Most of us feel some kind of discomfort when speaking in front of an audience. For some people this is so frightening that a lot of anxiety builds up by just knowing that a potential speech situation is lying ahead. Dealing with this situation also takes a lot of energy. Severe speech anxiety, for which one in five people suffer from, is characterised by that the discomfort becomes so hard to bear that you prefer not to do it at all and that you start trying to avoid speech situations to every extent.
Speech anxiety that has negative effects on your studies
In your studies there may be several compulsory elements, such as seminars or examinations, where you have to stand in front a group and give some kind of presentation. If you have speech anxiety, this, or even to have to participate in seminars and voice your opinion, will be very difficult. The situation will be experienced as uncomfortable and it is common to get physical symptoms such as dizziness, feeling out of breathe, that your heart beats fast, and/or that your legs feel weak.
You can also become paralyzed by fear of blushing in front of others and feel invaded by negative thoughts about what others will think or by negative thoughts about yourself. When this is what you experience it is easy to start avoiding situations where this can happen. It can then be difficult to manage your studies.
We can help you
At the Student Health Service we meet many students who suffer from severe speech anxiety. Some of them have dropped out of their university studies to avoid situations where they have to give presentations. If you suffer from speech anxiety that are hindering you in your studies you can call the Student Health Service telephone counselling service for advice or to book a counselling session.