Anxiety and nervousness in public speaking

  1. Hi
    I just completed ACLS instructor course and it was grueling. I passed but am disappointed with myself. I was so nervous. Really NERVOUS! And it involved presenting information that I know well... but when I felt unprepared and "on the spot" I got extremely nervous and flustered. I got so nervous that my hands shook and my voice quivered. I am really embarrassed of myself. I use to have extreme anxiety about "public speaking" but have since been working hard on it and doing well teaching cardiac rehab classes and CPR classes. But today, I feel like I went all the way back to zero. I was so nervous and anxious that I was trembling all the way home (50 minutes) then when I got home ... I felt "brain dead". I thought, "this is the kind of thing which gives people MI's". What should I do with my nervousness? I feel it may ruin my career. Do you think I should ask my doctor for Xanax? I'm really embarrassed about it. But I hate being that nervous. Any helpful insight? Do you think Xanax would help? Should I be embarrassed about asking for it? And what if my work does a random drug test? I would be so embarrassed about telling them. Thanks for your advice. Karen
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    About karenrndmc

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 13


  3. by   ClariceS
    Congrats on passing the instructor course! I will lend a couple tips that helped me. I didn't gain these from a book or a course (although Toastmasters gives great tips on public speaking) but from experience in front of people.
    1. Remember, in front of the crowd, you are the expert. They came to learn what you know, not to critique how you give the information.
    2. Unless the people you are teaching are different from most groups I have taught, the worst thing they would do is walk out. They're not going to throw things at you or heckle you ( you're not planning on political speeches, are you?).
    3. Sometimes starting off with a joke or something lighthearted will relax both you and the audience. I remember my first class learning ACLS and the instructor had us all chanting "Shock, shock, shock. Everybody, shock. Little, shock. Big, shock. Everybody, shock." This not only broke the ice but to this day reminded me of the algorhythm she wanted us to remember.
    4. Then, of course, practice, practice, practice. No little tricks fully help unless you are putting them to work. Practice in front of mirrors, family, and co-workers. Put together small group teaching if you can, and sit down to teach them. This is relaxed and gives you more practice. Also if the setting allows for it, use a stool when in front of a crowd. That definitely relaxes me because it isn't so formal.

    Good luck with your continued teaching!
  4. by   karenrndmc
    Thank you for your kind words and advice. I should probably get the Xanax idea out of my head. Maybe I can try hypnotism or relaxation techniques. Karen

  5. by   hollykate
    No need for Xanax, I think. I used to give talks to huge amounts of people before I became a nurse. Seems like you got nervous because it was new content you were "doing". Try it again soon, and I thinkit will go better, What I did was to concentrate for the first 10-15 min on someone or two people who actually seemed intent on listening.
  6. by   MollyJ
    I have never taken ACLS instructor, but I do remember how overwhelming regular ACLS; it's just a full day. You need to get some perspective and realize that in your tired, over stimulated mind, this day was a little larger than life. Like Hollykate said, as you become more and more comfortable with what you are supposed to say, it will flow better. Frankly, I don't think a little relaxation technique would be all bad.
    Good luck and be nice to your self
  7. by   p.rabbit

    As a similar sufferer of the public speaking syndrome nervosa, one of the best things you can do is to join ToastMasters. I am sure you can find a local chapter. It is the BEST, non threatening place to practice your crowd pleasing skills. I joined about a year ago and won't ever regret it. Good luck!

  8. by   mustangsheba
    Congratulations! ACLS is scary even for physicians. You were just overwrought. You'll do better when you've done it a couple of times. Think of the first couple of times you started an IV. Hypnosis would be great since it could calm you as well as help you access the material more effectively. You can do it yourself. This is not something for which you want to resort to Xanax I think.