McCroskey s Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA): It is normal to experience a fairly high degree of anxiety about speaking in public

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1 MPS Chapter 3 Speaking Confidently & Preparing your first Speech Recognize that speaker nervousness is normal!!! Communication apprehension: the perceived fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons Widespread Fear of speaking in public ranks above heights, insects, financial problems, deep water, sickness and death McCroskey s Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA): See: anxietysurvey.doc It is normal to experience a fairly high degree of anxiety about speaking in public What is platform panic & how does it affect us? Adrenaline is suddenly pumped into the bloodstream Respiration increases dramatically Heart rate increases dramatically Galvanic skin response goes up (sweat) Flight or fight syndrome Although the body s chemical and physiological responses to stress may be identical for everyone, the outward signs of anxiety vary from person to person Symptoms may include: Accelerated heart rate, dry mouth, blushing, perspiring, shaking, churning stomach, increased rate of speech, forgetfulness and broken speech, nervous mannerisms such as playing with jewelry, tapping fingers, clutching the lectern What to do? Control Speaker Nervousness Do not make your goal to eliminate nervousness May be counterproductive: Nervousness is natural Attempting to eliminate it is unrealistic

2 2 Focusing on eliminating nervousness may make you more nervous Some nervousness can be beneficial You can use the nervous energy to enliven your delivery & give your ideas impact Don t tap your fingers gesture! Your goal should be to channel nervousness and channel the energy into dynamic, effective vocal and physical delivery Learn how to build speaker confidence Basic tip: Readiness rituals: e.g. get up early, practice saying the first part of each main point of the speech while in the shower, get to the speech setting early and get the feel of the place Develop your own readiness ritual Know how you react to stress Enables you to predict and cope with your physical symptoms of stress Your dry mouth won t surprise you Because you are anticipating these physical symptoms you will be better able to mask them How? Try this: If you know your hands shake, don t hold a piece of paper during the speech If your voice is likely to be thin and quivery as you begin speaking, take several deep, slow, but unobtrusive, breaths before you begin to speak (no loud sighing) If you get tense before you speak, try some muscle relaxation techniques Unobtrusively tense your hands, arms and shoulders, and then slowly relax them If you get flustered before speaking, make sure to arrive on time or a little early never late If looking at an audience intimidates you, talk to some audience members before the speech, and when you speak, look for friendly faces in the audience

3 3 Know your strengths and weaknesses As a public speaker your instruments are your voice, body, mind, and personality strive to use them effectively You will use these instruments together to create and communicate messages Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker Use your strengths to communicate your message with force and impact If you are a lively and enthusiastic person, channel that energy to reinforce your speech physically and enliven your listeners If you have a talent for creating memorable phrases, allow that creativity to help your listeners attend to and remember your ideas Etc. Minimize and avoid your weaknesses If you are not effective in delivering humor, you probably should not begin your speech with a joke You re risking failure at a critical point in the speech Craft your speeches toward your abilities but you can only do this when you become realistically aware of your strengths and weakness Don t be too critical of yourself and construct safe speeches because you have exaggerated your weaknesses Expand your abilities by incorporating new strategies into your speechmaking Through thoughtful, measured risk-taking you will develop as a speechmaker Know speech principles If you are confident you have constructed an effective speech, you will be more confident as you step to the lectern If you know why you re doing what you re doing, you will have more control over what you re doing you will be able to account for your successes and replay them Know that it always looks worse from the inside Because you feel nervous, you focus on your anxiety, exaggerate it, and become more nervous

4 4 Remember! Your audience cannot see your internal state You usually do not look as nervous as you feel this is where videotaping and viewing your speechmaking can be a tremendous help you may view your speech and think wow I don t appear to be nervous at all! In Rhetoric City, it is all about appearances Appearing reasonable Appearing interested Appearing calm Etc. IF YOU DON T APPEAR TO BE Reasonable Interested Calm FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES YOU RE NOT Reasonable Interested Calm Etc. Believe in the video! Believe in the appearance! Know your speech Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, speech principles, and your audience gains you little if you do not know your speech! If you don t know what you want to say, you won t say it! If you think you will forget, you probably will The more confident you are about your message, the less nervous you will be Do not memorize your speech (can kill your delivery & also lead to uh oh on-the-spot I forget disasters) However you should memorize/know your main points and the order in which you want to present them Believe in your topic You must believe that the audience will benefit in some way from listening to your speech

