Beat Public Speaking Anxiety Through Your Nature

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People learn public speaking anxiety largely because of the stops imĀ¬posed upon them by culture. “Be a good listener. Silence is golden,” are common ideas. And this is good advice. But people should speak up and out, too. We must observe rules and convention, we need stop lights, but we can’t get far without go signals also.

We must “snap out” of this emotional straight jacket which well-meaning, but misunderstanding people have slapped upon us. Talking enthusiastically upon a subject which a person knows well and is deeply interested in sharing will help overcome stage fright.

For example, at a large university a physical education major, built like an All-American fullback, enrolled in a speech course. One wouldn’t think a big he-man like him would, tremble in his socks when he stood before a speech class. But he did. His face took turns being pink and white as he grasped his notes in trembling vice-like fingers, and stumbled through a speech which he didn’t really want to deliver in the first place.

Wanting to help him control that demon, fear, his teacher suggested that next time, instead of talking from notes he talk on some subject which he knew by “heart.” Not a memorized talk, but one which would bubble right out of his nature. Would he talk about something he really knew, and knew he knew? He could, and did.

Next time he talked about tumbling. . And could he tumble? All over the place, and talking all the while. Now there were no trembling hands, no shaking in his socks, no dry bones rattling or thick tongue because the speaker was too busy communicating vital ideas to be afraid.

What a victory over public speaking anxiety and fear!

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