How many times at the mere thought of having to give a speech in front of many people does fear, anxiety, or other feelings that make us agitated come over me? These just named are the emotions; in this regard, managing our reactions when we are in front of many people is something that frightens many of us. This ability we refer to is subjective, therefore, each of us regulates our emotions differently and with different results.
The aspect I would like to start from is precisely pointing out that without fear, anxiety, and stress we would not be able to live. Just think of the anxiety before an exam for a student, which very often results in the fear of getting a bad grade; it is precisely these feelings that lead the person to study and strive to do their best. If there were no anxiety or fear, the student would be too calm and would not bother to study. What happens, however, if anxiety levels cannot be kept at an appropriate level, but rise higher and higher until they also increase the degree of perceived stress? It is said that we reach a breaking point that leads to a state of exhaustion, that is, a functional imbalance that can result in pathology. These psychological feelings and states, very often stem from our expectations of the consequences we place on ourselves about a task and our levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. It follows, then, that a path of personal growth that starts with the self-concept that we have is an excellent starting point for working on public speaking skills. But what can we do to optimize our ability to manage emotions?
First, it is important to be able to recognize these emotions, signals, and reactions on a psychological and physical level. Awareness of what is going on inside us is the first step toward self-improvement. A very simple method that can also be carried out at home is that of the “diary of emotions,” which is writing where for each week we can mark the most significant emotions of those seven days that have just passed, noting the reactions, behaviors, lived experience, and events that happened. Once this is done, one can proceed to an “emotional assessment,” that is, a self-assessment for each week regarding one’s emotions, which can be positive if I experienced more positive feelings and vice versa. In a second moment, one can carry out a simple exercise related to the stress that comes from the strong worries and fears perhaps related to performance: start thinking that for each stressful situation one can take 2 paths: accept it and transform it. It is good to emphasize that ‘acceptance is not an attitude of passivity and self-destructive; nor is it a tolerating of one’s pain/fear, but it is a vital and conscious contact with one’s experience. Transforming the situation in a way that lowers stress levels means having first carried out the previous steps: I am aware of what is happening to me, I accept the situation and transform it to my advantage. Several techniques enable the latter point, from self-talk to mindfulness to relaxation techniques; they are different, but they all have one thing in common: they start with an awareness of one’s bodily sensations and thoughts, then a focus on one’s self. For each experience that causes stress, we try to evaluate the situation and reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the alternatives and decide which direction to take. Returning to our case of public speaking, we can say that emotions play an important role: knowing how to recognize them, accept them for what they are, and consequently manage them optimally, is a good prerequisite for a successful speech. Emotion produces changes in breathing, and articulation of speech, which in turn partly determine the parameters of the acoustic signal. In other words, fear can be the cause of a low, hard-to-understand voice and restricted body language, all signs that in the eyes of the listener can be interpreted as insecurity of the speaker. So, finding ways to effectively regulate one’s emotions (increase or decrease emotional states) is a fundamental condition for successful speech and all other life contexts. Today, technologies can come in handy, as Vrainers has done: the team has created a very practical training, which accompanies the person to perform self-centered work and then trains his or her communication skills, with the ultimate goal of optimizing “the art of public speaking” and improving people’s quality of life.
LE DOUX J. (1996). Il cervello emotivo. Milano: Baldini & Castoldi, 1998.
Villani D., Grassi A., Riva G.(2011), Tecnologie Emotive: nuovi media per migliorare la qualità della vita e ridurre lo stress, Edizioni Universitarie di lettere Economia Diritto, Milano.
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The Public Speaking Simulation Masterclass in Virtual Reality is aimed at entrepreneurs, team leaders, professionals to start a professional growth path on techniques for managing meetings and public speaking by practicing in a SAFE, EMOTIONAL and INTERACTIVE environment.
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Are machines smarter than humans? What are the properly human capabilities we should focus on?
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