Anxiety, stress and fear are common responses to upcoming oral reports, presentations or speaking engagements. In fact, many people consider public speaking among their worst fears in life. For some, college represents the first real test of these emotions.You may be required to speak publicly as part of a class assignment or social event. How you decide to handle this opportunity is up to you!
Remember, there are consequences and rewards to this IMPORTANT decision.
Withdraw or avoid the challenge:
1. Some people choose to avoid classes with oral presentation requirements, take a supporting role in group projects or simply choose to be “no-shows”. The short-term consequences are obvious, lower grades and diminished leadership skills. However, the long-term consequences need to be understood.
2. Choosing to avoid public speaking will feed the anxiety! As you feed it, the fear and stress will continue to grow, making it more difficult to overcome.
3. Later in life this may hinder your career or leadership opportunities. Developing the ability to overcome this fear may have a tremendous affect on your career potential or social status!
Face the challenge head on!
Breaking out of your comfort zone in any activity requires courage. Once you try something new, the second time isn’t as difficult. Public speaking becomes easier with practice.
1. Determine your stress and Anxiety level. This will help you to determine the type of support you need to overcome your fear. For example, some people may only need the support of a roommate to role-play a presentation. Others may suffer Panic Attacks for which they should consult with their school’s counseling center for strategies to overcome these feelings.
2. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Practice and preparation will reduce the stress! Procrastination and poor preparation will increase stress!
3. Develop presentation skills. Learn techniques to improve voice projection, pace and clarity.