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What are the best techniques to show a character panicking as it is seen by the POV character?


So the problem I am having is that the protagonist of the novel I am writing is having a confrontation with another character, who starts panicking. Instead of saying "panic dripped from his face", I am trying to figure out a way to rewrite this so that it shows, not tells, the emotion. This is difficult for me because the story is told from the protagonist's point of view, which means he is observing the panic, not experiencing it himself.

What are the best techniques to "show instead of tell" this character's emotion through the observer's point of view?

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I would name it once.

Have the viewpoint character notice the panic on the other character's face. It can be near the beginning or closer to the middle of the scene. Maybe later. By "scene" I mean the section where the panic is actually happening (which could be late in the actual scene).

Then throw in a few things the character is doing or saying.

  • Body freezing up.
  • Taking a beat or two longer than normal to reply verbally.
  • Taking a little extra time to respond physically (like missing a ball that is thrown).
  • Looking around nervously (or just the eyes).
  • Stammering.
  • Saying things s/he might not normally say, especially things like making promises or suggestions or giving away a minor secret.
  • Signs of stress in the body: red face, sweat, muscles weak, needing to sit down suddenly.
  • Panic also goes together with fear so you can mention fear as well if you wish.
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