Managing Speech Anxiety Problems

Dr. Purushothaman
September 24, 2013

Almost everyone has had an experience giving a speech sometime or the other. It may be as the best man at your friend's wedding or as the valedictorian at your graduation ceremony. Everyone agrees, that public speaking doesn't come naturally to most people. Though some people breeze through the monologue comfortably, others have the typical symptoms of speech anxiety.

How To Beat Speech Anxiety

People fear speeches mainly because of the audience and not wanting to look like a failure in front of them. The first step to minimize speech anxiety is to know your audience and prepare the speech according to what they will understand best.

The speech should be in the simplest of words. Try to memorize the concepts and the flow of topics, rather than memorizing words. Difficult concepts may be simplified and put in front of the audience with the help of visual aids, like PowerPoint or over head projectors.

The most important technique to prevent speech anxiety is to practice, practice and practice some more. Knowing your speech well, will give you the confidence needed to ace the speech. Practice should be done on your own, in front of a mirror and then a fake audience. Often people, video tape their speech to review it later and improve anything lacking.

Before the actual day of the speech, exercise to refresh yourself, have a proper meal and dress in your best clothes to boost your confidence. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes or tight fitting clothes as something uncomfortable could distract you from your speech.

The best way to start a speech is slowly and clearly. Try to remain as calm as you can, breathing deeply in between topics. Give yourself a break in between as you go to the projector or screen.

The symptoms of speech anxiety may begin all of a sudden. If you feel the onset of blushing, sweating or you feel your heart racing, pause for a minute, recollect your thoughts and continue as if nothing has happened. Practicing this act will bring you to a stage when you will be in total control of your speech.

Don't let speech anxiety be a problem

Though almost everyone has experienced speech anxiety sometime in their life, there are few people who have been overcome by speech anxiety to such an extent they totally avoid any situation where they might have to give a speech. Often, this phobia of public speaking takes over their personality and makes them lose out on great opportunities in life.

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