I. Nervousness about public speaking is normal and widespread. A. Many celebrities and public figures admit to a fear of public speaking.
B. Many ordinary citizens place public speaking at or near the top of their lists of fears.
C. A clear majority of college students list fear of public speaking as their chief communication weakness. 1. James McCroskey’s Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety shows that nearly three-fourths of college students admit to high or moderately high anxiety about speaking in public. 2. McCroskey concludes that a fairly high degree of anxiety about public speaking is normal.
D. People experience and exhibit a range of internal and external responses to the stress of public speaking. 1. Chemically and physiologically, we experience stage fright in the same way. a. Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. b. Respiration increases.
c. Heart rate increases.
d. Galvanic skin response increases.
2. Symptoms of stage fright can vary from person to person. a. Some people experience blushing, excessive perspiration shortness of breath, forgetfulness, or other symptoms. b. As uncomfortable as they can make you, these responses are normal and natural signs that your body is responding to the pressure of performing well.
II. Your objective should be control nervousness about speaking, not eliminate it.
A. Attempts to eliminate nervousness about public speaking are self-defeating for two reasons. 1. Some degree of nervousness is natural.
a. Even very experienced speakers retain some degrees of nervousness.
b. Dwelling on your nervousness can make you even more nervous. 2. Some degree of nervousness can actually benefit a speaker.
a. Nervousness is energy.
b. Energy enlivens your delivery and gives your speech impact. B. With effort, you can channel your nervous energy and make it work to your advantage.
IV. You can build speaker confidence by using some or all of the coping strategies below.
A. Know how you react to stress.
1. This knowledge lets you anticipate and deal with the physical signs of stress as you deliver your speech. 2. This knowledge also helps you mask signs of nervousness from your audience.
B. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
1. You must honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Utilize your strengths and mask your weaknesses.
3. Beware of exaggerating your weaknesses and constructing only “safe” speeches.
C. Know speech principles.
1. These principles, communicated by your textbook and instructor, concern the content, organization, and delivery of a speech. 2. Feeling secure about your content, organization and delivery should make you feel more confident.
D. Know that it always looks worse from the inside.
1. Remember that your audience cannot read your mind to detect your nervousness.
2. Untrained audiences are not good at detecting the self-perceived nervousness of a public speaker. E. Know your speech.
1. Knowing your speech does not require you to memorize it. 2. If you have practiced adequately, you should have memorized your major points and their order in the speech.
F. Believe in your topic.
1. When delivering an informative speech, you must believe that your topic will be useful or interesting to the audience. 2. When delivering a persuasive speech, you must be committed to the beliefs or actions you are urging.
G. View speechmaking positively.
1. Our attitudes help determine our behaviors.
a. Speakers who...
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