Presentation Anxiety to Become Confident Public Speaker

    Tips and techniques to manage presentation anxiety and help stop the fear of public speaking shared by public speaking coach Janice Tomich. About; Services. ... is considered a social anxiety disorder. More people don't want to be front and centre than do. Across the spectrum, glossophobia (fear of public speaking) touches. Read More Contact ...

  18. Social Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Tests, Causes & Treatments

    Physical and physiological symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include: Blushing, sweating, shaking or feeling your heart race in social situations. Feeling very nervous to the point of feeling nauseated in social situations. Not making much eye contact when interacting with others.

  19. How To Not Be Nervous for a Presentation: 19 Tips That Work

    Exercise before the presentation. Exercising before making your presentation is a great way to alleviate nervous tension and get your blood flowing. Exercise will allow you to work through the stress and anxiousness so you arrive at your presentation refreshed and calmer. 18. Practice confident body language.

  20. Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

    Although social anxiety disorder generally requires help from a medical expert or qualified psychotherapist, you can try some of these techniques to handle situations that are likely to trigger symptoms: Learn stress-reduction skills. Get physical exercise or be physically active on a regular basis. Get enough sleep.

  21. Beating Presentation Anxiety: 5 Steps to Speak Confidently

    Practice deep breathing exercises before stepping onto the stage to calm those nerves. Besides deep breathing, adopting power poses backstage can significantly boost your confidence levels. Although it may sound crazy, this is a tip from social psychologists that has helped many speakers take control of their anxiety.

  22. Presentation Anxiety: How to Overcome Stage ...

    Basically, any of these presentation software tools can help you to quickly create a visually stunning presentation; all without having to speak in front of the class. They utilize audio, video, and/or animation to create informative videos that get the point across even more effectively than conventional presentations.

  23. PDF Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Social Anxiety Disorder

    [email protected]; 202-244-0903. National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC): Chair, cofounder, NSAC DC representative (2014-present). Founder of Social Anxiety Help: psychotherapist in private practice, Washington, DC (1990-present). Has led >90 social anxiety CBT groups, 20 weeks each. Has provided individual or group CBT for.

  24. Social anxiety disorder: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

    A range of medications can help people manage the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. The three main types are antianxiety medications, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. The sections below will ...

  25. Should We Force Shy Kids to Do Class Presentations?

    " For kids without social anxiety disorder who have a more moderate fear of class presentations, teachers could do a modified version of this graduated introduction to the concept ...

  26. 6 Signs You Might Have Social Anxiety

    With social anxiety disorder, you'll stress about being judged by others, humiliated, or embarrassed to the point where it becomes extremely difficult to engage in everyday situations like prepping for a work meeting, making small talk at the office, eating lunch with a friend, or making new friends, per the DSM-5-TR. That can make existing among other people, even people you don't know or ...

  27. 7 Common Types of Anxiety Disorders

    An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that involves intense feelings of fear or worry. Different types of anxiety disorders affect millions of Americans. For example, 15 million U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder, and 6 million experience panic disorder. Anxiety disorders can ...

  28. How To Support Someone With Social Anxiety: 9 Tips

    Listen reflectively: Repeat back what the person has said to show that you understand and validate their experiences. For example, "It sounds like you are feeling really anxious about the upcoming social event.". Use Empathetic Responses: For instance, "I can see how that situation would make you feel anxious.