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Controlling Public Speaking Jitters: Making the Butterflies Fly in Formation

Controlling Public Speaking Jitters: Making the Butterflies Fly in Formation


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Hannah Harvey, PhD, and Neil Baum, MD
 
Nearly every person who has been asked to give a speech or who has volunteered to make a presentation to a group of strangers develops fear and anxiety prior to the presentation. Most of us, the authors included, start hyperventilating, our pulse quickens, and we feel a little weak in the knees. We grab the lectern and our knuckles turn white as we hold on for dear life. This is a normal response that everyone experiences. However, this stress can be controlled and made manageable by understanding the stress response cycle and practicing a few techniques that calm those butterflies flying around in the pit of your stomach.