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Speech Anxiety (2,3)

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Robert Walls

on 6 March 2018

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Transcript of Speech Anxiety (2,3)

Roy Rosell's Story

Roy graduated from Cal Poly Pomona spring of 2013 from the College of Business


When he had a presentation coming up, It turned him in to this "short tempered, unpleasant, hermit crab-like pathetic excuse of a human being." Those are his words.

It took him 12 years of trial and error to go from a 10 on the fear scale (maximum level of fear), to a 9.

It took him 2 months of dedicated persistence to go from a 9 on the fear scale, to a 3.

Prof. Kent Walls

Reese Witherspoon and David Letterman admit to anxiety, nerves and stage fright, but what public figures said this? 

“I don't have the stomach for it. It takes a very brave, courageous person, 
and I'm too neurotic. I wouldn't survive.”

Discussing her role on "Nashville," which requires her to perform in front 
of large crowds: "The show, I feel like, is an amazing second step for me 
because I love music and I've always had such terrible stage fright

"I'm scared of audiences. I get stupid scared. One show in Amsterdam, 
I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I've thrown up a couple of times. 
Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. 

You know, I often ask myself why in the heck would you put yourself through
this because it's very stressful. It's a lot of pressure, and for me mentally, 
I have to build myself up to it in my head gradually. It sounds really precious, 
but it messes with my head.”
Speech Anxiety Continued
Speech anxiety
- also known as stage fright, speech phobia, shyness and performance anxiety.

Academia calls it communication apprehension

James McCroskey: communications researcher provided this insight:

Trait apprehension
- are individuals who are nervous in many types of situations or other words shy or introverted

State apprehension
- are individuals who are only nervous prior or during a speech.
Speech Anxiety Symptoms
Racing heartbeat
Breathing difficulty
Dry Mouth
Wringing of hands
Nervous laugh
Negative self-talk
Roy Rosell's Story
Remember - what is my #1 rule?
No laughing AT anyone EVER!

Speech starts at 2:30
Reasons For Speech Anxiety
Lack of speaking experience:
Who has spoken in front of a group before?

Prior negative experience:
people laughing - I’m the perfect example of that

Low self-esteem:
book says “too often we let what others think about us mean more than what we think about ourselves”

High stakes situations

Feeling subordinate:
court, defending yourself, etc.

Degree of unpredictability:
when circumstances change quickly.

Self-fulfilling prophecy:
telling yourself you are going to do a bad job from the start, therefore you don’t prepare

Excessive self-focus:
too often we care too much what others think and not enough how we will make them feel, etc.
So What is the Strategy?
Singers don’t sing in public until they know the words to their song.
Comics don’t do standup until they know their routine
Doctors don’t perform surgery until they have gone to medical school
You get the point…

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Familiarize yourself with speech situation:
Know your surroundings
Get there early. Visualize. Rehearse.
More Strategy...
Physically and mentally:
be ready and get ready
Quality sleep, find a routine, deep breaths, etc.

Prepare mentally:

Also called visualizing, it can help you conquer your fear because you have already “completed” it during practice

Your audience wants you to do well
Everyone can relate in this class. It’s new. It’s different, but remember…. this is a safe environment

It always looks worse to you
You are always your own worst critic. You may make mistakes. It’s ok
During The Speech

Accept and be ok with some anxiety and fear
Some fear is a positive thing. Be ok with it

Stay positive
Don’t let negative thoughts take over.
This goes for life in general as well. Try to stay positive

It may sound elementary, but people forget to do it

Don’t say you are sorry
Makes it more apparent.
My radio class
Majority of the time, 90% of people don’t know the mistake

Focus on them - not me
Book is partially right here. Yes, I agree to some extent, but you can’t completely lose track of yourself

Bottom line - care about your audience.
During The Speech
Britain's Got Talent

Gain experience by speaking as often as possible
Every time you will get better and better

Give yourself permission to grow
Tomorrow you will be a different person than today

Be so comfortable with it, you could just have it as a conversation
The process of preparation can’t be emphasized enough

Improves speech content and delivery

Increases your credibility

Decreases anxiety

There is always something to learn in public speaking

For me, 12 years and still learning - NHL Fight
Steps for Success
Simple yet profound - big thing in my class. I can tell if you care.

Too many students look bored, checked out or think that this isn’t cool

What is it? The process of planning out the information and ideas in your speech so there is a clear, logical structure that the audience can easily identify

Majority of speeches should include an introduction (beginning), body (middle) and conclusion (ending).

Main points - within the body, you should have separate main points
Run through some examples….
Steps for Success Continued
Start Strong/End Strong
- also known in the communication realm as primacy and recency effects - the importance of first and last impressions we make as speakers

Oprah said “
a powerful beginning will stick with your listeners
." Make yourself interesting from the start.

Therefore pay special attention to opening line and closing line

Taking the stage - do it confidently. Make eye contact. Pause, breath and smile…. then begin. What about the dont's in this situation?

At the end of your speech - exit professionally. Again this is college, not high school.

Avoid “I’m done,” “that’s it.” Book says don’t say “thank you,” however I’d rather have that over the previous. Instead, make your last line memorable and give it closure.

Use tone to close it instead. Go up in the pitch and make the final point down in pitch. This works the majority of the time

Steps for Success Continued
Look great/feel great

Professional attire:
“Dress for the 
job you want, not the job you have”

Appearance distractions:
stay away from:
loud jewelry, poorly fit clothes, gum, sunglasses, prominent fingernails, revealing clothing, clothes that make a statement, too casual clothing
Steps for Success Continued
Show your personality

Each of you are unique
- even if you don’t think you have a dynamic personality - that is ok. Use this time to develop your own style

How do you speak with your friends vs. how you would speak up here?

- this is the #1 way to show personality

Have a sense of humor, but don’t try to be a comedian
(example - Tim’s service - Matt)

Facial expressions and vocal inflection
- show emotion through these
Steps for Success Continued
Never drop the ball

If you make a mistake - don’t call it out.
You will stumble, you will pause awkwardly, you will lose your thought. Breath. Continue on. Apologies make it far worse

Never ask “can I start over?”

We’ve already seen what you did, just get through tough moments. You will be ok
Steps for Success Continued
Control your body
Body language plays a huge role in how we perceive your speech and how well you communicate. Work on it. When you practice - do it in the mirror or film yourself.

Control your voice
Speed, volume, etc. Think about it. Practice it. Understand it.

Steps for Success Continued
Make eye contact
This is a challenge for many of you. The goal is to have sustained eye contact. Really focus on this and be authentic with it.
“Practice makes perfect.” Actually “perfect practice makes perfect performance”

Actually neither are true, but practice helps IMMENSELY
Practice in front of people. Practice in empty classrooms, rooms, cars, etc.

There is not 100% correct answer for how many times you should rehearse your speech
Something Positive

Heads Up - Activity
Full transcript