"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."-Elbert Hubbard
How to make your fears of public speaking work for you and not against you, and to show that almost everyone gets nervous.
Everyone is afraid of something. Whether it is spiders, heights, enclosed spaces, or public speaking. When it comes to giving speeches, people tend to let their fears get the best of them. I know for me personally public speaking is one of my greatest fears. And statistically speaking Speech Anxiety and Communication Apprehension is a common problem for a lot of people.
Preview of Three Major Points:
1. What is Speech Apprehension?
2. Determining Your Fears.
3. Getting Over Them.
II. Body of Speech:
1. What is Speech and Communication Apprehension?
a. Definition of Speech Apprehension -
Fear of speaking to an audience. Indeed, many people place public speaking ahead of death itself in their ranking of fears. It is no wonder, then, that a significant number of people tend to avoid situations where they are expected to speak, communicate, or perform in front of others.
b. Definition of Communication Apprehension -
"Individual level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons" (McCroskey, 1977) This anxiety is a significant problem at elementary level. Research reveals that 11 percent of the elementary students experience CA, and an additional 20 percent may experience enough anxiety to warrant some sort of intervention (Harris, 1980; Garrison and Garrison, 1979; Wheeless, 1971).
c. Why People are Scared –
Fear of Inadequacy, inferiority, incapable. (Being Judged) How will everyone react to what I have to say? People are sensitive to what others think about them. (Consequences) Will the audience like or dislike my speech?
2. Determining Your Fears.
a. Causes of Fear - Some people are scared they will forget what they have to say, or that everyone will know that they are nervous and will therefore judge them. Some people are scared that they will be laughed at or that everyone is staring at them, or maybe they will even spit while talking.
b. Symptoms -
Some symptoms include; Increased heartbeat, stomach knots, Shaking hands, arms or legs, dry mouth, or a lump in the throat, or possibly even tunnel vision.
c. Mental Symptoms -
Anxiety is not just a physical problem, it also has a lot to do with how you are thinking. How you think can also be a helping quality in alleviating yourspeech apprehension.
3. Getting over Your Fears.
a. Rehearse -
Read your speech out loud to see how smoothly it flows. If you find yourself stumbling over a certain word or statement, rephrase it so that you are able to continue without any struggling. Try your speech out in front of family of friends for honest critique – (interjection)
b. Visualization and organization -
Imagine giving the speech in your head, as it's a sort of mental blueprint. Nothing can beat being prepared for your speech. The more comfortable you are with your speech, the better that you will do.
c. Relax -
Think positively about yourself. Tell yourself over and over again to relax. Relax your muscles in you hands and arms, face and neck. Most of all try to have fun with yourself.
Summary of Major Points:
I have basically told you what speech apprehension is, why it happens and what you can do to overcome it.
Giving a speech is not the end of the world, and no one is going to look at you any different because you turned a little red or you stuttered while you where up in front of the room. Just think to yourself for a moment , do you ever dwell on anyone in which you watch give a speech? No , you either learned a lot from it, or you walked away forgetting just about everything that was said. Way I look at it is a win win in either situation then. Just take a minute to relax, clear your thoughts, and you should be fine. Memorable ending:
Some people say that the only way to overcome your fears is to face them, I agree with this, but in this case I knew I was going to have speak publicly sooner or later, so the best way to overcome this apprehension is to swallow your pride and face that fear.