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Adrenaline, Euphoria, Recognition

June 9, 2010 fm

(R)-4-(1-hydroxy-2-(methylamino)ethyl)benzene-1,2-diol – also known as Epinephrine or Adrenaline

One of the first questions I ask the attendees of my public speaking seminars is what they feel when they are about to speak in front of – let’s say – 50 people.

Knowing the latest statistical data indicating that public speaking is believed to be the number one fear in the US, it is not a super surprise that the participants, among others, come up with the following list of worries:

  • I am scared!
  • I am nervous!
  • I might forget parts of my speech!
  • Will I fulfill the expectations?
  • I will be perceived as a clown!

After they unloaded their freight of preoccupation, I tend to ask them: “Don’t you feel anything positive when you are about to speak to those 50 people?”

Two minutes later I’ll have added three exciting words to the flip chart paper: adrenaline, euphoria and recognition.

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Public Speaking Is A Bungee Jump For Free

How much money would you pay for a parachute jump? A base jump? A bungee jump? How much money would you be willing to spend on this one big adrenaline kick?

The term “fight or flight” is often used to characterize the circumstances under which adrenaline is released into the body. It is an early evolutionary adaptation to allow better coping with dangerous and unexpected situations. With dilated blood vessels and air passages, the body is able to pass more blood to the muscles and get more oxygen into the lungs in a timely manner, increasing physical performance for short bursts of time. (Check for more information)

I don’t know whether you want to fight or flight when you are about to speak in public. Fact one is: Adrenaline rushes through your veins. Fact two is: You can save a lot of money if you get your adrenaline kicks through public speaking! It’s great!

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Getting Euphoric When You Are Speaking Well

According to Wikipedia euphoria is medically recognized as a mental or emotional state defined as a profound sense of well-being. Euphoria is generally considered to be an exaggerated physical and psychological state, sometimes induced by the use of psychoactive drugs and not typically achieved during the normal course of human experience. However, some natural behaviors, such as activities resulting in orgasm or the triumph of an athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria.

I recommend to add public speaking to that list. My seminar attendees repeatedly confirmed that they were getting euphoric when they realized that their speech went well, especially when the first laughter came in. From personal experience I can say I fully agree.

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The Tapping On Your Shoulder

Who on earth would like to miss that part? After speaking you are sipping on your cup of coffee in the break. Several people from the audience come over to tap you on the shoulder. The moment of recognition. What a great feeling. Aren’t we all seeking for acknowledgment – all the time?

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What About You?

I don’t know about you, but I have made up my mind. An adrenaline kick for free, a euphoric state of mind, being recognized for something that others wouldn’t dare to do… I love it! Just like I tell the participants of my seminars I would like to encourage you too: Free yourself from overrated fears and jump into the pond of adrenaline, euphoria and recognition!

But what about you? What do YOU feel when you are about to speak to – let’s say – 50 people?

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