Speech communication class is giving me the jitters.
There are four written requirements due next week and I have yet to study for the exam tomorrow. And also, there is the imminent delivery of speeches.
Honestly, I am not worried about the writing part, even if the due date is just a few days away. In fact, I am looking forward to it. I have not written in a while and this class gave me a legit excuse to set aside the science-y stuff and allot time for writing. And just imagine: writing for class credit. How much cooler can it be?
What I am dreading is the speaking part — memorizing the written speech and delivering it before an audience. Like three-fourths of the world’s population, I have the fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, as experts call it. In my case, however, public speaking is not just the issue. I hate talking in general.
I often feel uncomfortable when engaging in small talk. I cannot find my voice when a teacher calls me to recite in class. I make a fool of myself during oral interviews. I dread making and answering phone calls. I find difficulty in making a casual conversation roll smoothly.
It sounds absurd, I know. Talking is supposedly as natural as breathing. How can it be difficult? I do not know. All I know is that I have always had trouble communicating orally and it makes me always dissatisfied with my own self.
Why am I so afraid of talking? That question has been replaying in my mind since I was a little kid. Just a week ago, it was answered by the substitute teacher of my speech class. She said that a person fears public speaking because of the possibility that the audience might be forming negative judgment about him or her.
That is how I exactly feel about talking. I am afraid of how other people measure me based on what comes out of my mouth. I am always afraid that I may not be intelligible enough for them to be interested in what I have to say.
This is why I prefer writing — the more I talk, the more I realize that I am not as smart as I think I am but the more I write, the more I realize that I am not as shallow as I seem to be. When I talk, I feel stupid afterwards. But when I write, I get to explore the crevices of my mind and heart that I never knew existed.
Some people say that what is spoken is more reliable than what is written. They say it is so much easier to lie in writing as there are no body language and paralanguage to hint the truth. As one of our professors said, it is easy to attach a smiley to a message even when you are actually fuming in anger. She does have a point there but I believe that writing can be a more effective way of accurately expressing the truth if used properly.
Since speaking is a spontaneous process, words may sometimes be said without thorough thinking. Thus, biased opinions or hurtful words may slip from my tongue even when I do not intend to be unfair or mean. In writing, however, I can keep my feelings in check to avoid emotional flare-ups and I can weigh my opinions and ideas to refrain from being prejudiced. Also, I can rephrase my wording to exactly convey what I really mean to say.
Speaking can also be an ineffective method of communication if you have a limited vocabulary. When speaking in class or even when just conversing with my friends, I often find myself groping for the right words that would perfectly give form to what I have in mind. This is not much of a problem in writing. When I do not know the precise word to use, I can always seek the help of the thesaurus.
To make things short, I prefer writing over talking because in writing, I can always edit and revise. Speaking, on the other hand, is irreversible. Once something is out of my mouth, I can no longer take it back, no matter how much I regret saying it. The occurrence of complicated situations that may forever cause tension in relationships can be avoided in writing but in talking, these are inevitable.
But then again, talking is inescapable. As I have said earlier, talking is supposedly as natural as breathing. So I have to get along with it and learn to be a better talker. I really hope this class will prove to be helpful in lessening my fear in public speaking and in developing skills that will make me a better communicator in speaking.