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4 Tips To Help Your Teen Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

Public Speaking Anxiety

Public speaking can be a daunting task for individuals of all ages, but for teenagers with anxiety disorders, the fear of speaking in front of a crowd can be particularly overwhelming.

Whether they must give a presentation in school, participate in extracurricular activities, or prepare for future professional endeavors, developing effective public speaking skills is essential for their personal and academic growth.

As a parent, you play a crucial role in supporting and guiding your teen through this journey. Learn four invaluable tips to help your teen overcome public speaking anxiety and gain confidence on the stage.

1. Practice

Encourage your teen to seek out opportunities to interact with an audience actively to help them conquer a public speaking phobia. Get them to talk about what they read or learned in class at home.

Get them to break down the impact of a certain historical event or the book’s appeal by asking them how and why questions. If they only give you short replies, try to get them to expand by asking them to describe what they mean.

Give your teen plenty of time for rehearsal and preparation if they have a presentation coming up. Get them to practice in the presence of a mirror or with encouraging loved ones to boost their self-assurance.

They can also find helpful advice and encouragement in a safe environment by joining a group. Practice reciting the speech from memory without looking at the notes.

2. Positive Feedback and Affirmation

Support and optimism can help your teen combat public speaking anxiety. Reassure your adolescent that you are constantly rooting for them and that development, not perfection, is the aim.

In addition, stress the importance of your teen coming at the assignment with a positive frame of mind. Inspire your teenager with your own positive outlook by setting a good example. Explain to them that anxiety is normal, but to channel that nervous energy into excitement instead.

Share some affirmations of hope with your teen. For example, phrases such as I have faith in myself and I know I can do anything I put my mind to are positive self-talk. Post these encouraging words on a whiteboard, or read them aloud to your teen first thing in the morning.

Lastly, compliment your adolescent on the work they have put into improving their public speaking skills. Your encouragement and support, together with some practice, can help your child overcome their nervousness about public speaking.

3. Stage Management

Avoid the urge to speak for your child. Instead, invite them to explain their thoughts. Ask your teen for examples of the topics they will discuss, and refrain from asking for clarification until the end of their presentation.

Additionally, encourage your child to create a no back-channel rule, which requests audience members not to use their electronic devices while they present their topics. By doing so, you will both help to create an atmosphere more conducive to a fear-free presentation.

4. Self-Presentation and Awareness

Your adolescent has to be well-prepared but also well-attired for the event. Make sure they find out from the proper authority what the dress code is. Overdressing is preferable to underdressing if one is uncertain about what to wear.

Tell your teen to watch their posture and gestures as they talk. They should stand erect, with their feet apart, while facing the audience. They should not slouch or cross their legs in any way.

They should speak with both hands in front of them, palms upwards, and over their waistline as much as possible. Remind them that crossed arms are a sign of an insecurity to avoid. They should keep their heads up and neutral rather than cocked to one side.

A counselor can help your teen slowly overcome or manage their anxiety in numerous situations. Contact us at Anxiety Institute for professional help with teens with anxiety and related disorders.

About the Author

Headshot: Stacey Dobrinsky, PhD
Stacey has over ten years of experience treating children and adolescents with OCD and anxiety disorders. She specializes in severe, treatment refractory anxiety and OCD and utilizes a combination of Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her treatment.