The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students receive tips on overcoming speaking fears

By Mona Lisa Tucker/reporter

Fear of public speaking, also known as glossophobia, is one of the most commonly reported social fears, a South Campus coordinator told students last week.

“For people with presentation anxiety, the idea of a speech or final project can cause unnecessary stress during an already stressful time,” said Chris Carcerano of the center for academic success during the Conquering Presentation Fear seminar on Oct. 5.

Physical symptoms during a presentation include shaking, blushing, a pounding heart, quivering voice and shortness of breath.

“Presentational anxiety is common,” he said.

Even if you don’t like to speak in front of people, it is an essential skill in the professional world, Carcerano said.

Stress will always be there. How students deal with it is essential to what they are trying to do, he said.

Lack of self-confidence can affect thinking, feelings, behavior and body language.

Labeling oneself unconfident means failing to appreciate the things one does well, he said.

Students can choose from many ways to prepare for presentations that can help build their confidence and hone their presentational skills.

“Before preparing your speech, soak yourself in the topic you plan to cover,” he said.

Students should seek the advice of experts on their topic, Carcerano said. Sometimes they can learn more in a short interview with an expert than in hours of study on the subject.

“Practice your speech in front of supportive friends and family,” he said. “Ask for constructive criticism. Practicing in front of people in a comfortable environment will increase your confidence.”

Carcerano said students should keep stress from having a negative impact on their presentations.

He said students should take slow deep breaths and visualize a positive outcome as they approach the event.

He told them not to let an audience know they are nervous.

“If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you’ll only be calling attention to it,” he said.

Most of the time nervousness does not show at all, so if one doesn’t say anything about it, nobody will notice, Carcerano said.

Attire is also important for success, he said.

“Choose an outfit that you are comfortable in, that makes you feel good and that is appropriate for the occasion,” he said.

Avoid the three “C’s” — coffee, cola and chocolate. Remember they can be high in caffeine and sugar and a deadly concoction on the day of a speech, he said.

Carcerano said students should be encouraging rather than disparaging to themselves.

“Don’t beat yourself up metaphorically for every mistake you spotted,” he said. “Maybe the first step is just to survive and be able to stand up in front of the class.”

Focusing on the content alleviates one’s fears during the presentation, Carcerano said.

“As you speak, allow yourself to become immersed in the topic and how it will help the members of your audience,” he said.

Maintaining good eye contact is another aid.

“When you have good eye contact with your audience, they will feel more connected to what you are saying,” he said.

Student Ladonia Jones found the seminar to be insightful and eye-opening.

Carcerano told the students to acknowledge their fear, but tell themselves, “I’m going to do it anyway.”

“If you believe you’re a success or failure, you are,” he said.

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