Factor Affecting Public Speaking Anxiety

Topics: Communication, Communication studies, International Communication Association Pages: 20 (5792 words) Published: June 22, 2013


Commonly, students refuse to do the task of speaking in public due to discomfort of being viewed upon by the classmates or the audience and does create inferiority in delivering a certain speech. Public speaking is a common source of stress for everyone especially to students who are not used to speak in front of public because of fear to be criticized by others. Many would like to avoid this situation completely, but that is difficult to accomplish. Oral communication anxiety or commonly known as public speaking anxiety is one of the most studied phenomena among western communication researchers. So much attention has been given to this phenomenon that almost every aspect of it has been explored and written about. Yet, despite it being extensively studied the case is quite different in the Philippine setting. There is still a dearth of research data on Filipinos considering oral communication anxiety’s overwhelming impact on speakers (Del Villar, 2006a). Filipino teachers have been using western materials in designing their courses. Would it not be better if they used data gathered from their own setting to design their syllabus? As a way of addressing this scarcity, the present study probed into the attributions beginning speech communication students believed to explain their speaking anxieties. Although there are a number of western theories that explain the nature, causes, effects and manifestations of public speaking anxiety and numerous empirical findings that confirm those same theories, it would be interesting to find out Filipino students instinctive and spontaneous attributions of their own experiences. A list of attributions generated from the Filipinos themselves would supplement the teacher’s understanding of his/her students and consequently aid him/her in customizing learning activities to suit specific needs. The present study determined the reasons beginning speech communication students ascribed to for their oral communication anxiety. Hence, this study aims to determine the factors affecting public speaking anxiety among speech communication students. It focuses on students taking Speech Communication (ENG. 3) subject, for it is a general education course on the fundamentals of speech communication, is offered in the English Division of the College of Arts and Sciences, Central Philippines State University.


The Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) introduced by Berger and Calabrese (1975). URT posits that much human communication is carried out for the purpose of giving and gaining new information about the interactants, thereby reducing the unknown or uncertain aspects of interpersonal relationships or social situations. As communicative interaction provides new information, uncertainty is reduced, and predictability is increased. An underlying assumption is that humans are more comfortable, more at ease, or more relaxed when they know what to expect in the current situation (Berger & Bradac, 1982). Common reactions to such situations include intense self-awareness and public speaking anxiety. If speakers are unsure of themselves and uncertain about how they will perform in a public speaking context, it stands to reason that speech-related anxiety will result. Applying uncertainty reduction theory to the public speaking context, it seems logical that speech anxiety could be reduced to the extent that speakers can predict with greater certainty some of the key aspects of the communication event.


Independent VariableModerating VariableDependent Variable

Factor’s Affecting Public Speaking Anxiety:

a. An unfamiliar situation
b. Lack of self-confidence
c. Sense of isolation
d. Self-consciousness
e. Fear of looking foolish
Factor’s Affecting Public Speaking Anxiety:

f. An unfamiliar situation
g. Lack of self-confidence
h. Sense of isolation
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