For many, anxiety and public speaking go together. When I teach adults or adolescents, I’m comfortable, but when I have to deliver a speech, I’m not. I’m nervous before stepping onto a stage. I’m nervous in front of a large audience. I’m nervous when it comes to public speaking.
Many people can relate to this kind of nervousness – the fear of public speaking that causes sweaty palms, a racing heart, fast and shallow breathing, shaky hands and legs and a general feeling of malaise. The scientific term for this fear is glossophobia, which means speech anxiety.
My husband, John Zimmer, is an expert in the field of public speaking and training. He has helped thousands of people prepare for their speeches and overcome their fear. John recently published this post on an effective way to deal with public speaking anxiety. Here’s John.
Giving a speech or presentation can be stressful. Even seasoned public speakers get butterflies in their stomachs prior to stepping on stage. Most people deal with the pressure by trying to calm down. They sit quietly, take deep breaths and tell themselves, silently or aloud, to calm down, that there is nothing to worry about, etc. But recent research suggests that this might be precisely the wrong strategy.
In a paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, which is published by the American Psychological Association, Professor Alison Wood Brooks of the Harvard Business School found that “[a]n overwhelming majority of people (more than 90%) believe the best way to manage pre-performance anxiety is to ‘try to calm down'”. Brooks believes that a better approach is to reframe the anxiety as excitement.
Drawing on previous research, Professor Brooks describes anxiety as “a state of distress and/or physiological arousal in reaction to stimuli including novel situations and the potential for…
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