How to Manage Panic Attacks in Presentations

Managing panic attacks in presentations instead of letting your fear take control over you.

In today’s blog, we will be discovering ways to manage this inner devil.

Amy looked through her notes for the final time before the event started. “It all seems good. I should not fine.”. “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Amy from ABC Company. And it is my pleasure to be your host for this afternoon.”… then a long silence….. Amy started to perspire, and her intestine started to twist, and she felt like vomiting.”

Yes, Amy just suffered a panic attack.  

“I thought I am well-prepared. But why am I still having a panic attack”.

Believe most of us who have attempted to speak at events had such an experience. Are we alone? Absolutely not! Even Hollywood and pop celebrities, which perform numerous times, have experienced it.  

Source: Psych Hub Education

What causes this anxiety and panic attack during speeches, and how can we help ourselves eliminate such incidences from happening?

According to an article written by Medical News Today:

“Panic attacks usually occur without a trigger. Anxiety is a response to a perceived stressor or threat. Panic attacks appear suddenly, while anxiety symptoms become gradually more intense over minutes, hours, or days. Panic attacks usually subside after a few minutes, while anxiety symptoms can prevail for long periods.”

For a person with panic disorder, anxiety may trigger a panic attack. Since anxiety can lead to a panic attack, why not we tackle anxiety as a priority.

Panic Attacks — A Vicious Cycle

An anxiety attack can be a vicious cycle if we do not reverse the cycle. Below is a simple illustration of a vicious negative thought process:

Panic Attacks In Presentations
Panic Attack – A Vicious Cycle

Source: The Vicious Circle Thought Form

Under the Principle of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, when a situation triggers a negative thought, it will cause our body to react negatively, both emotionally and physically:

Negative Emotions Reactions

  • Fear, dread, panic
  • Frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness

Negative Physical Reactions

  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle Tension
  • Sweating blushing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or stomach ache
  • Trembling voice

The two reactions will then lead to behavior to act negatively.  

Methods To Eliminate Negative Thoughts

One key method to eliminate fear and negative thoughts is “self-talk.” Practice positive self-talk to nourish our negative brain. The more you feed your brain with “good thoughts,” it will gain health over time. Here is some “self-talk” that you can use, particularly in public speaking:

  • “It is going to be OK. I have rehearsed many times.”
  • “It is alright to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.”
  • “I will do what I can do best. The rest is secondary.”
  • “I will use this opportunity to gain experience.”
  • “I will do better each time.”
  • “If the boss sees me doing this, he might give me a promotion.” (self-motivation)
  • “I will treat them like kids, no threat at all.”
  • “I’m given this task because the boss knows that I can do it.”
  • “It is OK. The more I practice, the better for me.”
  • “I will stand out among my peers after this presentation.”

In Conclusion

Delivering a presentation doesn’t have to be a scary experience. If you fear public speaking, keep your mindset positive. Acknowledge your fear and manage it. Transform the negative energy into a winning attitude.

In my next blog, I will talk about how we can prepare ourselves to expect the unexpected. Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoy reading this article, and if you have any feedback or suggestions, we welcome your writing in.

Remember to also subscribe to our FREE Voice and Presentation Tips by completing the form here.

If you do like my posts, please feel free to share them!

Have you conquered your inner demon yet?

The Voice Room specialized in providing a practical approach to Voice, Presentation, and Communication Skills Coaching. We help you develop your leadership voice, present, and communicate with confidence as you grow in your career​.

Feel free to Contact Us to know more.

Top 5 Presenters’ Hacks – Expect The Unexpected

Presenters’ Hacks Revealed!

Many times, when we look at speakers on the stage, have you ever think in your mind, wow! They are so good.  They are so confident, so well-prepared and so charismatic. What presenters’ hacks do they have?

Today, I am going to share with you:

Top 5 Presenters’ Hacks

1.     Forget What to Say.  Most new trainers experience butterflies in the stomach when they come to their first few presentations.  Because of that, they tend to speed up their presentation so that they can close the file and move away.

Our thoughts run faster than we speak.  As a result, points got missed out.  And when this happens, new presenters will have a gust of panic and lose it all.  So, don’t panic if you missed the point.  Your audience is not going to know at all.

Just maintain your calm and proceed to the next point.  You can always come back to the point later by saying: “Oh yes, there is an important point that I have missed out earlier, let me bring you back to the slides.”

2.     Looking Nervous.  As a seasoned presenter, feeling nervous on each gig is inevitable, especially you are in a new environment with a group audience with unknown demographics.  When this happens, your mind will start to build the worst scenario that you can think of, such as, “oh dear, so many people looking at me, what if I made mistakes…” or “Will they like the stuff that I present, what if they don’t?” etc.  Feeling nervous is normal due to the hormones cortisol and adrenaline.   Next time, if this happens, transform nervous to energy as if you are on a battlefield.

It is either lives or die.  You might as well give a good fight and live.

3.     Speaking Too FastSpeaking too fast and rambling can be a post-effect of nervousness—your speech speed tally with your heartbeat.  When your heart beats fast, your speech will go fast.  And when you start to ramble, you start to confuse the audience.  So, next time, when you are speaking too fast, slow down your breathing.  This will slow down your heartbeat and thus slowing down your speech.

4.     Audience Playing with Mobile Phones.  Presenters have to keep their eyes on their audience constantly.  Observe their body language.  Most of the time, the body movement and hand gestures send you a message.  Playing and meddling with the mobile phone is contagious.

Presenters' Hacks
No Need To Feel Embarrassed About The Unexpected

If you start seeing some audience to that, you need to interject your presentation with some creative games or exercises or get them to talk about their experience.  Audiences are more receptive to stories.  So, start gathering stories that you can use to combat the audience’s boredom. 

5      Unable to Answer Questions.  When being prob questions that you can’t answer, feeling incompetence is the least thing that should happen.  Although you are not able to answer them now, you can always answer them later by saying: “thank you very much for the great questions.  It is definitely a good source for me to research on.  Let me work on the details, and I will get back to you ____ (give a time frame that you are comfortable with)

In Conclusion

If you are well-prepared for your event, anticipate and visualize the unexpected, you will be able to go through the ordeal.

I hope you enjoy today’s presenters’ hacks. If you have any feedback or suggestions, we welcome your writing in.

If you do like these hacks, please feel free to share them!

Remember to also subscribe to our FREE Voice and Presentation Tips by completing the form here.

Have you tried these hacks before?

The Voice Room specialized in providing a practical approach to Voice, Presentation and Communication Skills Coaching. We help you develop your leadership voice, present and communicate with confidence as you grow in your career​.

Feel free to Contact Us to know more.