Public Speaking Anxiety


According to the American Psychiatric Association, 2000 13% of Americans suffer from social phobia. Out of this number 40% of them were found to have public speaking anxiety as the main illness that they are suffering from. In this paper we will discuss some of the issues raised by Graham D. Bodie, (2010) in his article on how to define, explain and treat public speaking. 

A lot of study has gone into understanding public speaking. This means that a lot of time and resources have been used for this. Many research studies have tried to explain what causes public speaking anxiety. There have been many theories and systems to try and expound this topic. Graham has focused on three systems that distinguish the meaning of Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA). 

Public speaking anxiety causes various events within our bodies (Anderson, Zimand, Hodges, & Rothbaum, 2005). This ensures that we are not able to performs to our full potential. This is due to either unpreparedness or fear of failing. There are also other causes of this type of anxiety. While the real cause of PSA is highly hypothesized one can clearly say that there is connection in how one grows up and the environment. 

There are various therapy related ways of treating public speaking anxiety. Many of the discovered therapies have their own shortcoming. This is due to the fact that most of them have not been fully proven to end PSA. It’s important that more research goes into this topic especially with the modernization of the world. Most careers depend on the ability of an individual to speak in public (Katz, 2000). To be able to progress in your career eventually you will need to lead other people within your industry. This makes it almost compulsory that you will need to learn how to communicate with others publicly. 

It’s important the people understand how public speaking can be inculcated into an individual while they are still young. In case they have this challenge, it needs to start being addresses at this young age. This is to enable them achieve the full potential of their life which as discussed is not possible with this phobia.

Research has been done and one needs to appreciate the progress made so far. However, this now needs to be taken to the next level. Researchers in this field have focused mostly on treating and defining public speaking anxiety (Katz, 2000). Many researchers have found the determinants that they have then used to come up with theories which end up in treatment of the available evidence. Care should however be taken so that symptoms are not treated and the main illness left. 

It’s obvious that there are still gaps in the research on public speaking anxiety. The illness needs to be discovered early and therapy sessions begin even when one is young. This is due to the influence that this challenge will have on the individual upon growing up. Public speaking should also be included as part of the education system which will be trained mostly in the early stages of education. This will ensure that the problem is treated early and those that have this challenge can achieve to their fullest in life.

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  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author
  2. Anderson, Page L., et al. “Cognitive behavioral therapy for publicspeaking anxiety using virtual reality for exposure.” Depression and anxiety 22.3 (2005): 156-158.
  3. Bodie, Graham D. “A racing heart, rattling knees, and ruminative thoughts: Defining, explaining, and treating public speaking anxiety.” Communication Education 59.1 (2010): 70-105.
  4. Katz, Louise. “Public speaking anxiety.” UTM Counseling and Career Services 1 (2000): 1-3.
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