Overcoming Speech Anxiety

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Overcoming Speech Apprehension Introduction Getting up in front of a group any group, of any size can be intimidating for any person unaccustomed to public presentation. What are the best ways to overcome being apprehensive in a speaking assignment? There are several ways and many suggestions available in the literature, and this paper offers some of those suggestions and solutions. Fighting Stage Fright (also known as Speech Apprehension) Carter Brey, who a few years ago was appointed the first chair cellist of the New York Philharmonic, had a problem with performance nervousness, and he said that the whole thing in getting up in front of people was about "being able to master the psychological tricks you play on yourself" (Owen, 1996). Though he was a musician and not a public speaker, the psychologists' advice to Brey applies equally to those getting up to speak in front of a group. Indeed as far as tricks one might play on one's self, psychologists suggest analyzing the emotional and intellectual reasons why a person is afraid. Stage fright occurs when the person anticipates ""¦failure"; and those negative thoughts create anxiety because the brain ""¦can only focus attention on one complex mental task at a time," hence if the person is thinking about failure, he or she cannot also think about success (Owen, p. 2). For one thing, the speaker must have a "deep knowledge" of what he or she is about to present to the audience, just like a musician must have deep

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