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How to Avoid Hyperventilating When Public Speaking


Many people have an extreme fear of public speaking. A person may fear he will become tongue-tied and forget what he was saying. He may think people will laugh at him. This fear is a legitimate problem, causing some people to experience panic attacks at the mere thought of public speaking. A panic attack can lead to hyperventilation, which is basically the body breathing in excess of what it needs. However, there is hope for those afflicted with the fear of public speaking. You can apply several simple methods to help you become comfortable with public speaking and prevent the threat of hyperventilation.

Write a list containing situations you fear may happen during the speech. For instance, if you fear your voice will become dry, write this down. Then write a way to solve this problem, such as taking a slow sip of water or taking a few deep breaths. This exercise helps you see how your fears can easily be overcome. Hopefully, you will also realize that you will not suffer life-threatening consequences by giving a speech. As Steve Tobak, managing partner of Invisor Consulting LLC, stated, "The point is you're not going to die or lose your loved ones."

Perform breathing exercises. Learn proper breathing before giving a speech so that you will lessen any chances of hyperventilation. Learn to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Practice breathing in this way, so that you are completely comfortable with this breathing method.

Practice the speech every night. Know your subject inside and out, so you are comfortable the day of the speech. Try to practice every night for at least a week before the speech.

Give the speech to friends or family, if possible. Speak in front of one person at first. Then try to give the speech to several people at once. The idea is to get accustomed to speaking in front of people.

Visualize yourself giving the speech. See yourself giving the speech in a calm and confident manner. Visualize the audience applauding. Try to take some time to visualize every night.

Breathe deeply during the speech. Employ the method above to breathe, but if you start to panic, and you feel yourself breathing faster, pause for a few seconds and take a sip of water if available. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply, then start the speech where you left off.

About the Author

Melissa Morang began writing professionally in 2002. She has created sales scripts for telemarketing companies and contributes to online publications. Morang has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Minnesota.

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  • confident businessman image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com