What causes speech anxiety and how to overcome it?

words Alexa Wang

speech anxiety

There are so many fears in life, some that will hold you back from realizing your full potential, enjoying your relationships, and ultimately, achieving your dreams. Everyone has that one thing that they are afraid of and whether you admit it or not, you know that your life will be better off if you’d just kick your fears aside. But fear and anxiety have often been used interchangeably, though different, they’ll usually occur simultaneously. They are different in the sense that, fear relates to known threats whereas anxiety is relatively concerned with the unknown. 

Glossophobia, or what is commonly referred to as speech anxiety can, in simpler terms, be described as the fear of speaking in public. The objective of this article is to help you deal with your speech anxiety before it develops into more serious conditions such as social anxiety disorder. Not to worry though, speech anxiety is a common problem affecting millions across the globe. And while you may not be afraid to speak in public, you’ll still be uncomfortable with the idea if you’re not used to it. 

So, what causes speech anxiety and how can you overcome it?

1. Response To Past Failures

Speech anxiety can stem up from experiences in your past life. It could be a result of a poor public performance in your childhood that went horribly wrong or it could be a result of someone else’s failures. It’s never a great experience to be booed or heckled out of the stage amid a performance. And if this happened to you or to someone that you cared about, then you’ll always associate public speaking with the unpleasant experiences from your past. You can still beat speech anxiety by first, making peace with your past, taking stock from your past experiences and learning from them, and releasing the need for approval. These helpful tips will allow you to forge ahead without any regrets and with time, you’ll realize how much you’ve been held back by your anxiety. Obsessing over the past will only trap you into an emotional cocoon that will always prevent you from realizing your full potential. The fact of the matter is, you cannot change your past but you have the present to make the changes you want in shaping your future. 

2. Beliefs

speech language

Your views concerning public speaking will ultimately affect your speech. Often, persons with speech anxiety will view any public speaking event as a threat to their character, image, and credibility. In addition to this, your perception about your persona can trigger anxiety and in a way, affect your overall confidence. Your core beliefs can make or break your speech in so many ways than you can imagine and it’s the negative self-statements that often lead to stage fright.

3. Situations

Various situations can make you more anxious than others. Most people will prefer to be fluent and chatty when in their comfort zones than when subjected to strange environments. It could be that you are speaking to a new audience or introducing a new idea that’s making you nervous. Speech anxiety can also be heightened by the perception of evaluation. This is usually the case during interviews and cross-examinations.

4. Poor Preparation

It’s often said that failure to plan is planning to fail. Lack of skills in the area of public speaking is also a great contributor to speech anxiety. Learning is always a great way to increase public speaking skills because with knowledge comes increased competence and confidence.  

How To Overcome Speech Anxiety

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that speech anxiety is common and most people have at some point experienced some form of fear when speaking in public. The first two or five minutes are never easy especially when all the attention is on you. To help you out, below are tips to overcome your speech anxiety:

  • Calm your nerves by taking deep breaths
  • Challenge your beliefs and get out of your comfort zone
  • Shifting your expectations and perspectives will relieve you of fears and worries
  • Learn the art of speaking in [public by seeking opportunities
  • Seek help from a speech therapist in your area

With fear comes avoidance and this will only work towards holding you back. There are so many opportunities out there because modern businesses marketing strategies involve presentations but the key is to have a grasp of public speaking skills. Now that you know the causes of speech anxiety and how to overcome it, it will allow you to identify the areas in your life that may need adjusting before it’s too late.


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