Conquering Fears ofSpeaking in PublicPart of the “belonging” concept of the Essential Elements of 4-H YouthDevelopment is that youth know they are cared about by others and feel asense of connection to others in the group. This "fellowship" has alwaysbeen an important part of a 4-H experience. 4-H gives youth the opportunityto feel physically and emotionally safe while actively participating in a group.Research suggests that a sense of belonging may be the single mostpowerful positive ingredient we can bring into the lives of children and youth.Working in clubs through 4-H strengthens and reinforces social skills that willallow youth to co-exist and thrive with others in society. Success in life rarelycomes to an individual without some type of personal interaction with others.4-H members learn early on the value of cooperation in their project workand activities.4-H can greatly help the members to interact with others and to overcome acommon fear: the fear of speaking in public. The mere thought of speakingbefore an audience can be paralyzing to youth and adults alike. Delivering ademonstration or talk from beginning to end in front of a group can beequally daunting and scary. Taking small steps of getting youth up front in asafe environment such as 4-H will begin to help youth overcome the fear ofspeaking in public.1

Objectives To help youth identify what makesthem scared of speaking in public.To help youth learn to plan for andaround stage nerves.To help youth build theircommunications skills though simplespeaking opportunities.In this session, we’ll focus on these objectives.2

Objective #1To help youth identify what makesthem scared of speaking in public.3

Group ActivityDoes speaking in public scareyou?To help us overcome our fears, it's a good idea to first identify what it is thatis making us afraid.Instructors: follow notes listed on lesson plan for procedures to lead thisactivity.4

Common Public SpeakingFears Boring the audience to sleepBurping uncontrollablyTeeth chatteringPeople laughing at themTripping on the way up to the stageOthers?5

Discussion Questions What other fears can you think of? Are you surprised at all the things people fearabout public speaking? What might you do to prevent some of thesefears from coming true? What is at least one solution or problemsolving technique for each fear we havelisted? What nervous symptoms have you hadbefore or while speaking in public?Instructors: follow notes on lesson plan.6

Objective #2To help kids learn to plan for andaround stage nerves.Now that we have identified our fears of speaking in public, let's take a lookat some ways that we can overcome our stage nerves.7

Plan and Prepare Proper preparation and rehearsal canhelp to reduce fear by about 75%. Proper breathing techniques can furtherreduce this fear by 15%. Your mental state accounts for theremaining 10%.To plan for and around stage fears, you must be aware of your anxieties andplan ahead to overcome them.8

10 Steps to ReduceSpeaking FearsThere are 10 steps you can take to help you reduce your speaking fears.9

1. Know the Room Arrive early and walk around the room.Stand up front by lectern or podium.Test out the microphone if using one.Walk around where the audience will beseated. Walk from where you will be seated tothe place where you will be speaking.Become familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early and walkaround the room including the speaking area. Stand at the lectern/podium.Speak into the microphone. Walk around where the audience will be seated.Walk from where you will be seated to the place where you will be speaking.10

2. Know the Audience Try to greet some of the audience andchat with them. Friends are easier to talk to than agroup of strangers.If possible, greet some of the audience as they arrive and chat with them. Itis easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.11

3. Know Your Material Speak about things you know or thatinterest you. Study your material until you know it. Practice your speech.Only speak about things you know well or that interest you, so you feelconfident you have something to offer the audience. If you are not familiarwith your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness willincrease. Practice your speech or presentation and revise it until you canpresent it with ease.12

4. Learn How to Relax Sit comfortably with your back straight. Breathe in slowly, hold your breath for 4to 5 seconds, and then slowly exhale. To relax your facial muscles, open yourmouth wide and eyes wide, and thenclose them tightly. Pause and openthem again.You can ease tension by doing exercises. Sit comfortably with your backstraight. Breathe in slowly, hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds, and thenslowly exhale. To relax your facial muscles, open your mouth and eyes wide,and then close them tightly. Pause, and open them again.13

