Thursday, September 22, 2011

Principles for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety

I found a webpage on public speaking anxiety that I think really covers a lot of the fears we feel when speaking in front of people whether or not we have higher or lower public speaking anxiety. Now this model does not entirely fit the context of a required assignment, but the stuff about audience is particularly helpful. Principle #9 may seem to contradict a lot of what I said which is to prepare, prepare, prepare. In this case, you are presenting on something that you more than likely do not have a lot of knowledge on, thus you do need to prepare more, but the author does not an important point about what motivates you to prepare. Here is the link:

We have already talked about public speaking anxiety quite a bit, but as you read over this consider some of the principles. Do they seem counterintuitive or right on the money? Do you think one can overprepare for a speech? How does context (where you are speaking and what about) change some of these principles?


  1. I kind of agree with the author on over-preparing...maybe not from a standpoint of motives, but perhaps the KIND of preparation I'm doing. If I'm just trying to memorize a speech, then when I give it, and if I happen to mess up or stumble over my words, I'm more flustered. If I spend more time getting familiar with the material to where it flows more than just memorizing, I do better.

  2. I believe that the article is mostly right on the money, especially the point on having only two or three main points. And the "overpreparing" advice is completely true. This happens a lot when I over-analyze the topic, and not just let it flow naturally. More conversationally. However, I believe that one should take into context that their audience might be a little harsh. Say if you're presenting a major point to a city council, etc. It is somewhat imperative to realize that you are being put on a scrutinous spotlight in some situations. However, that doesn't mean to let it overwhelm your speech. They're people just like you (whether they realize that or not).

  3. There were a few of the principles I found a little confusing. "The best way to succeed is not to consider yourself a public speaker." For me, if I'm public speaking, that's exactly what I need to do. I can't overcome anxiety by completely ignoring that it is happening. Also, "in general, the more you prepare, the worse you'll do." I prepare as much or as little as I need to to feel confident.

    I definitely believe there is such a thing as overpreparing for a speech. Just like overstudying for a test. If you work too hard, you will fry your brain and just make yourself more nervous. But I know for a fact that there is such a thing as underpreparing for a speech. I try to find a happy medium where I'm confident that I know the material, but I'm not obsessing about every detail.

    Where you are speaking and what you're speaking about may change how comfortable I am giving a speech, but the principles don't change.

  4. Wow. This article hits everything on the head. I have, multiple times, over prepared for a speech. Now, in theater, you can't over prepare because you are entertaining and you have to keep a persons attention. You know that they are judging you and you have to be perfect.
    I think that while giving a speech, your audience is typically on the same level as you (whether it be in the amount of education you have, where you work, etc). Therefore, the pressure should be less, but at least for me it isn't since the people your giving your speech usually easily understand whats being talked about.
    I also think that not preparing enough and over preparing are fine lines in speech giving. You want to have enough to say but you dont want to fret on every word. This article has helped my 'anxiety' in speech giving I think.