Overcoming Fear of Speaking in Public

A Dozen Helpful Books

A Dozen Helpful Audios

Many people feel anxious about giving a formal talk or presentation in public. Christine Stuart in her book, 'Effective Speaking' cites a survey in the USA where 3,000 adults were asked to list their ten worst fears. Speaking in Public came out as the number one fear - above even fears of financial ruin and death!

Why do so many people feel anxious in this situation?

The main reasons appear to be:

* Unfamiliar Situation: because most people speak formally only rarely to an audience the novelty of the situation is a cause of apprehension.

* Lack of Confidence: This stems often from a feeling that others are better speakers than ourselves, or that they know more about the topic in question.

* Sense of Isolation: The speaker is alone, the centre of attraction - and vulnerable.

* Self-Consciousness: about our accents, grammar, voice and image generally.

* Fear of looking Foolish - we may worry that we will forget what we wanted to say, and will stumble over our words, will say the 'wrong' thing, etc.

Another issue that particularly affects students is:

* Fear of the Consequences - for example being 'judged' by others, particularly tutors, as lacking in ability or insight because of a poor public presentation. At least with an essay mistakes can be made in private!

How 'Nerves' affect you Physically

The signs of anxiety are all too painfully familiar to those affected: increased heart and breathing rates, increased adrenaline, over-rapid reactions, and a tension in the shoulder and neck area. These bodily changes can affect the voice, making it sound tremulous, or disjointed by over-rapid breathing.

The above is extracted from a page constructed by Dave Hughes, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Bradford
Last up-dated Aprl 1999
 
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