Bite That Quivering Lip: Speech Anxiety and Me

Do you feel nauseous when facing an audience? Do you shy away from the glare of the spotlight? I do! Try as I might I cannot stop the dreadful shudder down my spine when I have to speak to an audience of mostly adults. It’s strange that I have absolutely no inhibitions when the audience constitutes of my students. There I feel like the reigning happy queen and words flow like magic. My mentor says it is because I subconsciously feel I can intimidate them whereas I probably don’t believe I can do that with others, but I am not really sure about it.

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People who do not suffer from speech anxiety probably have no idea what it feels like when red hot churning fear spirals from the pit of your tummy to your throat and strangles your attempt to speak. The feeling of nervousness and overpowering panic fills every inch of your body and the only thing you are painfully aware of are those eyes that you want so much to run and hide from.

The best part about this whole deal though is that no matter how badly I shiver or how stubbornly my limbs threaten to buckle under me, I mostly insist on standing my ground and facing people in a group whenever required. I did walk back from an entire school audience once  after my voice just refused to squirm out in tune for a birthday song I was supposed to deliver. It was a disaster because as ridiculous as it might seem I kept trying to sing again holding the mike and moving back into the audience, but my voice just choked out on me.  My principal made me sing again after a few days and in that instance it went rather well…..My chest did feel like it might explode any moment but I did survive to tell the tale.

I refuse to let an opportunity to speak out pass me by because some strange wiring in my head makes me phobic. What could be the worst case scenario, I would probably stumble over my words, repeat the same sentences over again or because of my numbed senses, forget why I am standing there in the first place. I think it’s really fine to have a few such incidents in life where things don’t really go the way we expect them to. We all have those embarrassing moments which we feel so terrible about at that precise moment, but years down the line we chuckle over them and even willingly share them over dinner table banter.

speechI think this anxiety of speaking in front of large groups mostly stems from being too self-conscious. There is also the underlying dread of others judging you or comparing you and some people probably feel ill equipped and underestimate their own potential to deliver something worthwhile. Whatever the reasons, we end up losing some really good opportunities in life. Even if it is not a major breakthrough event in your life where speaking up would escalate you to sure success, the tiny achievement of being able to win over your fear would definitely boost your self-esteem. I feel like a winner every time I add one of those invisible “Done That Badges” on my chest.

These fears are real and have obvious physiological effects. If we recognize and acknowledge it then it takes us a step closer to finding a solution to it. What I usually do is to prepare myself really well, pray ardently, do some breathing exercises and indulge in some pep talking in my head. And if it’s an impromptu speaking opportunity, well, maybe another funny feather in my cap. I would rather try, than fail to make an effort. Come to think of it, a little bit of anxiety is actually a good trigger, makes one work more diligently on the preparation part.

Do you suffer from speech anxiety? What helps you to overcome your fears? Do let me know, maybe you have a solution up your sleeve that might help others.

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41 thoughts on “Bite That Quivering Lip: Speech Anxiety and Me

  1. robin masshole mommy

    I have no problem speaking in front of people NOW, but when I took public speaking in college I wanted to curl up in a corner and die.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thecoffeemom0617

    I always really enjoyed speaking in front of people. I have a few friends though who have always hated it, to the point of getting sick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Afthab

    Really if you would write this before, I would be 1st person to give my name fo doing MC in clg😀now I am more confident to handle any clients. …

    with best regards,
    Afthab

    Liked by 1 person

  4. natalielovesbeauty

    This is me to a T. You explained it very well. Giving presentations back when I was in school terrified me – not the best memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mehtab

    A perfect write up, totally underlining the treacherous moments a nervous wreck like me goes through when I have to talk in front of an audience or a group of people. So now I know that I am not the lone soul on this boat.
    But we need to overcome our fears though however beastly they appear, because it is this fear that stops us from taking a step forward. We need to fear only God & no one else. So next time
    however hard my heart beats in the throat or my voice turns hoarse or I start stumbling on my words I will stand my ground & face the crowd diligently with the faith in God that “I Can Do It”
    Thanks for your insight & suggestions in handling such situations.
    A great article…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had a terrible fear of speaking to crowds all the way through HS but then I joined the Army and it became part of my duties. Since then I don’t put much thought into the size of the crowd and only into what I want to discuss with them. I have plenty to be insecure about but I choose not to think about that as it would only reinforce an unreasonable fear.

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  7. I guess i needed this…I don’t speak much either in public or private lol. I use to be a chatter box back in my college days but now I don’t know why …I can only speak with my family and husband . I don’t feel that need to go talk to the people. But yea am comfortable in texting lol

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  8. Grishma

    So well written and rhetorically powerful thought dii….. I love taking over the stage for all u knw the attention u get 😉 but then my confident nature remains only till d time I knw that they are either one level below me or tantamount the level where I am …coz I know what I will be telling them is wat they will b grabbing as an Information however my spines shiver wen the same thing has to be delivered to higher officials coz u Neva knw whoz judging u on wat …..n wen that awaited stare of moment pounces with questions which is difficult to answer n trust me that’s the sadest phase wen u dnt knw wat to say… I hate that moment.. having said that the remedy I use before such conferences n meeting is to be well prepared with all the topics ,that is to b delivered…. rehearse it well in front of the mirror n to think that .. “what u will be putting out is wat they will be taking in” to learn from u… (P.S. To Learn those topics … M no saint😋)

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  9. Grishma

    And to add to those statement I not an extrovert …. M a big time introvert wen it cums to talking to people individually so u need be someone who is extremely outspoken n loud .. instead I believe it’s all about confidence n aura that u carry….. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am shy when talking to a crowd but I have managed to overcome my shyness from time to time. There are times that I can say an excuse. When I have to introduce myself to a lot of people, I get really nervous. I just tell myself that it will be fine always.

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  11. I also hate speaking in front of a crowd of people so my solution is that I just don’t do it! I think it is something that I am going to have to address in the future with my dreams of starting my own business. But if it’s something I feel passionate about then it makes it easier to speak. My husband also fears public speaking so has joined a toastmasters club and has his first introductory speech next week which he is very nervous about.

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  12. Anwar khan

    By reading your article I remember my school days when I was selected for a small role in drama . I could not say anything by looking at the audience. That is stage fear but by and by I developed the courage and acted in numerous plays. Your articles generally takes us to our past sweet and sour memories. Gives full informations , hidden advises, good Morales and best knowledge. ..awaiting. for more in future.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Manal Soherwardy

    Woah! This article resonates with me on so many levels! The point is to keep on trying no matter I guess. Fall seven times, stand up eight 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always hated making speeches or presentations, but I managed to force my way through it. I’m glad you manage to overcome your fears/anxiety and try to do it – sorry about your voice not being on the same page though!

    | diaryofasouthernmillennial.com

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  15. Elizabeth O.

    I used to hate speaking in public. It’s one of the things that terrify me greatly. What I did was I challenged myself so that I would be better at it. It’s not like that for everyone, of course, we all have different experiences with public speaking, I truly admire people who make an effort to be better.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this! It’s nice that you never give up and never turn down a chance to speak in public. Sure, it’s pretty scary and nerve wracking but it will feel so much better when you do it instead of turning it down.

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  17. Maqsood Patvi

    Although speaking in front of audience is scary which also results in nervousness but it is all about confidence and how much knowledge you have or a command over the subject you are going to talk about. Only solution is to be well prepared before addressing people .

    Liked by 1 person

  18. agentizerozerosetter

    I always try to speak in front of people. In the past I was more anxious, but now no more. I think because I am more conscious about myself, I know myself very well and I can control me!

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