02 May Should I take fear of public speaking medication?
1. Medication can reduce the uncomfortable physiological signs of nervousness (heart rate increase, sweating, shakiness).
Three other approaches: learning effective presentation skills, controlling breathing, and developing helpful thinking patterns are proven non-medical strategies.
2. Beta blockers, originally developed to control cardiac problems, are often effective and can usually be prescribed on an as needed basis.
Beta blockers inhibit the flow of adrenaline in the body, reducing the physical symptoms of the stress response. Your physician will help you decide whether medication is the best route for you, and can review any potential side effects.
It is often recommended that you try out the prescribed medication within a month before presenting. Additionally, stay away from alcohol and marijuana for at least a day before the talk. You may be more relaxed, but you likely won’t be a better speaker.
3. Consider a wellness routine including a healthy diet and exercise. Avoid caffeine, as it may increase your heart rate and creamy food, which can make your mouth and throat area feel sticky. Keep yourself hydrated and get enough sleep. If finances permit, indulge yourself with massage. Some massage therapists can even help relax face and jaw muscles.
4. Keep in mind that even helpful medication will not make you a better presenter. Find a class or a coach to add to your toolkit of best practices.
The most important skills to learn include how to prepare and practice, how to engage your listeners, and best practices in oral and nonverbal techniques.
5. Make sure you consult with the right type of professional. Physicians who have experience with speech and performance anxiety, along with a speech and communication coach, would be ideal. Your physician can help you decide if medication will be helpful, and your coach will help you to become a better presenter.
The good news is that speaking fears can be overcome and fear of public speaking medication may not be needed!