MacIntyre, P. D., Thivierge, K. A., et al (1997) postulate that anxiety is the unease feeling that people develop like fear or worry and can be severe or just mild. Everybody at a certain time experiences anxiety be it when they want to address a large crowds, sit for exams or even during job interviews, which is very normal for people to experience. However, when the fear, or the worry is uncontrollable and pushing a person so much to an extent that it affects his or her activities then it that case it could be a symptom of a disease or it could be an anxiety disorder-mental health problem. When a person is addressing the people, in the case of public speaking, for instance the first time or a new audience, one can suffer from an anxiety attack especially if one is nor a regular public speaker. Palpitations, sweating, accelerated heartbeat, shaking or trembling is some evidence that a person has anxiety.
To look at the various means by which anxiety can be eliminated, I first analyzed the article on the effects of speaker personality on anticipated reactions to public speaking. From the article, there are certain issues that comes out clearly to be associated with speaker anxiety; evaluation of their speeches, audience agreeableness, fear arising from negative opinion, (Macintyre, P. D., & Thivierge, K. A. 1995). Results from a research conducted by the university students from the article identify that emotional stability of the speaker and his or her intellect also contributed greatly to their anxiety. The text states that there are certain global traits which are significant in the public speaking arena.
your paper for you
These traits include extraversion which means the sociability, or the ability to freely interact with people. Agreeableness is another factor, and it means the pleasantness, conscientiousness which is being trustworthy and being well organized, (Macintyre, P. D., & Thivierge, K. A. 1995). This allows a person to be ready for public speaking and his or her audience can develop some level of trust with him hence some good response during the time of speech delivery like cheers and screams makes a person confident before delivering their speech.
Another trait defined is the emotional stability. Emotional stability is generally the calm and absence of any nervousness, within an even-tempered person. This is very vital during public speaking as it helps the speaker to know how to react to the audience, control the crowds and strike a raptor with his or her listeners. The final trait postulated is the faculty of the intellect of a person. This intellect refers to the openness to embrace new experiences hence a speaker is safe from anxiety and cannot be intimidated by an audience that seems to be wild.
The article notes that some reasons or factors that often cause anxiety to speakers is the judgement or opinion by which they perceive the audience to have against them. In a research conducted by university students, they were asked about their opinion concerning the way the audience could view them. They feared that the audience could judge them very harshly or could have a mean opinion on them. This a personality trait that influences their anxiety towards public speaking. On the same note, the stage fright has been highlighted as some issue that can cause anxiety to the speaker. This is the sight of reception that the speaker meets when he gets to arena of where he or she is supposed to issue the speech to the audience. Some people will naturally tense before they recover their confidence back. That is why, it is encouraged to avoid anxiety by being mentally prepared. The first article clearly points to the fact that there are certain personality traits that have effects to public speaking. These could be natural traits like the faculty of the intellect which helps a person to be anxious easily, calmness and open-mindedness to new ideas.
On the second article, which is addressing the impact the audience have in their interest to the topic under discussion, their evaluation and thoughts on the addressed topic, results or influence public speaking anxiety. The article is very invaluable in the theory of communications as it is a contribution to the field of public speaking anxiety. It recognizes the extent to which anxiety have affected communications as postulated by other scholars, specifically on the field of public speaking; the effect of anxiety to the quality of the speech and the perception that the audience have towards the speaker. However, it recognizes the gap that exists on the actions of the audience that contributes to the anxiety of the speaker in public speaking, hence it closes the gap.
The article is very clear and specific on the various activities that the audience engages in or the speaker perceives the audience to be engaging in that causes them to experience anxiety. The article singled out three key issues that cause the anxiety to the public speaker from the audience; the degree to which the audience is interested in a topic, the degree and manner to which the audience is responding to the speaker during speech delivery and the level to which the audience will evaluate the speech they have been given. In addition to the three issues, the willingness of the speaker to issue the speech and the quality of the speech he or she delivers are factors in the contribution to anxiety.
The interest that the audience develops in a topic creates anxiety or at times does not create the anxiety. A speaker who is interested in the speech delivery alone believes that he audience is there to listen to his or her speech hence the level of anxiety is likely to be very low. Subsequently, there is the second speaker who might believe that the success of the speech delivery depends on him/her and uses other forms of communications to deliver the speech. In this scenario, should the audience not respond very well then the speaker is likely to face anxiety. Secondly, the audience response during speech delivery is very critical in the determining public speaking anxiety. For example, in the case where a speaker is issuing speeches, and the audience is not responding very well, then the speaker can have mental thoughts that the audience is telling him/her that you are talking to me, but I have no idea of what you are saying. This reaction causes anxiety to the speaker more so if the speaker is a nervous one.
Consequently, if the audience is responding with the non-verbal communication behaviors, it means that they are paying attention to the issues being addressed and have interest in the topic of discussion. This reaction helps even the nervous speaker to gain confidence and hence reduction of anxiety. Thirdly, the formal evaluation of speech creates anxiety when the speaker knows that his speech is going to be under scrutiny. He/she will be focusing on the response of the audience and other factors that may lead to anxiety. On the case where the speech will not be formally evaluated, the speaker will be very calm and relaxed hence reducing the anxiety level.
From the above discussion that incorporated the articles there are various ways to which a speaker can avoid anxiety. It is advisable for a speaker to be informed on the nature of their audience before speaking to them. Bu nature I mean that the speaker should interrogate who the audience is, (children, adults, male, female, and elderly professional) this helps him/her to know the approach, tone and language to use with them. This will identify with the audience hence reducing anxiety. Knowing the type of the audience will be very significant as it will also help the speaker to identify or to know the expectations of the audience. Known expectations are very helpful as the speaker will try to deliver content or meet this expectation.
The nature and manner of content delivery will be critical in reducing nervousness and hence anxiety. The speaker should use the right language for the audience. For example if the audience is a religious group the language must be of that background. The speaker should hen go out of the way during the delivery to engage with the audience in terms to asking questions or issues that stimulates their reactions positively like a slight prepared joke during the introduction of the speech. Using other none verbal ques of communications like the tonal variation and body language keeps the audience captivated. A captivated audience means that the speaker is on the right path and the audience is paying attention to his or her speech.
The speaker is advisable to do a comprehensive research on the topic to deliver a speech on. A well-researched topic has quality of content to deliver. In a quality of content, the audience will be captivated and interested in the speech delivery and will participate by asking question, laughing, and nodding their heads. This will help a great deal in reducing nervousness on the side of the speech giver, and hence lowering anxiety. It is very important also to add that the manner of dressing is very critical to public speaking. A well-dressed public speaker reduces unnecessary criticism and reaction from the audience.
- Macintyre, P. D., & Thivierge, K. A. (1995). The effects of speaker personality on anticipated reactions to public speaking. Communication Research Reports, 12(2), 125-133.
- MacIntyre, P. D., Thivierge, K. A., & MacDonald, J. R. (1997). The effects of audience interest, responsiveness, and evaluation on public speaking anxiety and related variables. Communication research reports, 14(2), 157-168.