5 5 The more you believe in your speech the more earnest you will be & the less nervous you will be If you re tentative you may be worried that your audience will be tentative too not interested in what you re talking about this can add to your nervousness View speechmaking positively Cognitive restructuring based on the idea that nervousness is, in part, caused by illogical beliefs If you can restructure your thinking and focus on positive, rather than negative self-statements, you may reduce your anxiety Two steps: Identify your negative self-statements Replace negative self-statements with positive ones If you view pubic speaking as a tedious chore, your audience will sense it from your delivery and even from your choice of a speech topic If you view public speaking as an opportunity, your positive attitude will help you control your nervousness Thinking positively can turn anxiety into anticipation Genuine enthusiasm about the chance to speak in public will guide your choice of topic and will reveal itself to your audience through your lively delivery Seek out opportunities to test and develop your communication skills Volunteer for oral reports Speak out at organizational meetings Offer to introduce guest speakers The positive attitude, coupled with practice and experience, will help make you less apprehensive and more confident! Visualize success Relax in a quiet spot and visualize yourself giving an effective presentation Be specific from start to finish (don t forget the thunderous applause) Project confidence If you perceive yourself acting in a particular way, you will assume you feel that way

6 6 If you want to feel confident, act confident Identify characteristics of speakers who seem confident Incorporate those behaviors into your own speaking Displaying confident behaviors will make you feel confident Test your message Test your message in front of friends people who really care and will be honest with you After the speech, give them a little quiz to see if they got your main points, if they thought your supporting material was believable, if they thought your delivery was effective if it reinforced your message The more confident you are that your message will achieve the desired effect on your audience, the less nervous you will be Practice your delivery The most effective antidote for stage fright and other calamites of speechmaking is total, slavish, monkish preparation You may practice parts of your speech that you re having trouble with You may practice your entire speech from start to finish if you trip up, do not stop and start over again keep on going! Practice in settings laden with distractions (not alone in an empty classroom Practicing with the TV on in the background or in your room with noise in the hallway forces you to concentrate on what you re saying and not on what you re hearing Assess: After each speech, assess your performance by asking an answering these questions: How did you react when you walked to the front of the room, turned, and looked at the audience looking at you? Did you remember what you planned to say? Did you have trouble finding your place in your notes? What techniques did you try in your speech that worked? What did not work?

7 7 Did you get less or more nervous as the speech progressed? How did your audience respond to your speech? What did their nonverbal communication convey as you delivered your speech? What feedback did you get from your audience following the speech? Once you face a problem and determine its cause, you will be better bale to plan so that it does not occur again You don t discover confidence, you build confidence! Prepare your first speech Understand the assignment What am I supposed to do in this speech inform, persuade, entertain? What are my minimum and maximum time limits for the speech? Are there special requirements for the delivery of the speech? If so, what are they? Develop your speech content What is my speech topic and why have I chosen it? Who are the people in my audience? What do I want my listeners to know or remember or do when I m finished speaking? Have I selected a few key points that I can develop? Is everything that I say relevant to my topic? Do I use a variety of specific supporting materials, such as examples and stories, to develop my key points? Will my supporting materials be clear and interesting to my audience? Do I acknowledge sources for anything I quote or paraphrase from other speakers or writers? Organize your speech Organize Your Speech Introduction Parts: What is my attention-getter? What is my statement of purpose? What rationale do I provide for speaking about this topic? How do I establish my credibility to speak on this topic? What are the points I will cover in my speech? Organize the Body of Your Speech Do I have the body of my speech organized clearly?

8 8 I. What is my first main idea? A. What will I say about it? B. How will I summarize it? II. What is my second main idea? A. What will I say about it? B. How will I summarize it? III. What is my third main idea? A. What will I say about it? B. How will I summarize it? Organize Your Speech Conclusion What are the parts of my conclusion? What is my summary statement? What am I asking my audience to know or remember or do? What is my closing statement? Word your speech (don t memorize it) Does my speech sound conversational? Is the language of my speech correct? Will the language of my speech be clear to my listeners? Will the language of my speech be vivid and memorable for my listeners? Practice your speech Have I practiced my speech as I actually intend to deliver it? Have I made my speaking notes concise and easy to read? Have I recorded my speech and made changes after listening to or viewing it? How many times have others listened to my speech, and what suggestions have they offered for improving it? Have I timed my speech? Is the average time within my overall time limit? What adjustments can I make in my speech if it is too long or too short? Deliver your speech Do I change the pitch of my voice enough to create a lively vocal delivery? Do I speak with enough volume to be heard? Do I vary my rate of speaking to match my audience s comprehension of what I am saying? Are my clothing and other elements of my appearance appropriate to my topic, my audience, and the speaking occasion? Do I look at members of my audience most of the time I am speaking?

9 9 Do I look at listeners in all parts of the room? Do my gestures add emphasis to appropriate parts of the speech? Do my gestures look and feel natural and spontaneous? Do my facial expressions show that I am thinking about what I am saying, rather than about how I look or sound? If I include place-to-place movement, does it serve a purpose? Evaluate your speech What did I do well? What areas can I target for improvement? What specific efforts do I need to make in order to improve my next speech? Be well-prepared and you won t be [as] scared!

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