Mark - Social Anxiety

Dear Shykids When ever I get up in the class or when ever I am going to meet new people I get highly nervous and my hands start shivering. I don't like to be noticed by people. When ever I come to know that some one is listening to my talk or watching my actions I start shivering. Even being a first rank holder in my college I fear that because of my shivering and stage fear I may not perform well in my campus interviews. I would be attending to interviews right from June'2000. Kindly give some advice and suggest me some books to get rid of shyness and stage fear with-in the short span of time. Waiting for your reply. My age is 19.Iam about to enter into my final year of engineering study.  Mark

Dear Mark, Listed below are three books that address overcoming social anxieties and speaking in public. Each one provides valuable information. Overcoming Stage Fright in Everyday Life gives very practical day-to-day advice, while Anxiety, Phobias and Panic.. gives tips and advice and  encourages the reader to look deeper into one's self to discover the reasons behind the anxiety. We've directed you to amazon.com because you will find a good description of the book with reviews by other readers. If you don't wish to buy from amazon, the listing will at least give you the title, author and publisher so that you can find them in your local bookstore.

You will find many useful points to consider. You may want to think about the following as well:

1. Before your presentation, practice reading it out loud by yourself, several times. Think about what you are reading and decide what parts you want to emphasize. Read it again aloud with the emphasis and see how much better it sounds. Then read it again and again, until the emphasis is no longer uncomfortable, but a natural part of your speech. Remember, the parts of your speech that seemed so important when you wrote them, need to sound that important when you say them. If you practice this enough, you will start to feel the power of your own speech, your own ideas.

2. Assuming that you will know the setting and audience, imagine being in that room before those people while you speak at loud. If you have friends you can read in front of, do that as well.

3. Don't rush. Even though you want to get through this as fast as humanly possible, you must take your time. If you rush, you will forget to breathe which will create more anxiety. Pauses are needed to take breaths, swallow and continue.

4. If you are not making a speech in front of a podium, you may want to consider placing your papers in a binder, rather than just holding on to stapled papers. The weight and the thickness of a binder can often steady hands that might otherwise shake with thin papers between your fingers.

5. The biggest key to feeling more comfortable in front of others, feeling calmer in your own skin, is to focus on things other than people's reactions to what you are saying. The fact is that self-conscious people often misinterpret what people's reactions are. They assume the worst. The next time you are in a group setting and begin to feel self-conscious, really try to stay focused on the conversation, the ideas, your opinions and others, rather than what people may think of you, the shirt you have on or what you look like. 

6. Volunteer. If you have any time at all, try to volunteer at a hospital, hospice center, children's community center, senior's housing, etc...This will help in two ways. First, you will be contributing a valuable service to people who need help. Second, you will gain the confidence of speaking to people who are completely removed from your day-to-day life. You will not feel that they are judging you and because of that, you may learn to feel at ease in the give and take of conversations and social interactions. 

Good luck in school and please let us know how you are doing.

Books:

Overcoming Stage Fright in Everyday Life 
by Joyce Ashley

Getting Over Yourself 
by Barbara Rocha, Luis Zaragoza (Editor), Peter Madary (Illustrator), g Tharler 

Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic : A Step-By-Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life 
by Reneau Z. Peurifoy

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