Speech Apprehension

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Speech Apprehension Introduction Speaking in front of a group is not always an easy task for the student or layperson. In fact some individuals become extremely nervous and stressed-out when asked to stand in front of a group and give a talk or present a report. This paper points out the reasons that some nervousness and tension are normal responses to public speaking, and offers a number of ways for people to combat those stressors and become more comfortable speaking in front of a group. The Literature on Dealing with Communication Apprehension According to a peer-reviewed article in The Journal of Business Communication, about sixty percent of public speakers experience "some anxiety on the day of a speaking engagement" (Thomas, et al, 1994, p. 311) and these are professional, well-trained public speakers. In a survey involving 3,000 people who were asked, "What are you most afraid of?" forty-two percent identified "speaking before a group" (Thomas, 311). In a study involving 140 students in an MBA program, oral communication "was the most challenging communication arena" and the communication skill most desired was "controlling nervousness and anxiety" (Thomas, 311). In their research, the authors point to several "interpretive styles" of approaching "communication apprehension" (CA) in terms of the potential outcomes of the processes people go through to overcome the apprehension. "Deficiency focusing" is the habit people have of zeroing in on "what is wrong when
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