Public Speech Anxiety

Submitted By Kingholywall
Words: 1223
Pages: 5

Public Speech Anxiety I am currently taking Communications 20 at San Jose City College. In Comm 20 the student is required to give three, main speeches along with five to 10 smaller speaking assignments. Each speech is to be performed in front of the class for three to five minutes. Before each speech my heart begins to race and the nerves of standing in front of my classmates with all their eyes on me watching my every move begin to push me over the edge. Then my turn comes to speak and my heart rate increases more. I begin to speak but I fumble over the words. With my voice trembling I continue to speak each time I look up for some sort of reassurance I see my classmates blank stare. I, along with many others, suffer from Public Speech Anxiety. The increased heart rate, as well as, the loss for words and, the shaky voice are all attributed to speech anxiety. Sitting in class before hand gives me time to build up the speech in my head. The more you think about the speech the more opportunity to think about what might possibly go wrong, thus the more nervous you will be. Without fail, on speech days, I will get nervous, but so far the two speeches I’ve given have been both good and bad. One I spoke very eloquently on a topic I was very comfortable with and the second I failed to give a proper speech and the audience was very aware of my nerves. To control this, I must be as prepared as possible for my speech. If I feel prepared I will be able to give some insight to the audience about the topic at hand and I will feel more comfortable talking about a topic I know. Physical things I can do to prevent this sort of anxiety include taking deep breaths to calm my nerves and drinking water.
The biological effects of Public Speech Anxiety stem from what is called the emotional component. The emotional component is responsible for physiological responses such as: red face, shortness of breath upset stomach, trembling, racing heart, sweating, or feeling dizzy or faint. (helpguide) These responses are directly related to the fear of Public Speaking. I have experienced all of these symptoms before a public speaking event as well as during practice of a public speaking event. The experience is usually short lived and can be counteracted by breathing exercises or stepping away from the situation. I experience speech anxiety the most the night before a speech. I have trouble sleeping and my heart races. Practicing my speech frequently in front of people helps with speech anxiety as it gives me a feel for an audience as well as confidence in my speech’s effectiveness and flow, which translates to confidence. When it comes time to speak I am confident and usually the speech goes better than expected.
The cognitive effect of Public Speech Anxiety is triggered by a different component, excessive worry. The cognitive approach refers to thoughts and memories and how they can affect the person suffering from anxiety. It is common for people, who suffer from speech anxiety, to think negative thoughts such as, “I know I will look like a fool.” or, “People will think I’m stupid.” (helpguide) These negative thoughts often times lead to the physiological effects like the ones described in the biological approach. The best way to overcome these negative thought is to challenge them with positive ones. For example, when I tell myself I’m going to forget the words of that I’m going to start to mumble. I tell myself that I have practiced my speech and that I know that I am capable of giving a fantastic speech. This calms my nerves and helps keep me from being too overwhelmed.
The behavioral approach analyzes how I would learn new behavior or modify existing behavior in order to alter my fear of public speaking. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Two very successful methods that I discovered while preparing for my speech are practice and reward. These two methods are very closely intertwined. Initially