#1: What Happened to YOU?
As we discussed in class, public speaking apprehension comes in different forms for different people. The first key to overcoming and working through any anxiety/apprehension is identifying for yourself what happens for YOU in regards to fears/anxiety.
Specifically for your first speech please reflect upon and describe what you experienced taking into consideration the following stages of anxiety that some people may feel. While you may have felt all of these things people can usually identify one stage as being stronger for them. Also, simply capturing what happens to you physically and emotionally is important to make a plan for the future:
- Pre-Speech Anxiety: Some people experience fear/anxiety when first hearing about a speaking engagement. This can come in many forms but comes weeks/days before the actual event. Sometimes the reaction to this is to disengage from any preparation and choosing to ignore/hide from the event.
- Right before: Some people experience a flood of butterflies/anxiety right before they are about to go up.
- During: Some people start off strong but in the middle become more anxious and have self-doubt based on perceived audience reaction.
- After: Some people ride through the event and then after they sit down become more anxious about what just happened and second guess every choice they made.
#2 What can YOU do for the FUTURE?
We have discussed a variety of options for overcoming anxiety at the beginning of each class. The book chapter also has many more resources. Here is a recap to consider when answering the question below:
- Thinking Positively
- Modifying Thoughts: Take a moment to explore this Modifying Thoughts Exercise which is a type of cognitive restructuring that the book discusses.
- Reducing anxiety through practicing
- Analyze your audience
- Clearly organize your ideas
- Practice in similar conditions
- Watch what you eat
- Anticipate the reactions of your body
- Focus on the Audience, Not on yourself
- COM: (Communication Orientation Motivation) changing your goal in a speech to be audience-focused rather than self-focused. Example being: I want the audience to know how special and thoughtful my grandmother was after this speech . . . as opposed to . . .I want to make sure I get a good grade. The first thought puts the speaker’s energy on the audience and making sure they receive the message as opposed to on the speaker and the performance. Reduces performance anxiety replacing it with a real action-orientated goal.
- Maintain a sense of humor
- Stress management techniques
- Exercise: In varying forms, exercise helps people cope with anxiety. Everything from isometrics mentioned in the chapter, to taking a walk, stretching, or doing a serious workout can help.
- Visualization: Laying or sitting quietly and imagining the stressful event going well. Talking yourself through the time before, during, and after the event and seeing in your mind the positive result you are looking for.
- Breathing exercises: Taking time each night before you fall asleep to become comfortable with one of the many options available to slow down your breath. We discussed a (inhale for X, hold for X, and exhale for 2X) option in class as well as blowing up a balloon and other options. This is used when you begin to then feel anxious to slow down your breathing and deescalate any anxious physical patters of anxiety. These exercises also usually involve counting which helps take your mind off the anxiety-producing event.
- Meditation: Apps such as the following can help: Insight Timer, Headspace, 10% happier, Calm. There are many free options available.
- Listening to music
Please write an action plan for yourself on how to put some of these strategies (and/or other strategies) into place for your future speeches in this class. How can you be most effective? What of the above have worked for you – or might you try? How and when are you going to do this?
For this journal you should
#1 – Briefly describe what happened to you for your first speech
#2 Come up with an action plan for the next speech and the rest of this semester.
NOTE: If you have NO fear/anxiety and do not feel that you need to do anything at all in this realm for this class – GREAT! Good for you! BUT, this does not mean you do not have to complete this journal. If this is you please do the following: Write #1. What happened to you (positive is great) and why you think this is the case and then #2 How could other people employ your strategies?