Caffeine and Fear of Public Speaking
What a dummy! I should have known better. I was giving a business presentation when my panic started. I felt afraid of speaking. I was anxious and sweating. My heart was racing. What was happening?
Normally I feel excitement when I do a presentation. But this time, I felt a fear of public speaking. I could not believe it. I had done this seminar dozens of times before. I should have felt cool and collected.
Then it struck me! Before my presentation, I had consumed an entire super-sized drink loaded with caffeine. Now the caffeine was kicking in. No wonder I felt my heart racing! I was sweating so badly, an attendee kindly offered a Kleenex to wipe off my forehead!
The caffeine had amplified my normal nervous energy into terror!
How does caffeine add to the fear of public speaking? To the According Mayo Clinic , "Caffeine is a stimulant That can make your heart beat View faster View , Increase your by blood pressure, and cause nervousness and Irritability."
That extra caffeine is terrible when you are already anxious before doing a speech. The adrenaline rush just before going on-stage is enough of a "pick me up" without adding caffeine. Combining caffeine with nervousness results in a feeling of panic.
On stage, I paused by asking the participants to glance at their handouts. I took several slow deep breaths to calm my metabolism so I was able to finish my presentation. But, I never want to repeat that experience again!
So, how much caffeine does an average drink contain? Well, the Mayo Clinic states an 8 oz cup of coffee contains approximately 85 mg of caffeine, a similar sized cup of black tea or green tea contains 40 mg and a 12 oz can of cola contains approximately 35-45 mg of caffeine.
So, learn from my mistake and avoid excessive caffeine before giving a speech. You will feel calmer as a result and help reduce your fear of public speaking.
One final note: If you normally drink coffee, tea or colas, do NOT change your routine on the day of your speech. The effects of sudden caffeine withdrawal (loss of energy, headaches) can also cause problems during your presentation.