It is easy to learn something when you understand why it is important. Someone simply explaining why you should do something, is not as strong as actually witnessing why you should know how to do something.
For years in elementary, junior/senior high, I was told that knowing how to talk to an audience and give a speech is very important. For me that information was only enough to get myself to grit my teeth and get through the assignment. I personally had to witness coworkers and bosses, deliver poor speeches to understand why communicating with a group is important. Someone who can communicate well to a group appears to be knowledgeable and a leader, even why you are aware of evidence to the contrary. Someone who is a leader and knows an occupation as well as anyone, may appear inept if they are unable to effectively communicate with their audience.
I put off taking the “speech class” until the winterm before the spring that I graduate. Many of my classes required giving informational speeches, but 95% of the speech grade was usually based around the content of the speech, rather than the delivery of the speech. Knowing this, I would make sure that the content was perfect but make no effort to present an entertaining or interesting speech. I would just let my fear of public speaking take over, and take the 5% loss in the grade.
One of the strengths of taking this communication course, is that the focus in on that “ignored” 5%. It has never been the content of the report that has made me anxious, it was the deliervy that would cause me to go into a panicked state.
Though reducing anxiety has been an important topic in this class, many of the methods of reducing anxiety had been discussed in the curriculum of my psychology major. Examples being: rehearsing the speech, positive nervousness, and thinking of five positive thoughts for every one negative thought.
What has been more helpful in reducing my anxiety is actually knowing how to give an effective speech. Cure the cause, not the symptom. If I am worried about how I appear when giving a speech, I should focus on how I appear when giving a speech. The acronym S.P.E.A.K. gave me most of what I needed to do. I need to smile, have an upright posture, maintain eye contact, talk with the right amount of animation, and proper kinetics (or gestures).