Speech Anxiety

1790 Words Mar 29th, 2009 8 Pages


INTRODUCTION Public speaking is often described as the most common fear in the world. It is also something that many people are required to do. It may be to give a toast at a wedding, to present a seminar at work, to make an argument to a local council, to receive an award or to be interviewed by a board of directors for a job. Public speaking is something few people can avoid and yet it continues to be a major fear. To understand this fear and how it can be managed and prevented, the issue will now be looked at in more detail. This will begin with a definition of public speaking anxiety and a discussion of the
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These thoughts are then replaced with more positive thoughts. For example, the speaker about to begin the speech may think to themselves, ‘I am going to bore these people.’ With cognitive restructuring, the speaker can instead think to themselves, ‘I am going to make this speech interesting so the audience are not bored.’ These cognitive approaches are based on the speaker learning to associate different emotions to the public speaking activity. Part of these approaches involves individuals exposing themselves to public speaking situations. A more recent study has added a new means of achieving this, by allowing the speaker to take part in public speaking situations via virtual reality. The study concluded that creating a virtual audience the speaker could interact with, was as effective as using a real audience (Pertaub, Slater & Barker). Using these virtual reality environments and creating a virtual ‘good audience’ may become a new method of helping the anxious speaker associate good thoughts with public speaking. For more minor cases of public speaking anxiety, preparation and practice are common methods of overcoming the problem. Just like many tasks, the more able a person feels about completing the task, the less anxiety they experience. This sense of being ready and able to complete a task is achieved by being prepared. Practice is also important, since this makes the individual
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