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About Our Speech Anxious Class

Are you worried about enrolling in a public speaking class and giving speeches?  Here at UT we offer specialized sections of CMST 240 Business and Professional Communication for our highly speech anxious students. These classes fulfill the General Education Oral Communication (OC) requirement and provide the opportunity to increase your confidence, develop your skillset, and share your story with others who share your concerns in a supportive and encouraging environment. We enjoy a smaller class size and slower pace as we explore ways to effectively manage speech anxiety throughout the term.

If you feel this class may be right for you or someone you know, please contact Dr. Suzy Prentiss, Distinguished Lecturer.

You may not know that public speaking is consistently ranked as a top fear of most Americans and is experienced by almost everyone at one time or another. Studies conducted here at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville suggest that the majority of our students experience speech anxiety at some point and to one degree or another. So whether you are a seasoned presenter managing just a few butterflies right before a speech, an individual with little or no experience feeling completely overwhelmed at the mere thought of delivering a presentation, or someone somewhere in between, this website is designed with you in mind.

A key to successfully managing speech anxiety is reframing – to see things (including ourselves) in a new way. It can be as simple as using the term “presentation” instead of “speech” or as complex as challenging misconceptions about what it means to “give a speech.” At its essence, a speech is just a conversation. Ideally, it is a transactional conversation between a presenter familiar with his/her audience, information and purpose and committed to providing a value-added experience for that audience. Ultimately, it is a conversation built upon connection involving the sharing of a story – your story. It is something we can all do and all do well if given the knowledge, tools, and opportunities to effectively manage our speech anxiety and connect with our audience. Again, welcome to our Speech Anxiety website, I hope you find it useful.

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