Tips for Overcoming Speech Anxiety

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  • 0:01 Speech Anxiety
  • 1:02 Know Your Audience
  • 1:52 Be Prepared
  • 2:31 Practice Breathing Techniques
  • 3:00 Eliminate Nervous Energy
  • 3:22 Be Positive
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Many business people suffer from speech anxiety, or the fear of speaking in public. In this lesson, you will learn some specific tips for overcoming speech anxiety.

Speech Anxiety

Most professional people dread having to speak in front of a large audience. Some people sweat profusely, while others picture audience members in their underwear to try and relax. This lesson discusses speech anxiety and provides some tips for how to overcome being uncomfortable in front of an audience. Speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking and is also known as stage fright.

Nellie Brown is a brand new university professor who has a fear of public speaking. She began her semester classes with disastrous results. Her students gave her the nickname of Nervous Nellie since she has a severe speech anxiety. So far, Nellie has passed out in class, vomited and sweated through all of her clothes while trying to give her speeches on anthropology. The dean has told Nellie that she needs to attend a public speaking workshop off campus immediately in order to retain her position with the university. Here is what Nellie has learned.

Know Your Audience

Being prepared for a speech is a necessity to having a relaxed presenter. One of the most important factors of helping eliminate speech anxiety is to know your audience. This means that Nellie needs to understand who makes up her class and how she will engage them during her speech. Nellie spent time reflecting on her class make-up and realized that she needed to tailor her speeches to the audience demographic of 18-24 year old students. This audience is constantly bombarded with technology and needs visual stimulation. She revamped her presentations to include YouTube videos, in-class exercises and in-class participation projects. She also learned to become audience-centered and looked to her students for signs that she was successfully delivering her messages.

Be Prepared

Another tip for subduing speech anxiety is to be prepared and not procrastinate preparing for the speech. A presenter will cause themselves serious stress by not preparing for a speech. It is important to research, prepare and review all the material before standing in front of an audience. Nellie hated the thought of speaking in class so she always was last minute with preparing her lectures. This added to her nervousness. In addition, her poorly conceived lectures made the students lose interest, which added to her anxiety. Nellie promised herself to rehearse her speech to feel more relaxed and prepared in the future.

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