Speech Study Guide

Overreacting to these physical symptoms can aggravate anxiety level. The following is only a partial list of some physiological reactions to anxiety: • Parched mouth • “Frog in the throat” • Shortness of breath • Butterflies in the stomach • Trembling hands or legs • Hot flashes • Flushed cheeks • Red blotches on neck or face • Shaking voice • Trembling hands • Sudden urge to visit the restroom • Loss of focus on speech • Mind going blank 8.8 Managing Public Speaking Apprehension Because public speaking apprehension has multiple causes, describing a few general methods that will help manage anxiety and boost confidence can be helpful. If a speaker is committed to the topic, that will increase his or her confidence in speaking. Communication orientationmotivation (COM) methods are designed to reduce anxiety by adopting a communication rather than a performance orientation. A performance orientation is demanding a special delivery technique that will impress the audience. A communication orientation is an opportunity to engage in a conversation with a number of people about an important topic. Visualization is a general method for reducing apprehension that involves picturing oneself giving a masterful speech. Visualization has been used extensively to improve athletic performances. The players that visualize making a foul shot and practice continually making those shots were able to improve greatly. The same idea is used for public speaking. Relaxation exercises include breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation exercises. For these exercises to be effective, the speaker must learn how to do them and practice them regularly so they eventually become habitual. Systematic desensitization is a method that reduces apprehension by gradually visualizing oneself in and then performing increasingly more frightening events while remaining in a relaxed state. Essentially, once a speaker is in a relaxed state he can then visualize himself successfully completing each stage of the preparation for the speech. For example, the library researching, the speech planning, the writing, and successfully practicing the speech, visualizing each successfully completed while remaining calm and relaxed. Cognitive restructuring is a process designed to help a speaker change intrapersonal communication about public speaking. The goal is to have anxiety-reducing positive self-talk.


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