Speech Anxiety Does Not Have To Be A Lifelong Affliction
According to studies, public speaking is the number one fear for most Americans–even surpassing death! It is safe to say that anxiety concerning speech is a huge problem in this country. While most Americans have fears concerning public speaking, there are many Americans who are afraid to speak in any capacity, even one-on-one interactions. That is the bad news. The good news is that this does not have to be the case: these anxieties can be overcome.
Finding The Right Support
Anxiety feeds on loneliness. Speech anxiety is no different. This can be a vicious cycle, as the anxiety leads to loneliness, which in turn feeds the anxiety. Turning to others for support can help break the cycle. “Support” can mean different things to different people. Here are some ways that people who suffer from speech anxieties find support:
● Confiding in close friends and family members
● Joining support groups
● Joining advocacy organizations
Many Americans who suffer anxiety (including speech-related anxiety) feel that they must suffer alone–that no one shares their particular anxieties or traumas. This could not be further from the truth: there are millions of Americans who suffer from speech anxieties and probably several thousand in your particular town. A support group can connect you to others who are going through the same thing. Members of a support group listen to each other, encourage each other, and keep each other accountable. A support group is also a safe space where you can practice speaking without fear of judgment. This brings us to our next point: practice.
Practice Helps Overcome Anxiety
Support helps to overcome anxiety. Practice also helps overcome anxiety, specifically speech anxiety. The more you practice, the easier speech will become and the less intimidating it will be. One of the best ways to overcome anxieties is to face them head-on. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sign up to give a lecture to a room full of people, though with enough help and practice you might get to the point where you are comfortable doing exactly that. The key is to start small and set manageable goals that you can meet each week. For example, if you are a student who is terrified of speaking in class, set a goal to make one comment each class session, or even each week. If you hate the thought of speaking up at a work meeting, set a goal of offering feedback at your next meeting. You may be surprised at how rewarding it feels to achieve such a goal.
Finding The Right Resources
Professional help cannot be discounted when it comes to overcoming speech-related anxiety. There are many experts and educators who have built careers out of helping people conquer speech anxiety and give the tools to acquire public speaking skills. Connecting to these resources can change your life for the better. Seeking professional help also means not facing anxiety alone. Having an expert in your corner can help you make great strides toward improving your speech and confidence.
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