Speech AnxietyCredit: http://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/teaching-public-speaking-to-literacy-or-esl-students/



Avoiding Anxiety

Public speaking can be a nerve racking and anxious experience for many people. In 2013, 3 of 4 people in the United States experienced speech anxiety. When going through speech anxiety many people experience these symptoms: shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, dry mouth, loss of words and squeaky voice. This causes a major fear of speaking in public, which is why people insist on avoiding public speaking at all costs. Although public speaking is hard to avoid, you can still prevent and conquer the major issue that arise when giving a speech. Today we are going to give you some tips on how to avoid speech anxiety and fear. First we want to ask you, “What makes you anxious or nervous?”

What makes you anxious or nervous?

Why are you scared to give a speech to the public? Is it because you believe someone will make fun of you, you don’t have a positive history with speaking, or is it simply being the center of attention? These are some of the many factors that can lead to public-speech anxiety. Figuring out which one you fear most, can help determine how to fix or solve the issue.

Lack of Good Experience

If you have no experience in public speaking, of course you are going to be scared. If you have a bad history with public speaking, it will only make it worse.

Feeling Different

When stepping on stage for the first time, you may feel like everyone is looking at you different because you are giving a speech. You may be extremely sensitive with the clothes you are wearing, style of your hair, or your smile. You may feel different than everyone else, which many don’t associate as a good thing.
Once you have determined what creates that anxiety, how can you prevent it? What are some tips and tricks you can use to get rid of or reduce anxiety?

Practice, Practice, and Practice!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice your speech before giving it. If you are confident and have an adequate amount of practice, you will eliminate a good chunk of anxiety. It’s important to begin practicing as soon as the assignment is given to you. Once you have written your outline, you must then continue practicing how you should arrange and prepare your speech. Focus on how the introduction, body and conclusion can create a good flow for your outline. Then continue to filter this outline through your head to find opportunities and mistakes to make it better.

Once you have a good understanding for your outline, you want to start doing research and preparing for your speech. Using a notecard to write down your outline and important facts is a good practicing tool to perfect your speech. Now you want to start practicing your speech out loud. Doing it out loud gives you an idea of how long it will be, builds your confidence and give you an idea of how you can present it. Next, you can find a group of friends or family that can critique you and tell you what can be improved. If you can, have them video tape the speech. This way you can watch yourself and look for mistakes that were made. 

Have Good Thoughts, Visualize Success

Before giving a speech, keep good thoughts in your head. It can reduce heart rate and reduce anxiety. I would stay away from being too confident and becoming cocky because you can set your goals to high. When you set the goal to high and don’t succeed, your speech could come crashing down on you. It can be a great learning experience but I don’t encourage it.
Visualizing success can be a very effective way to help reduce anxiety and fear. The day of the speech try to relax and see yourself succeeding. I want you to see yourself accomplishing the speech you wish you could achieve. What does a perfect speech look and feel like? Visualize yourself giving that exact speech and it will help reduce the nerves.

Use Movement

If you become anxious while sitting or standing, then get up and move around. If you need to use hand gestures to emphasis points or walk around the room to ease yourself, do it! It’s important that you do what feels comfortable while on stage.

Learn from Feedback

Finally, learn how you can improve your speech. If you can have someone record the presentation while giving the speech, it can give you great information on how to improve. Have the audience be critical and take feedback in the things that went well and what could be improved. Don’t take it as an insult, use it to learn and build on your public speaking skills.


In conclusion, focus on these main points to avoid anxiety. You first need to figure out what makes you anxious or scared. Brainstorm and figure out how you can prevent or reduce these things from conquering your speech. When you have the outline and research ready, spend the majority of your time practicing. When you have practiced all you can, take some time and visualize success, then implement your success the day of the speech. After the speech, take all the suggestions, reviews, and insults you can, to help learn from your strengths and weaknesses.


A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking, 4th Edition
Amazon Price: $899.00 $39.99 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 31, 2016)
I currently use this book in my Public Speaking class. It has helped me tremendously in becoming a better speaker and communicator.