5. Visualize YourselfSpeaking Imagine yourself walking confidently tothe lectern. Imagine yourself speaking, your voiceloud, clear, and assured. When you visualize yourself assuccessful, you will be successful.Imagine yourself walking confidently to the lectern as the audience applauds.Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear, and assured. When youvisualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.14

6. Realize People WantYou to Succeed Audiences want speakers to beinteresting, informative, andentertaining. They want you to succeed, not to fail.All audiences want speakers to be interesting, stimulating, informative, andentertaining. They want you to succeed, not to fail. If you get nervousspeaking in front of strangers, try to chat with a few members of theaudience before you give your speech. This helps establish contact andmakes you feel as though you’re on friendly ground.15

7. Don't Apologize forBeing Nervous Most nervousness does not show. If you don't say anything, nobody maynotice.Most of the time your nervousness does not show at all. If you don’t sayanything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness orapologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you’ll onlybe calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may nothave noticed at all.16

8. Concentrate on YourMessage Your nervous feelings will ease as youfocus your attention away from yourfears. Concentrate on your message and youraudience, not yourself.Your nervous feelings will dissipate if you focus your attention away fromyour anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience, notyourself.17

9. Turn Nervousness intoPositive Energy The same nervous energy that causesstage fright can be an asset to you. Transform this energy into vitality andenthusiasm in delivering your speech.The same nervous energy that causes stage fright can be an asset to you.Harness it, and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm. Learn a quickstress-reducing routine for relaxing your neck, shoulder and facial musclesjust before giving your talk.18

10. Gain Experience Experience builds confidence andreduces anxieties. Volunteer to speak when possible tobuild your confidence.Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. Mostbeginning speakers find their anxieties decrease after each speech theygive.If the fear of public speaking causes you to prepare more, then the fear ofspeaking serves as its own best antidote.Remember, he who fails to prepare is preparing for failure!Professional speakers say that preparation and practice are the two mostcritical things to do before delivering a speech. When you feel prepared andhave practiced delivering the speech, the butterflies that you feel in yourstomach will fly into formation very quickly. After that initial release of thevoice at the podium, the butterflies begin to settle and the nerves begin tocalm.19

Objective #3To help youth build theircommunications skills thoughsimple speaking opportunities.To help give youth opportunities to practice their speaking in public, you canbegin in a 4-H Club setting, which can be referred to as a learninglaboratory. You, as the leader, should set the stage for a safe learningenvironment. A safe learning environment in this case means that youth canmake mistakes and try new things without being ridiculed or made to feelless than a whole person. You, as the volunteer leader or advisor of the club,set the tone for a fun, positive, and safe learning environment through youractions and handling of mistakes.There are a number of methods by which we can help youth build theircommunications skills by providing them with simple speaking opportunities.In this objective, we’ll look at some of these options.20

Methods for ProvidingPublic SpeakingOpportunities21

Meeting Roll Call As the roll is read, have each memberstand and give an audible response to aquestion. Options to consider– What is your favorite 4-H project?– What is your favorite dessert?– What do you like best about 4-H?When doing roll call in your meetings, have youth stand to give their audibleresponse to a question.Sample questions might include:What is your favorite 4-H Project?What is your favorite dessert?What do you like best about 4-H?22

Officer & Member Reports Ask officers and members to standwhen addressing the group. This accomplishes three things:– It gives the speaker presence to the group.– The club members or audience can hearand focus on the speaker.– It gives the speaker practice with standingup and facing the group in a nonthreatening way.Have the officers and members stand when addressing the group. Thisaccomplishes three things:It gives the speaker presence to the group.The club members or audience can hear and focus on the speaker.It gives the speaker practice with standing up and facing the group in a nonthreatening way.23

Other OpportunitiesArrange for youth to speak to the club orgroup. They might share a:– One-minute demonstration or illustratedtalk– Completed 4-H project from last year in ashow-n-tell format– Full-blown demonstration– Short speech for contest– Skit or share-the-fun act or talentArrange for youth to speak to the club or group. They might share a: One-minute demonstration or illustrated talk Completed 4-H project from last year in a show-n-tell format Full-blown demonstration Short speech for contest Skit or share-the-fun act or talentWhat other ideas came to your mind as you heard these options?(Allow time for responses.)24

