Are There Different Types of Speaking Anxiety?

I was asked this question a couple of weeks ago. My initial reaction was to say ‘no’. I have since given it some thought and I still think there are not different types. However there are different levels of anxiety that are generated by different situations.

A good example would be doing a presentation to our peers. For many this can be quite daunting and can cause increased anxiety. Another example could be audience size. Some people might be comfortable speaking to an audience of 30 or less yet will experience heightened anxiety when speaking to a much larger audience.

The importance of the occasion can also trigger increased anxiety. It is a prime reason why people are so nervous talking at the wedding of a friend or family member. Peer impact is also a part of this.

Speaking to a different audience can cause anxiety to climb. I have seen this quite frequently with teachers. They speak every day to a group of 30 or more students. They don’t think twice about it. It is part of their job. Yet many teachers are intimidated when called upon to speak to a similar sized group of non-students. It could be at parent assemblies.

So while I still believe there are not different types of anxiety, there clearly are different levels of anxiety that are the result of a variety of speaking situations.

Check out my December 2016 video posts for ideas on how to manage your speaking anxiety, regardless of the situation.
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