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2.2.7: Activities and Glossary

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    Review questions

    1. What percentage of the general population is likely dealing with CA?

    2. What are some of the potential issues or problems that can result from CA?

    3. What are some of the different ways researchers classify CA? What are the differences between these ideas?

    4. What are some of your sources of CA? Would you classify these as examples of trait-anxiety or state-anxiety?

    5. How does Cognitive Restructuring work? Does it work the same for every person who tries it?

    6. What does it mean to become conversant in your topic?

    7. Why is memorizing a presentation a risky move? Is there any part of your presentation that should be memorized?


    1. Prior to a speech, practice the following relaxation technique from Williams College (from

    a) Tighten the muscles in your toes. Hold for a count of 10. Relax and enjoy the sensation of release from tension.

    b) Flex the muscles in your feet. Hold for a count of 10. Relax.

    c) Move slowly up through your body- legs, abdomen, back, neck, face- contracting and relaxing muscles as you go.

    d) Breathe deeply and slowly.

    After your speech, evaluate the technique. Did you find that this exercise reduced your nervousness? If so, why do you think it was effective? If not, what technique do you think would have been more effective?

    2. Together with a partner or in a small group, generate a list of relaxation techniques that you currently use to relieve stress. Once you have run out of ideas, review the list and eliminate the techniques that would not work for helping you cope with nervousness before a speech. Of the remaining ideas, select the top three that you believe would help you personally and that you would be willing to try.

    3. The author of this chapter says that one of the keys to overcoming nervousness is preparation. Make a list of the barriers to your own preparation process (e.g. “I don’t know how to use the library,” or “I have young children at home who make demands on my time”). Having identified some of the things that make it difficult for you to prepare, now think of at least one way to overcome each obstacle you have listed. If you need to, speak with other people to get their ideas too.

    “Breathe and Release”
    This is a short-cut version of systematic de-sensitization appropriate for public speaking preparation.


    Cognitive Restructuring (CR)

    CR is an internal process through which individuals can deliberately adjust how they perceive an action or experience.

    Communication Apprehension

    CA is the anxiety resulting from fear of public speaking.


    Being conversant is the condition of being able to discuss an issue intelligently with others.

    Frame of Reference

    A frame of reference refers to the context, viewpoint, or set of presuppositions or of evaluative criteria within which a person's perception and thinking seem always to occur; and which constrains selectively the course and outcome of these activities.

    Scrutiny Fear

    Anxiety resulting from being in a situation where one is being watched or observed, or where one perceives themselves as being watched, is known as scrutiny fear. This sort of anxiety does not necessarily involve interacting with other people.


    State-anxiety is derived from the external situation within which individuals find themselves.

    This page titled 2.2.7: Activities and Glossary is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ron Grapsy (Public Speaking Project) .

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