Why does trying to speak another language make us so nervous? It’s incredible how someone can be brilliant in other highly complex subjects and have panic attacks when they have to learn another language. This is so common that there is even The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). So how can you overcome this common problem? Below are a few ideas that could help.Learning another language is hard and feeling nervous about learning it is normal. It’s like having to give a presentation about what you’ve learned every day. That’s not expected in any other subjects. You are often given weeks or at least days to prepare to present in other circumstances. Learning a language is different in so many ways.
People always experience the feeling of fear or being troubled before facing something that is challenging such as an examination, interview, test, and recital. Actually, these feelings are normal and can be easily justified. Anxiety is normal. It will become a problem if it interferes in your normal and regular daily activities. One of the most common symptoms of ineffective anxiety is the inability to sleep. If you can’t continue life dealing with the public, you might suffer from a public speaking anxiety.Public speaking anxiety is commonly termed as stage fright or speech anxiety. Public speaking anxiety involves the feeling of fear to be evaluated or scrutinized by other people. The feeling of fear is always coming with several emotional and physical reactions that usually hinder the person’s capability to deliver his presentation or speech successfully. Additional symptoms include an extreme feeling of anxiety, sweating, worry, shaking or trembling, nervousness, dizziness and fainting.
In medical terminologies, public speaking anxiety is referred to as “glossophobia.” It is a very common reported type of social fears. It is actually normal that you will experience nervousness during your presentation or speech. However, in the case of a person with a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), your feeling of anxiety during public speaking will take out and control your life. You will worry too much a few weeks to months before the date of your speech or presentation. On the day of the presentation, you will suffer from intense physical symptoms of anxiety such as pounding heart, blushing, inability to breathe, and quivering voice. These symptoms result from the flight or fight response of your body. There is a sudden release of adrenaline that prepares you for a sudden threat of danger. At this moment, you will experience loss of body control.
Short-Term Treatments of Glossophobia.If this condition interferes in your life, it can be diagnosed as under the category of SAD. Fortunately, fear of public speaking can be managed easily. Short-term treatment includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and systematic desensitization. On the other hand, if you have a public speaking anxiety that causes you to experience significant distress, you need to ask a doctor for possible referrals to a psychologist. In addition to numerous traditional ,Many people feel very anxious when they are asked to speak publicly. Anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to stressful situations, but for some, public speaking can cause more than just a fleeting anxiety attack. Learn some techniques to overcome normal and more serious feelings of anxiety.The famous author was due to deliver a short speech at a Women’s Institute meeting. Now although he was very good with words when they were written down, he was not so confident with the spoken word. In fact, he was always quite anxious about making a speech.
The Chairwoman of the local Institute made a short welcoming speech and then introduced the author and the ladies clapped. He rose slowly to his feet and approached the microphone.”Ladies,” he began, “On my way here tonight, only God and I knew what I was going to say. Now, only God knows!” And he promptly left the stage!Anxiety about making speeches is far more common than you would think.There are many strategies that can be used to help deal with anxiety caused by having to deliver a speech. One of the major reasons for anxiety is being under prepared.If you are going to paint a door, let’s say, then to do a really good job, you must prepare the surface well by rubbing it down with sandpaper. Then perhaps you need to seal the wood before applying undercoat and then one or maybe two coats of the gloss or matte paint.
That was exactly my problem. For many years my fear of speaking in public kept me from advancement in my company because even though I was very competent in my field (in fact, more competent than many of my peers), I was perceived as not being as competent as those that could speak more authoritatively than I. It got so bad I had difficulty participating effectively in large meetings where I was an expert in the discussion area. I had to do something or my career, and my life for that matter, was going to be mediocre, at best and, at worst, a dismal failure.My background was research and so I began to investigate the causes of my inordinate fear to speak in public.Simply put – what I found changed my life forever and it will change yours too.When it comes to public speaking, there are several categories of people:About 5% of the population do not fear speaking in public at all and actually look forward to it in many cases. Another 10% are apprehensive to speak in public, but do not have a real fear of it.However, the vast majority of us (about 80%) have a mild to serious fear of speaking in public; we don’t do it unless we have to and we tend to minimize the opportunities to speak in public if at all possible;
About a week before the speech try to build up a positive image of yourself giving the speech really well. ‘See’ yourself standing confidently and relaxed in front of your audience. ‘See’ the audience listening intently to you and laughing naturally at your jokes. ‘Listen’ to the applause after the speech is finished. Do this several times a day for a week or so before the day of your speech.Now that you have done your preparation in the lead up to speech day, you can concentrate on helping yourself on the day.Relaxation techniques such as breathing deeply and slowly in and out as you are being introduced can be very good for putting your body at ease. Something else to try at the same time might be to tighten and slowly relax various muscle groups. Not necessarily in any order these might include; the thigh muscles, calf muscles, the muscles in your arms, shoulders and back. This should relieve any tension in your body so that you can concentrate on your delivery.
One of the things which can always relieve tension in any activity is an injection of some humour. Distractions are a well-known way of relieving tension and a humorous thought or mind picture can certainly play a very good part in distracting you away from your nervousness just before and even during your speech.Various silly suggestions have been put forward as to what would be a good distraction such as imagining the audience sitting there completely naked or looking like rows of carrots or other vegetables. Silly is used here in the sense of being something to laugh at. If you can do this, without actually laughing, it could be a way for you to ease your own tension.
Once you have your game plan prepared, imagine yourself giving the speech. Visualization is a technique that helps you become familiar with the event. Imagine you are giving the speech in front of a big group. The more you practice the material and the more you see yourself doing it, the less anxious you will be. It is alright to have an error or two. Many people, as mentioned before, think that every word or every sentence must be perfect. Keep in mind that your audience does not know what you have planned for them. If you omit a word or sentence, they will not notice it.
During the week leading up to the speech, try to imagine any negative thoughts you might have about giving the speech. Write down as many as you can, without thinking about anything else. Then go through your list and make a positive story to counteract each negative thought you wrote down. Add to your list as and when you think of other negative thoughts you might have.On the day of your speech, try to make sure that you counteract any negative thoughts you might have with the positive stories you made up in the week before speech day.Before going on stage, while waiting in the special room allocated to you if you have one, or maybe outside away from other people if you don’t, you could try to explain away the ‘butterflies’ that we all have. Emphasise, for example, that they are not something emotional like being ‘scared to death’. They are actually a physical reaction brought about by your brain’s response to the stress that it detects. When someone is anxious the brain releases additional amounts of a chemical called adrenalin into the blood stream. This has the physical effect of making the stomach contract and interferes with digestion.
As I mentioned, it is adrenaline that creates our symptoms of fear and anxiety completely out of our control. But what if you could control the adrenaline your body creates- then you would be in control!! That is what my research discovered and that is what I can show you how to do – control the adrenaline your body creates by taking a safe, inexpensive and non-addictive medication. And once I show you, you can do it anytime you want, on demand – just 15 minutes before a speaking engagement or performance.No you don’t and here’s why – Taking the medication during public speaking engagements over a period of time, allows the brain to re-think how it feels about speaking in public. With the medication, each public speaking event will increase your confidence as you realize you don’t look or feel frightened. Your brain will eventually understand that public speaking is not the threatening situation that it has assumed. The medication can make it much easier to transition through the period of fearing to speak in public and being confident to speak in public. Because of this, the medication should not be considered a “crutch”, but rather a “training aid” that will allow you to re-train your brain to understand that speaking in public does not require an overabundance of adrenaline in order to survive.