What to do for speech

Hi guys.

Looking for a few opinions or anybody that has been in the same situation.

Have always been a minor / moderately anxious person but have been able to control it.
I have had to make speeches in my previous job maybe 4 times a year for 5 years and again was always a small bit shaken but managed it.

Problem started last week when I had to make a speech. I got up and went weak, could hear my heart thumping and voice shaking. I tried to calm myself down but went into a frenzy to the point of no longer being able to speak and had to leave it mid speech. It was after it I realized this was a full blown panic attack.

Now my employer being very fair in this instance (unlike them) are to give me another go this week and just put the last event down to illness.

I went to the doctor and he gave me 30 X 10mg propranolol and gave me a lecture on the dosage (to
Summarize: he’s not sure what dose it will take to work for me or weather or not it will actually work but to try a few before re hand to gauge the effect on me.

I took 3 (30mg) and did feel a grand of bit calmer an hour later but for obvious reasons it’s hard to judge if it’s working when I’m sitting at home
In a relaxed environment.

Now I’m paranoid that the same thing is going to happen when I do the speech again. I don’t mind the mental anxiety for this but Need to control the physical.

Do I put my trust in the propranolol and drive on or do I Cancel the speech which lead to embarrassment and a big dent in my career (which will happen anyway if I do have a repeat of last week)

I’m doing all the breathing and relaxing techniques but ya.... ye know yer selves.

Any opinions appreciated

Thanks for reading
Hi Amc88,

I think meds can help in this situation, but I think it comes more down to how you believe things will go before hand. If you go in believing the same thing is going to happen, then it probably will. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other side of that coin though, I think if you go into very prepared and with a positive, confident attitude, having a good presentation is definitely in the cards. I know that's easier said than done, but I definitely think it's possible.

If it was me, I would familiarize myself with my meds first. I'd go out into situations that make me feel the same as I do during speeches, and see how it effects me. It won't be a magic pill, but it should help. I'd also practice the speech over and over, until I feel like I know it inside and out. My anxiety disappears when I go into something knowing, more or less, exactly how everything will go. It gives me control over the situation, and it makes me comfortable.

Good luck to you, I hope your speech goes well if you decide to give it!
I used to have these problem while addressing inmates in the morning for regarding their scheduled routine for the day. I would stammer over my words every other sentence.

There's a lot of different ways to address a large crowd. One method I used was looking at different parts of the crowd without making direct eye contact with anyone.

...but tbh, the number one method that helped me is visualizing myself a certain way. Personally, iv found that having a good imagination can have a great "placebo effect" on anxiety

Might sound stupid but if you use your imagination a bit you can build your confidence in public speaking/giving speeches . As they say: "Win the crowd" . Just imagine yourself as larger than life.

I just imagine that the crowd sees me somewhat like this. lol

Gladiator speech before battle - YouTube
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Well-known member
i think you should give it another go, people should be very understanding of or having the knowledge of stage fright, they probably have it too and if they're not then they're not for you, you should think about it that way. And if the med helped you a lot when you trialed it then i think it will help you in your presentation, good luck :)


Well-known member
I take my hat off to you for going through this. Ive never really given a speech in my life i think.

From what Ive ever heard about it though is that what can help is to see yourself doing your speech in a positive manner- you just see yourself un-afraid and just say what you need to say.
Im afraid I cant help you much other than Im sure everything will be fine : )

This is a site I always find helpful, perhaps something may help ? :

btw dont take what I said LITERALLY. I meant it more in a figurative sense. Like , dont carry a sword with you up to the podium.

That would be kind of funny though if someone gave a speech and then threw a sword into the crowd like: "Are you not entertained!!!"

ok sorry. I'll stop now.
Just reading this and wondering if you made the speech and how it went??

For anyone else reading, I concur with a couple of other posters about imagining a different persona for yourself when you're nervous and about to speak to a crowd. It's still you, but it's the best you, the confident you, the you that is going to dominate and wow that crowd!

Preparation is also vital, very few people can do off the cuff speeches so make sure you a) ask yourself what message you want to get across to the audience and b) practice. Point a) is very important because too many people when they're nervous put together a safe powerpoint and slog their way through just hoping to get to the other end unscathed. The crowd is something to be ignored... But what if the crowd was genuinely interested in what you had to say, and you genuinely had something interesting to say to them? Ask yourself, what can I tell this group of people that will add value to them and build your presentation from there. At the very least, it will make you more invested and passionate about what you're going to present because it suddenly has value and meaning.

Also, if you can, get into the room beforehand (i mean days before, not minutes) and acclimatize. Stand where you're going to stand and get a feel for the room, positively visualizing the future scene unfolding. It will feel more familiar when show time comes around.

And finally, the next time I give a speech I'm going to try a tip I heard recently from Jordan Peterson and that is, when you're presenting don't present to the whole crowd. Because yes, that's nerve wracking and not something we humans do very often. Instead, focus on one person for a few seconds and address them, before moving on to another face in the crowd and addressing them and so on. The idea being that we humans are far more used to conversing one on one. I thought it was quite a powerful idea.

Oh and finally, start your presentation with some crowd involvement if you can. The crowd arrive expecting that they don't have to do anything but sit there and listen, relax etc. But if you make them do something straight away, it takes them by surprise and out of their comfort zone. It works because a) you've taken control of proceedings and b) they are now just as conscious of themselves as you *were* of yourself.

Finally, finally! This is way longer than I expected... don't try and shut the nerves down! Worse thing you can do! Panicking about your heart beating out of your chest, thinking about the sweat accumulating under your armpits will only result in.... more panic! Instead... acknowledge that you're nervous, let it sit beside you, it's perfectly normal... and at the same time acknowledge that you're also intelligent, articulate, mature and all the other good traits you have that will see you through this. The nerves can't consume you if you only give them a small space to operate within.


Well-known member
I think best advice is to realise that, social phobia or not, every single person is nervous when they have to make a speech. So people will not think its weird when you are. Allow yourself to be scared and stutter. It's ok. I've seen it many times at school, work, funerals, weddings, parties.... Seemingly confident people who change into scared, stuttering human beings :)

I used to be very scared myself until one time we had a social skills class and everybody had to do a random presentation in front of class and a camera. After each speech the video was played back and everyone could give feedback. And literally everyone was relieved when they saw back their own presentation. Turns out that it feels much worse in your head than on film.

So my advice is to allow yourself to be scared (since it's normal to be in such situation) and maybe videotape yourself sometime while doing a presentation. You'll see it's much better than you think.
Hi guys.

First thanks for the replies and apologies for not replying sooner.

Basically circumstances changed that week and I didn’t have to do a repeat of the full speech (yes I did chicken out a small bit and help facilitate their decision). BUT I did a lot of thinking about it and don’t regret it, I figured it could be a bad idea to jump straight back into the deep end and risk it happening again so I came up with a plan that I would purposely put myself in similar but smaller scale positions over the following months.

So the result was that the propranolol definitely does work. I have been in several smaller situations since the initial episode and managed fine. 50mg about an hour before seemed to hit the spot. No rapid heart, no shaky voice etc.
confidence is back a bit now, just had to adjust my lifestyle a bit to help too, no alcohol the days leading up, no stimulants that day, a bit of excersise before etc.

So thanks again for the replies!