How can Building Confidence for Speeches and Talks! help with public speaking?

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This compact disc is designed for the 7th grader through adult learner. Many potentially good students become afraid of taking giving speeches in middle-school or junior high or above, become anxious when they are required to take speech classes in high school or college or need to upgrade their public speaking skills as adults.

The program does not provide the content or the classroom audience of a speech course. There are many books and CDs which do that. But anxiety about giving speeches is more basic.  Although you may not be aware of it, muscle tension automatically generates anxious thoughts in the "back of the mind." Distracting or anxious thoughts before and during a speech can block your ability to develop your materials to explain your topic or to encourage your audiences.

Early in the 20th century, the Russian psychologist, Pavlov, found he could change a dog's behavior by conditioning.  American psychologists later found humans could condition away many of their own anxieties by combining muscle relaxation and visualization.

This CD packages these skills for use at home.  The first two audio tracks explain how the program works, describe the muscle tensing and relaxing exercises and describe the mental visualization exercises.  Tracks 3-12 each provide one step from being asked to give a talk to completing the speech. Please repeat tracks 3-12 five to ten times and visualize each specific step calmly before moving on to the next track or step in the program.

I believe that combining deep relaxation with repeated visualization reroutes thoughts about preparing and giving speeches from the "emotional part" of the central brain to the "thought-and-plan-processing parts" of the frontal lobes of the brain.  Then you can plan your materials more clearly and deliver them more calmly to your audience.

A pretest of how you feel about giving speeches and talks follows the comments below.

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A comment from a business leader: "Your CD has had a huge effect on me and my co-workers. I no longer feel anxious or nervous to stand up in front of groups to speak. Before that, my whole inner core was tight, but I didn’t realize it. One of the images you used on the CD clicked for me. I could use that image and say to myself, “Relax,” and I was okay! It applied to another situation when I had to introduce the company president and his wife and I was afraid I would forget his wife’s name. I thought, “Relax.” and I was okay. After that I had to introduce awards before 150 people and I was okay."

A comment from a business owner: "I played the program 10 times. First, I was surprised how relaxed it made me. The program let me focus on what I had to do for my audience. It helped me put my energy into the presentation, not into my nervousness."

Published Validation Study:  James W. Lohr and Marianne L. McManus, "The Development of an Audio-Taped Treatment for Systematic Desensitization of Speech Anxiety, "The Central States Speech Journal," 24 (1975): 215-20.  (This was the initial validation study comparing therapist-lead sessions with audio-taped sessions using this method.)  "There was no difference in effectiveness between the therapist and audiotaped treatments for systematic desensitization of speech anxiety.  The absence of a live therapist did not appear to affect the students negatively.  Most preferred the privacy of automated condition.  Since these individuals are primarily anxious about communication, they may attain undisturbed relaxation in the audiotaped condition.  This undisturbed relaxation is essential for changing the students' prior anxious responses to public speaking situations to relaxed responses."

Please select how you feel, or would feel, at each time.

1. I am asked (requested/required) to give a talk (presentation/speech).

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

2. I select the topic for the talk.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

3. I prepare the talk.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

4. I wait for the time to speak.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

5. It is just before I speak.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

6. I walk up to give the talk.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

7. I deliver the talk.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

8. The audience knows less about my topic than I had expected.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

9. I must shorten the talk unexpectedly.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

10. The audience is hostile or critical.

1 - Always Calm
2 - Usually Calm
3 - OK
4 - Usually Nervous
5 - Always Nervous

Total Score from 50 Possible Points *

* If your total score is 30 or above or if you scored "4" or "5" on two or more individual items, this program may help you.