Public Speaking Phobia

Task: Write an analytical essay on public speaking phobia, its causes and effects.
Essay Topic: Public Speaking Phobia
Essay Type: Analysis essay
Length: 4 pages
Formatting: APA
Requirements: Analyze the psychological roots of public speaking phobia. Describe all the contributing factors and give a few suggestions on countering them.
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Behavioral theory implies that individuals are not born with certain traits. This is because people come to acquire different personalities during the process of associating with other people, and during their upbringing. The same idea applies to Bill’s fear of speaking in public. It is not that he was born with the fear of speaking in public (Herbert & Forman 2011). This phobia is something that Bill acquired probably from his childhood stages, and during his development. This paper seeks to expound that most likely, Bill developed his fear of speaking in public from the fact that friends and colleagues intimidated him when he delivered public speeches.

It is possible that Bill’s fear could have also been developed from observing how his friends and colleagues experienced ridicule in the process of delivering public speeches. From these experiences, Bill could have developed the fear of speaking in public because of the terror of the repercussions that would arise from the mistakes that he would possibly make in the process of delivering his speech.

Cognitive theory, on the other hand, stipulates that the way one thinks determine one’s emotions and behavior. Bill, in his daily experiences with other people, may have developed the perception that speaking in public has negative consequences to the participants. These negative consequences arise from an individual’s failure to deliver his or her speech in the right way and format. These penalties are also because of the mistakes that one commits in the process of communicating to audiences (Glassman & Hadad 2009). Because most people are afraid of being associated with certain mistakes in their delivery of speeches and failure, individuals find it hard to speak in public. Further, the reactions of the public, which are in certain instances negative, make individuals fear featuring in congregations. Individuals fear being rejected by the public during the process of delivery of their speeches. Bill may have developed the notion that people would reject to all that he had prepared to deliver in his speeches. Therefore, there is no sound reason why he has to take part in public speaking.

According to classical conditioning, the relationship between an individual and the environment also determine how one would behave. This is because learning occurs through ones association with his or her environment. Bill may have been exposed, consistently, to an environment in which people were ridiculed or reprimanded for the mistakes that they made in delivering speeches or talking in groups. Consequently, Bill developed the idea that whenever he engaged in public speaking or talking to a group of people, he would experience the same ridicule and rejection from the people he would be directing his speeches to. The conditioned response, in Bills case, is feeling anxious amid audiences and more so when there are objections in the form of booing (Fishman et al. 2010). Booing is the conditioned stimulus. This is because Bill probably associated booing with failure in speech delivery so that even if there were a few malicious people in the middle of the public, he associated their jeer to his failure to deliver a good speech; hence, he developed the opinion that he was not good in public speaking.

This notwithstanding, operant conditioning associates certain behaviors, in different organisms, with rewards and punishment such that people are rewarded or punished for certain acts. Bill may have developed his phobia in public speaking from the ridicule that he witnessed his colleagues go through in delivering speeches in public (Weiten 2012). This led to his fear in speaking in public. Bill felt that not speaking in public would be the best way to avoid mockery and embarrassment. In this case, Bill associated public speaking with public ridicule thus developing the feeling that it is not a good idea to take part in public speaking. This is because there is no benefit that accrues from one engaging in public speaking. According to the observational theory, individuals learn new activities and ways of behavior through observing what their friends and colleagues do and retaining that knowledge. Later, individuals put to practice the knowledge that they acquired and retained in the initial stages. Bill’s phobia may have been caused by the ridicule that he observed his friends undergo in the process of delivering their speeches. Since Bill did not wish to go through the same experiences as those of his colleagues, he resorted that he would not participate in the delivery of public speeches.

However, the strategies that Bill could employ in limiting his fear of public speaking are of diverse nature. For instance, he could inculcate, in his mind, the perception that speaking in public is not a dangerous activity. Many people have participated in public speaking and majority have emerged victors even with the many challenges that they faced in the process of delivering their speech to the public (Greene 2008). The other fact is that there is no such thing as the perfect speech. Therefore, the feeling of intimidation should never be a hindrance to an individuals’ participation in public speaking. Despite the fact that some people would not appreciate an individuals’ speech, there are those who would be pleased by the information that one has to relay to them. Bill should know that mistakes are a part of every person and that there is no one who is perfect. Although, that does not mean that individuals would always find themselves in mistakes. If one makes a mistake today, in the subsequent days, he or she would ensure that they do not repeat the same mistakes. This is so that they could avoid negative consequences of their actions. Developing the impression that the negative consequences that individuals perceive are not realistic is also a positive strategy in fighting public speaking phobia. The other fact that individuals should always have in mind is that the people who would be listening to their speeches are not their enemies but people who are only present to learn from their pool of knowledge.

Exposure to new environments and new experiences is also another way of eradicating public speaking phobia. When individuals consistently associate with different groups of people, they develop the confidence to speak in front of a crowd of audiences. This is because with continuous practice, one builds his or her self-confidence. Because Bill’s phobia is caused by the belief that speaking in public is a difficult task that only leads to ridicule and embarrassment, there is hope that when he transforms this negative perception into positive thinking he would become proficient in making speeches (Craske 2010). Consequently, Bill would eradicate his fear of speaking in public. This is because the perceptions that individuals develop shape their actions, and general feeling. Bill should believe that his speech would positively influence the lives of his listeners. This would be a motivating factor towards his speech delivery. Positive thinking helps one build on his or her self-confidence thus remaining composed during the entire process of speech delivery, and remaining bold in making public speeches.


Craske, M. G. (2010). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Essau, C., & Ollendick, T. H. (2013). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of the treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fishman, S., Ballantyne, J., Rathmell, J. P., & Bonica, J. J. (2010). Bonica’s management of pain. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Glassman, W. E., & Hadad, M. (2009). Approaches to psychology. London: McGraw-Hill.

Greene, R. R. (2008). Human behavior theory & social work practice. New Brunswick, N.J: AldineTransaction.

Herbert, J. D., & Forman, E. M. (2011). Acceptance and mindfulness in cognitive behavior therapy: Understanding and applying the new therapies. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Weiten, W. (2012). Psychology: Themes and variations. Belmont, Calif: Cengage/Wadsworth.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 2 votes
Overall Impression:
I wonder who taught this author how to write introductions for academic papers. Not that this particular one was, you know, in-your-face-awful, but whoever thinks it’s fine has probably never written an academic paper themselves. Like, what is this introduction all about? Dude, only because I have read some of the paper’s details, I can tell that Bill is a guy with a fear of giving public speeches. Now just take your paper, approach an old lady on the street, and ask her to read the introduction. Do you think she’ll immediately understand what you are writing about? I guess you know the answer yourself. The introduction is nonsense.
By the way, speaking of your grammar: it does not suck totally. That’s all you need to know about it.
I guess I just took a rather nasty turn in my writing style, but in fact, that’s all I can say about this paper. Nothing really bad, but nothing good either.

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