Two Anxiety-Driven Habits That Increase Fear of Public Speaking

Public Speaking pic

Public Speaking
Image: instituteofpublicspeaking.com

Barrett Wragg has worked at T. Rowe Price in Maryland for approximately 15 years. Outside of work, Barrett Wragg maintains an interest in public speaking and has volunteered with the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. Many people have anxiety about the thought of speaking publicly, and this issue can lead to behaviors that actually increase their level of fear.

The first problematic behavior is rushing through the speech. People often begin to speak quickly because they simply want the experience to be over as quickly as possible. This behavior, however, interferes with proper breathing. Short, shallow breaths can increase feelings of panic. Speaking quickly also creates a barrier between the speaker and the audience, which could struggle to understand. This issue relates directly to the second bad habit.

Anxious speakers sometimes ignore the audience because they think that this will make them feel less at ease. Ignoring the audience compels speakers to concentrate on their own thoughts, which tend to be much more negative than any reaction that the audience would have. Speakers then become even less receptive and wind up feeling worse than if they had welcomed audience interaction.