Taking a SPEECH class online but I have SEVERE social anxiety issues, HELP?

I am terrified of social situations. You might be thinking "everyone gets nervous to do public speaking". No. I am taking a speech class online, thinking it would be easier for me, but apparently not. I have to do a 2-3 minute speech introducing myself and I'm already hyperventilating, shaking, and crying. I'm not joking when I say it terrifies me. This class is MANDATORY for my degree. I don't know what to do. Any advice or ideas?


Most Helpful Girl

  • - Prepare your speech well ahead of time
    - Practice it a bunch. In front of the mirror, or however's comfortable
    - Time yourself when you practice, to get a general idea of how long it will be / how quickly you speak

    The more familiar you are with your speech, the easier things should be. I know it's just a quick introduction speech, but it can't hurt to be prepared. This doesn't necessarily mean memorizing your speech. Memorizing it can do more harm than good, if you forget what to say and panic trying to stick to what you memorized.

    During your speech, try to remind yourself to to go slow, and breathe! There's nothing wrong with taking a small pause if you need it, and a thoughtful pause comes off a lot better than a bunch of uhhs and umms. I know speeches can be really stressful but honestly, people are only so invested in them, and no one's sitting there wanting you to mess up or fail. Above all, just try to relax be yourself!

    • (Ugh, I hate the way answers get chopped off now. Please click on it if you didn't already, I hope it helps a little, I went through pretty much the same thing with my college speech class)

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    • Yeah, one thing that started making me worry is when I was trying to record the speech, I feel like my camera quality isn't good enough and that my introduction is really robotic and lame and I just sort-of worry about everything. Maybe I'll rethink doing it online and wait until fall to take it in person.

    • Yeahh, at the very least, when it comes to doing it in person you don't have to stress over any potential technical issues.

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What Guys Said 3

  • I suggest talking to a therapist or reading about anxiety. I don't think it's something that's going to go away in a month though :( It can really benefit your life to learn to overcome or manage that great though.

    Besides learning how to manage anxiety, you could just look at getting your degree as motivation to get through those few minutes of talking.

  • ugh... stop being nervous... otherwise u won't succeed i;m afraid :(

    • Because you can totally tell someone with depression "just stop being depressed". You think I choose to be like this? It's not fun, believe me.

    • do u take any medication?

  • I took speech in college. It was mostly about relaxation.

    You probably won't say more about yourself in those few straight minutes than you would to a table of friends in a bar or club over the period of, say, 30 mins. The only difference is you'll be saying it all at once. And in case your anxiety is based on them being strangers, remember, all of them are facing strangers as well, one of them being you.

    • Actually, I couldn't go to a bar or club and talk to people. My social anxiety is really bad. My anxiety mostly has to do with people being people. I mean... for this speech, I'm simply recording a video and uploading it, there's literally no pressure of anyone being there and I'm still terrified because I know people are going to see it.

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    • I had a couple different therapists when I was younger. I was sexually abused when I was about 13 years old and it involved a camera, so maybe that has something to do with it. I had these issues before that, but maybe not as bad.

    • Perhaps you feel guilty for what happened at 13, which you are not. Maybe you think people can 'see right through you', which often happens when something shameful happens to us.

What Girls Said 2

  • Do you have a favorite comfort item? When I took a speech class (in person) I took a giant teddy bear that I still have today. I squeezed that thing throughout the entire 5 minute speech and it really did help. If you have something like this, I would recommend using it- or if you don't, then a favorite pillow or anything that you can squeeze onto when you feel your heart beating fast or your breath quickening.

    • That's actually a really good idea, I've never heard that before! I'll definitely try this. Thanks!

  • take deep breaths!