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Do you have stage fright when you make a speech in public ? To find out, ask a friend how you look and sound as you practice a speech, or as you give a speech in a real situation. Or make a tape recording of yourself as you speak or practise. But to really prove to yourself that you do indeed look much more confident than you feel, watch a video tape recording of yourself. Today, that is a lot easier to do than you may think.

Record a brief statement just a minute or two of your speaking in your style. When you watch the tape being played back, ignore those details that most people concentrate on the first time they see themselves on TV. Forge the tie that may be crooked, the ruffled blouse, the lipstick that is too dark, the hair out of place. Instead focus on what you say and how you say it. Replay the recording and look with honesty and objectivity for any telltale signs that may show nervousness. Sure, some will be seen a fumbled word, a repeated gesture, a silly smile.

But most of these little signs of stage fright will not be noticed by most viewers. You will spot them, you will worry about them, you will feel your own nervousness, but your audience rarely does. After all, how often do you notice the signs of nervousness shown by your minister, teacher, TV newscaster, when they speak ?

After you have given your first speech, you will continue to learn that stage fright really isn't that big a problem. Sure, you will be nervous. But you will continue to gain control of your nerves. The reason ? You will gradually begin to realize that your audience is there to hear you succeed, not fail. Think of your own reactions when you are a member of an audience. in the moments before the speaker begins, what goes through your mind ? Do you think: Sure hope this is a lousy speaker ! Hope he does a poor job. Hope he is a failure.

Of course you do not think of such negative thoughts. Virtually all listeners think just the opposite. We hope that the speaker we are about to her will be interesting, stimulating, tell others about with pride, even making them envious that they have missed this speech.

Research indicates that empathy or a felling of mutual support between speaker and listeners, actor and audience, is the surest relief from stage fright. Once you as the speaker receive that first positive reaction from an audience, you will suddenly feel much more confident and relaxed.

When you see some of your listeners nod in agreement with something you say, much of your stage fright will disappear immediately. That is one major reason why so many experienced speakers often begin their talks by telling a joke the laughter from the audience relaxes both the speaker and his listeners. Listeners look forward to a successful speech as the way the athlete concentrates on the game for success.

Concentrate on what you are saying, not on how you are saying it. Concentrate on the ideas, the importance, the relevance of what you are telling your audience, you will further control and reduce your nervousness. Many speakers tend to focus their thoughts on insignificant, distracting details. New speakers may worry about their voice, choice of words, gestures, movement, emphasis, sentence structure. don't let such details distract you. Focus on the 'big picture' of your message, and not your delivery.

Learn to relax. Some professionals, knowing they are going to be nervous, develop their own outlets. Some simply wring their hands. Others meditate. deep breathing helps. Many speakers find relaxation exercises helpful.

From paragraph 1 :
  1.

Give one example of how to find out whether we have stage fright.

   

From paragraph 2 and 3 :

  2.

(a) What are the 'little signs of stage fright' ?

(b) How does the audience respond to them ?

    From paragraph 5 :
  3.

(a) Why does the writer say that stage fright is not a big problem ?

(b) What is the attitude of the audience towards the speaker ?

    From paragraph 6 and 7 :
  4.

(a) What is meant by 'empathy' ?

(b) What is the 'surest relief' from stage fright ?

    From paragraph 8-10 :
  5.

(a) What is the advantage of 'telling a joke' when we start a speech ?

(b) Give two examples of how to reduce stage fright.

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Answers
 

1.

We can do so by asking a friend how we look and sound as we practise our speech.

 

2.

(a) They are 'a fumbled word, a repeated gesture and a silly smile'.

(b) Most of the audience will not notice them.

 

3.

(a) It is because the speaker will soon again control of his nerves and become more confident when he speaks in public.

(b) They are there to hear you making a good speech.

 

4.

(a) It means 'a feeling of mutual support between speaker and listeners'.

(b) It is the positive reaction from the listeners that will make you feel much relieved.

 

5.

(a) It makes the audience laugh and the laughter will make the speaker feel more relaxed.

(b) i. One can concentrate or focus on what he or she is saying.

     ii. He should learn to relax like 'mediating' or having deep breathing before his speech.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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