There are a lot of fears out there in the world, but there are a few that seem to impact a large number of people. Fear of spiders, fear of snakes, and fear of dying are some of the popular ones. But, another that many people struggle with is a fear of speaking, which is speech anxiety.
Speech anxiety or glossophobia is simply a fear of public speaking. If you suffer from speech anxiety,you experience severe fear when you need to speak in front of others. This could happen if you are speaking in front of hundreds of people or even very small groups. The symptoms manifest themselves as physical, verbal, and non-verbal. Symptoms include dry mouth, a weak voice, shaking, sweating, blushing or getting hives, and an increased heart rate.
Determine Why You Struggle With Speech Anxiety
There are many different reasons why people struggle with speech anxiety. If you want to learn how to overcome it, then you need to determine where the struggle is coming from. Once you know why you are struggling, you can start to address the specific problems. Here are some common reasons people are hit with speech anxiety:
Many people that are perfectly fine talking in front of a few people start to panic when the numbers in the group grow. The conversation moves from becoming interactive to more of a formal feel. More eyes are staring at them. They start to worry about what the audience is thinking of them and feel like they are being judged. They worry about how they look; they feel uncomfortable with their body. These things distract them so much that it makes it difficult to focus on what they are supposed to be talking about.
Failures From The Past
If you have a bad experience of speaking in front of a group in the past,it can make it harder to do in the future. You feel haunted by the events of your past presentation. It causes you to feel anxiety at just the thought of having to do it again.
Lack Of Preparation
When you are not prepared for the task at hand, it can cause anxiety. If you’ve waited until the last minute to prepare for a presentation or speech that you have to give it can be a cause of speech anxiety. You feel uncomfortable with the material and aren’t exactly sure what you’re going to say.
Another reason that people suffer from speech anxiety is that they have a lack of confidence. If you lack confidence and don’t believe that you have the skills and abilities needed to perform the task, you may feel anxious. Many people that struggle with this build up the fear in their head before they ever have to get up to give a speech. They worry that they’re not enough, they don’t speak enough, they don’t know the right way to get the audience engaged or that they just don’t know the information as they should.
Comparing yourself to other people is usually not a wise thing to do. Many people struggle with speech anxiety because they feel like they don’t measure up to someone else. This could bring about a lack of confidence which can stem from failures of the past. If you are speaking with other presenters, this can be especially hard. You know that the same audience will not only be hearing what you have to say, but hearing what other people have to say too, and you don’t want to look like you’re not as good.
How To Overcome Speech Anxiety
Now that you have identified where the underlying cause of your speech anxiety is coming from you can start to address it. Just getting to the root of the problem may have revealed to you the solution that you need, but if not here are some generalized tips that can help.