In the process of communication there can be substantial difference between the information that is actually intended to be conveyed by the originator of communication and its recipient. Some part of the information may get not reach the recipient at all, and whatever reaches may be distorted, and may be interpreted by the receiver in a way not intended by the sender of information. This is because of a few poor habits that create obstacles to communication. These obstacles can be avoided with patience and practice, but first they must be identified.
Anxiety disorders are many and diverse, varying from specific phobias to generalized anxiety symptoms caused by stress. One of the most abundant forms of anxiety is communication anxiety, which involves uneasiness and phobic attitudes towards public speaking. For some people this could be anxiety before speaking in front of crowds of 100 people plus, whereas for others just talking to a group of 5 people can be a problem.
Communication anxiety is usually a problem for those whose jobs demand that they give speeches and presentations. Obviously some degree of anxiousness is normal but it can become a hindrance when you are conscious of sweating, not being able to concentrate and having a dry mouth as you speak. There are, however, many ways of overcoming communication anxiety without needing to take tranquilizing medicine to calm you down or avoid the situation completely.
Anxiety is composed of two types: situational and trait. Situational Anxiety often referred to as state anxiety. It refers to anxiety caused by factors present in a specific situation, such as speaking for the first time before an audience, speaking in front of the boss, and being critiqued while speaking. Trait Anxiety refers to the internal anxieties an individual brings to the speaking situation, such as feelings of inadequacy, or fear of looking like a fool in front of others. It is caused by the speaker’s personal feelings that exist regardless of the situation.
Anytime we become anxious, afraid, or excited, our body’s nervous system prepares us for action with a big shot of adrenaline, which accelerates the heart rate, sends extra oxygen to the central nervous system, heart, and muscles, dilates the eyes, raises the blood sugar level, and causes perspiration.
The following advice will help you control nervousness created by situational anxiety:
Prepare and Practice – Preparation is essential-tackle one small step at a time. Once you have prepared the actual presentation, make easy-to-follow notes and practice your presentation three or more times from beginning to end, speaking aloud. Time yourself to see if you need to shorten or lengthen the presentation. Finally, anticipate possible audience questions and prepare to answer them.
Warm Up – Warm up your neck and arm muscles and your voice prior to giving your presentation. Read aloud a memo or page from a book, varying your volume, pitch, emphasis, and rate; do several stretching exercises such as touching your toes and rolling your head from side to side; practice various gestures such as pointing, pounding your fist, or shrugging your shoulders.
Use Deep Breathing – Take a deep breath (through your nose), hold it while you count to five, then slowly exhale (though your mouth). As you exhale, feel your stress and tension slowly draining down your arms and out your fingertips, down your body and legs and out your toes. Do the same thing a second or third time if needed. A good time to use deep breathing is right before you go to the front of the audience to begin your presentation.
Use an Introduction That Will Relax You As Well As Your Listeners – Most speakers find that once they get a favorable audience reaction, they relax. This is one reason why so many...