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What is speech anxiety and how can it be controlled?

Study guide

Speech is one of the most common fears among people that causes anxiety and other unpleasant physical reactions in speakers.

What is speech anxiety?

Glossophobia is a very real fear that affects millions of people around the world. Approximately 75% of people experience some anxiety for public speaking; So if you are anxious about this, you are not alone. This fear is more common than you think.

The most important thing to remember is that it is quite normal to feel anxious to present in front of a large or small crowd. Hopefully; You can get over this anxiety easily.

Fear or anxiety?

Both anxiety and fear can cause similar reactions in the human mind and body. Fear, however, is a reaction to an immediate and external threat; And anxiety can occur without any immediate threat. Anxiety grows bit by bit rather than instantaneously. So in the weeks leading up to your talk, you may feel anxious, and you may experience complete fear just before you step on the stage.

Overcoming Speech Anxiety

Organizations such as the International Organization of Speakers help anxious speakers practice and build support networks to bring their anxiety to a manageable level. In addition to lecturing courses, many self-help sources have discussed speech anxiety. Tips for better eye contact, standing posture, and lecturing, as well as how to reduce anxiety before and during lectures, are common areas covered in books and lectures.

The most important thing to have confidence in speech is preparation and practice. This is important for both novice and experienced speakers. Utilizing aids such as providing excellent PowerPoint presentation, video, audio, boards, and spreadsheets that are distributed to the audience also help smooth transitions between slides and breaks during practice. Other benefits of exercise include:

  • Set the correct speed for presentation
  • Practice in front of others and get feedback to improve speech
  • Rehearsal in the same place where you are going to give a speech; Resulting in increased comfort
  • Investigate any possible sound problems, which can be achieved by recording the sound or listening carefully to your own voice during practice.

Presenters can reduce their anxiety and have a solid and confident speech with well-rehearsed and well-rehearsed speeches.

Situational Anxiety

Situational anxiety, also called stage anxiety, is a short-term form of speech anxiety.

Scarecrow is, in fact, a constant anxiety, fear, or panic that may be triggered by the need to perform in front of an audience that is or is not physically present (for example, when performing in front of a camera). In the case of lectures, this may occur before or during any activity during the presentation.

In some cases, phobias may be part of a larger pattern of social phobia or social anxiety disorder; But most people experience a panic attack without any major problems. Almost all of the time, the horror scene is aroused simply while waiting for a performance, and often much earlier than the performance. This type of anxiety has many symptoms:

  • heart beat;
  • Vibration of hands and feet;
  • Sweating of the palms;
  • nausea;
  • Nervous tics on the face
  • Dry mouth.

People and situations that cause anxiety

Scarecrows may be seen in people with all kinds of experiences and backgrounds; From people who are quite new to being in public to people who have been doing it for years. Scarecrow is usually familiar to ordinary people and may affect a person’s self-esteem in a job interview. This anxiety also affects actors, comedians, musicians and politicians. Many people may experience stage fright or anxiety; But some people with chronic phobias experience social anxiety or social panic, which means feeling very anxious in any social situation. Scaredness is seen even in school situations, such as standing up and answering teacher questions or lectures and presentations.

Effects of situational anxiety

When someone feels scared or worried, they are experiencing anxiety. “Anxiety usually has physical symptoms,” according to the Harvard Mental Health Newsletter. “Symptoms of anxiety may include increased heart rate, dry mouth, tremors, flushing, tremors, sweating and nausea.” (And of course these signs go beyond shyness). This anxiety ignites in the body to activate the autonomic nervous system. This process occurs when the body releases adrenaline into the bloodstream, causing a chain of reactions. This bodily reaction is known as war or flight syndrome, which is a natural process in the body to protect itself from harm. “گرد The neck muscles contract; They lower the head and raise the shoulders; The back muscles, on the other hand, form a concave curve of the spine. “These things, in turn, cause the body to become a classic embryonic state.” (Scarecrow Management).

In an attempt to resist this situation, the body begins to tremble in places such as the limbs. A few other things may happen next to it. Muscles contract in a state of contraction, stiffness, and ready to attack. Second, the blood vessels constrict sharply. This may cause a cold sensation in the fingers, toes, nose and corners. Shrinking blood vessels send more blood flow to vital organs.

In addition, people who experience phobias have high blood pressure, which provides the body with nutrients and oxygen in response to war or flight instincts. This causes the body to become hot and sweaty. Breathing increases so that the body can get the proper oxygen to the muscles and organs of the body. The pupils dilate, which prevents the speaker from reading any notes at close range. However, distance vision improves and the speaker becomes more aware of the audience’s facial expressions and nonverbal cues in response to his performance. Eventually, the digestive system fails to prepare for energy for an immediate emergency response. This can cause effects such as dry mouth, nausea or dizziness.

Character Anxiety

Anxiety is a form of neurological disorder; And there is long-term anxiety about any thought about speech.

When we talk about speech anxiety, we prefer to define it in two different ways. Situational anxiety, which is triggered by immediate and specific events, and character anxiety, which refers to a longer-term type of anxiety. Characteristic anxiety has a constant tendency to react with anxiety in predicting threatening situations. Characteristic anxiety usually develops over time and may be the result of a neurological disorder. This type of anxiety may be conscious or unconscious.


People who score high on psychiatry experience more feelings of anxiety, anger, jealousy, guilt, and depression than the average person in society. They respond less well to environmental stress and are more likely to interpret normal situations as threatening and minor frustrations as frustrating. In fact, this group of people has a lesser defense mechanism against threatening situations.

Symptoms of psychosis are often shyness and lack of self-confidence, which makes things like lectures impossible to do. Do not be afraid: There is still hope. You may also experience character anxiety when you think of standing up and speaking in front of a crowd of any size; This type of anxiety causes an immediate feeling of panic and may affect your mental state for hours, days or even weeks.

Speech neuropathy may be due to an event you experienced as a young person; For example, you have been criticized or ridiculed in front of a group of people; Or maybe it is the suffering and obsession that has always been with you. But anyway, do not worry; By understanding the type of anxiety and its intelligent management and with the help of an expert counselor, you can significantly reduce your anxiety before each speech.


What is speech anxiety and how can it be controlled?

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