What is Public Speaking Apprehension?
1. Public speaking apprehension is communication-based anxiety were speakers, in response to an actual or expected presentation, experience physiological, cognitive, and behavioral responses (Daly et al., 1997).
2. It can manifest as a trait (rooted more in the person) and/or a state (rooted more in the situation).
Causes of PSA (Public Speaking Apprehension):
What’s causing our Public Speaking Apprehension?
- Internally: Some physical and mental issues can trigger our PSA.
- We misinterpret our body’s signals.
- We misremember what happened.
- We misperceive what the audience saw.
- Externally: We respond to situational factors that make apprehension worse, including:
- Degree of evaluation
- Prior history, etc.
Reducing PSA (Public Speaking Apprehension):
Everyone has some speech apprehension. You might try a combination of:
- Systematic desensitization. Picture yourself in different speaking situations.
- V isualization. See yourself doing well in each of the four stages of speaking: anticipation, confrontation, adaptation, and release.
- Cognitive modification. Try to evaluate your fears.
- Practicing. You gotta log in the hours of practice.
- When speaking, unlike sitting around, we inhale for a shorter period of time and exhale for a longer period.
- We need a good volume of air to project well.
- Diaphragmatic breathing contracts the diaphragm allowing you to take in more air.
- When breathing diaphragmatically, your stomach should move, but your shoulders shouldn’t.
- Good projection requires good breath control.
- Try to expand the pharynx a bit to add to your resonance.
- When projecting, speak for 10 rows past the back row.
- When projecting, listen for a tiny bit of echo.
- Pitch is the highness or lowness of a tone or sound.
- Maintain good contrastive tone by:
- not reading too much.
- writing for oral performance.
- vocally warming up before speaking.
Rate and pauses
- 1. Imagine your audience taking notes on your talk. Where would you need to slow down for them to easily write down important ideas?
- Deliver important lines more slowly.
- Use pauses and repetition to direct attention.
- Privilege the intonation unit. As much as possible, try to avoid breaking up a phrase with an um.
There is no right or wrong way to gesture. In general, though, you might want to:
- have controlled gestures.
- use gestures to augment and emphasize the content.
- use gestures to be a more animated speaker.
- find speakers you like and model their gestures.
Your movements are unique to you. You might think about these principles.
- Be committed. Your movement shouldn’t look unconscious. Rather, more purposefully.
- Be seen. Face the audience. Make sure the majority can easily see you (and your face).
- Be strategic. What do you want the movement to accomplish? Is it illustrating an idea? Conveying excitement?