The thought of public speaking is something that is enough to make anyone get nervous. It is also called stage fright or speech anxiety – the anxiousness and fear that accompanies the negative thoughts one tends to have when faced with the prospect of speaking in public or in front of a large group of people.
Everybody can fall victim to speech anxiety: even celebrities and prominent people who are regularly under the spotlight sometimes still have the “butterflies in the stomach,” the sweaty palms, and the shaking knees that accompany the fear of public speaking. The possible causes of speech anxiety are numerous.
One could be previous failure in delivering a speech. The fear of repeated failure may cause an individual to develop an extreme fear to try again. On the other hand, inexperience, or never having given a public speech, results to an almost similar fear. Another common cause is shyness. The feeling of having all eyes focused on you at a particular time can cause much anxiety for a shy person who do not normally speak too much even in front of small groups. Some people just hate being the center of attention and the feeling of conspicuousness when speaking in public increases the level of anxiety and embarrassment one feels.
Another, and easier to resolve, cause of speech anxiety is lack of preparation. Without practice, the level of discomfort in speaking words that you don’t really know by heart is considerably larger. If you are not intimately acquainted with the content of your speech, if the words coming out of your mouth are not things that you actually have strong feelings for, chances are you will have the fear of being “found out.” The chances of being provoked into discussions you think you cannot have a strong opinion about and can defend increase the level of anxiety of many public speakers.
One of the first steps in overcoming speech anxiety is to identify your personal reasons on why you fear it so. Once you are aware of the cause, you can then work on finding solutions to your concerns. Whether you fear speaking in front of thousands or even in front of one other person, there are ways to manage your fear and improve your performance. From something as simple as practicing your spiels, making use of visualizations, or self-motivation to something like searching for professional help by taking up a skills training course, speech anxiety is not without “cure.”
These actions will help you develop strategies to overcome your fears or, if not, at least handle it in such a way that your anxiety will not be evident to your audience. There are several self-help books available that discuss tips and strategies to be better communicators.
Speech anxiety is a behavioral condition that is common to all humans. Different personalities may experience different levels of such an anxiety but the good news is that it can be overcome. With proper training and practice, anybody has the potential to be an excellent speaker. Bobby Dyland is a expert on anxiety and panic attacks who recently developed a free eCourse that lists a step by step process for understanding, controlling and finally beating anxiety.
If you are interested in learning more about his “Crushing Anxiety and Reclaiming your Life” eCourse and beating panic attacks once and for all, please go here: http://www.crushanxiety.com