Demonstrations &Illustrated Talks25

Demonstrations andillustrated talks can helpmembers Gain self-confidence,Learn to speak before a group,Increase knowledge about a project,Develop leadership skills,Learn to organize materials in a logicalsequence, and Develop skill in putting words and actionstogether.Suggestions for using demonstrations in your club can be found inpublication 4-H 689c-W, Demonstrations and Illustrated Talks.Instructor note: distribute a copy of 4-H 689c-W publication to eachparticipant.26

“Fun Box” Demonstrations Contain a variety of everyday items– Shoe and shoelace, band-aid andointment, screwdriver and screw, etc. Member is asked or volunteers to selectan item Member then talks about this item for 30seconds to one minuteAs we have discussed earlier, getting up in front of a group can be a scaryexperience for a younger member. Talks or demonstrations for beginningmembers should be short, even as short as 30 seconds at first, and aboutsomething familiar to the member. The “fun box” is a simple way to introducedemonstrations to your club.Here are simple directions to create a fun box:Create a “fun box” containing a variety of different, familiar, every-day items(suggested items: shoe and shoelace; band-aid and first-aid ointment;hammer, nail, and board; screwdriver and screw; can and can opener;needle and spool of thread; balloon; toothbrush and paste; instant cameraand film; tape measure; pencil and pencil sharpener, items from the kitchen,etc. The list is endless.)Select members to look through the “fun box” and pick some item or items totalk about for 30 seconds to one minute.27

“Grab Bag”Demonstrations Ask a member to select a bag that containsall items needed for a short demonstration. The member prepares what to say about theitems during the first part of the meeting. Then the member talks about the items for 13 minutes. An example “grab bag” demonstration wouldinclude all of the items needed to show howto properly measure sugar, flour, or bakingsoda.“Grab Bag” Demonstrations would be another option to consider. At thebeginning of the meeting, a member selects a bag that has a complete kit ofitems needed to do a short demonstration. During the first part of themeeting, the member prepares what he or she will say about the items. Themember then talks about these items or demonstrates how to use orcomplete the process for maybe 1-3 minutes.An example of these grab bag kits would include a kitchen measuring kit withmeasuring spoons or measuring cups along with two bowls, a leveling knifeand a supply of sugar, flour, baking soda or another common measuringmaterial to demonstrate to the club on how to measure.28

Contests At the county, area, and/or state levels, 4-Hmembers can enter contests in:– Demonstrations or Illustrated Talk Presentation based on a certain subject matter area Supported by visual aids– Public Speaking Speech based on an annual theme– Action Demos An exhibit option in some projects Presentation given to the general public multiple timesregarding some aspect of the 4-H projectMore information about each of these options is available upon request fromthe Extension Office.Do you see other ways you can provide the opportunities to build theircommunications skills within your 4-H program?29

Demonstration PracticeTo provide practice for the volunteers, have a "Fun Box" prepared and a few"Grab Bags" and select a few people from the audience to carry out a "FunBox" Demonstration and a "Grab Bag" Demonstration.30

Conclusion and Quiz31

Sources 4-H Communication Activities. (4-H 689-W, 2007).4-H Youth Development, West Lafayette, IN: PurdueUniversity Extension Service Communication Toolkit: Fun Skill-Building Activitiesto Do with Kids. (4-H 1560, n.d.) 4-H YouthDevelopment, Children, Youth and Family Programs,East Lansing, MI: Michigan State UniversityExtension Overcome the Fear of Speaking to Groups. (4-H689b-W, 2007). 4-H Youth Development, WestLafayette, IN: Purdue University Extension Service32

common fear: the fear of speaking in public. The mere thought of speaking before an audience can be paralyzing to youth and adults alike. Delivering a demonstration or talk from beginning to end in front of a group can be equally daunting and scary. Taking small steps of getting youth up front in a safe environment such as 4-H will begin to .File Size: 230KB