With an audience : Is it a normal... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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With an audience

ohaley profile image

Is it a normal response to shy away from people , feel anxiety when working in front of or having to explain, teach, show others job related tasks? I have a terrible time with this. I always seem to work better by myself. I always tend to let the others lead when in a group, etc. I seem so preoccupied with how good or bad I am explaining myself, that I don’t seem to explain myself very good. Trip up on words and such, can’t think of the right thing to say? Sound familiar to anyone?

6 Replies
Hidden profile image

Hi Ohaley,I suffer with this too. For me, when I’m anxious and am called upon to speak, I feel like my mouth moves faster than my brain and I almost get lost. I get so overwhelmed that I forget what I even said! So later reflecting on my situation I feel like a total flop.

I’ve read it’s because we don’t have good working memory. We are impulsive speakers so once cortisol (our stress hormone) is increased it’s almost like working off a blank slate. The cortisol makes us want to flight or flight and our brain can focus. The best course of action is to find ways to stay calm and I’ve read that keeping something literally in hand (a paper clip or a fidget spinner) can help this. I hope this info helps you.

ohaley profile image
ohaley in reply to Hidden

This does help, great advise, thanks!

If you’re having to teach / present something, have you made notes or a script of what to say beforehand? Even if it’s bullet points, they may help. Then have a pen which you can place on your notes / script to ensure you don’t lose your place when you’ve been looking at your audience or answering a question

Another thing to consider is if you’re expected to regularly teach / present, could you have assertiveness lessons, or tuition to increase your confidence. Have someone rehearse your presentations to (someone you trust), to help improve it.

Yes, yes, YES!!! It is also normal to love any opportunity to talk in front of large groups of people without or without preparation.

My opinion is that whatever, whoever, and however we are is normal FOR THAT PERSON, based on THEIR LIFE & EXPERIENCES TO DATE.

The yelling caps are to make a point: we are what we have thought, done, heard, said, and felt from our first conscious and unconscious memory: no two of us are alike, no two of us have identical resources or viewpoints or skills because we are all working with individualized toolboxes.

A better question might be, "Do you want to be effective at talking to people and demonstrating on the job tasks?" If you do, either because you just want to be good at it or you have to do it as part of a job or responsibility you have agreed to perform, then you can learn and unlearn a few things.

1. Learn what is getting in your way.

2. Determine if these obstacles are physical (a stutter might make me feel self-conscious) or mental/emotional based on cognitive distortion (I think everyone is judging me when I talk).

3. Work to improve the actual obstacles (perhaps speech therapy and talk therapy or EMDR to eliminate the sources of your mental, emotional, or behavioral anxiety) and talk therapy or coaching to disprove those things that are based on comparing my insides to other people's outsides.

I recently completed a series of EMDR sessions with an adult client who (through 2 sessions of this therapy technique) realized her anxiety about speaking in public was based on an unconscious memory of her kindergarten teacher telling her parents she would never be intellectual! She did not remotely remember that she overheard that conversation all those decades before and once she realized how VERY untrue it was (she is a PhD candidate at a prestigious school), her anxiety and fear literally disappeared!

It is NOT always that fast, but we all have wonderful and terrible things competing inside: the key is to follow the serenity prayer: accept the things we cannot change, change the things we can, and know the difference.

Good luck and God bless!

ohaley profile image
ohaley in reply to MtMan

Thank you very much for your post, I am going back to my doc next week and will talk to her about getting a referral for more counseling, has been about 8 years since last session. Feel as though I am ready to take the next steps, very thankful for this group!

Yes very much. My entire life

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