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The Effects of Perparation and Self-Esteem on Public Speaking Anxiety

             The purpose of the present study was to examine the difference, if any, that preparation time before a speech and a person’s self-esteem would have on the level of anxiety experienced while speaking in public. College students were randomly assigned to groups involving either a five minute preparation period with a list of five topics to discuss or waiting without preparation until they actually begin their speech. The variables that we studied in this experiment can be assigned to four groups: 1)People with low self-esteem and no preparation time, 2)People with high self-esteem and no preparation time, 3)People with low self-esteem with preparation time, and 4) People with high self-esteem and preparation time. It was hypothesized that preparation would decrease the amount of anxiety experienced during public speaking. It was also hypothesized that the higher a person’s self-esteem is, the lower his or her level of anxiety during public speaking will be, and vice-versa. It was hypothesized that people with low self-esteem and no preparation time would experience the most anxiety, while people with high self-esteem who were allowed preparation time would experience the lowest amount of anxiety. Thus, the group with high self-esteem without preparation time and the group with low self-esteem and preparation time would fall somewhere in between regarding anxiety levels. The results found correlated with the hypothesis. .
             The Effects of Preparation and Self-Esteem on Public Speaking Anxiety.
             People fear speaking in public more than death, according to a poll conducted by Time magazine in 2001. Speech anxiety is ranked number three in this poll, which was conducted to determine what causes high levels of anxiety amongst people. The fear of ridicule by a large number of people, even if these people are complete strangers, terrifies many people (Stein, Walker, & Forde, 1996).