Review Questions and Activities


  1. What percentage of the general population is likely dealing with CA?
  2. What are some of the potential issues or problems that can result from CA?
  3. What are some of the different ways researchers classify CA? What are the differences between these ideas?
  4. What are some of your sources of CA? Would you classify these as examples of trait-anxiety or state-anxiety?
  5. How does Cognitive Restructuring work? Does it work the same for every person who tries it?
  6. What does it mean to become conversant in your topic?
  7. Why is memorizing a presentation a risky move? Is there any part of your presentation that should be memorized?


  1. Prior to a speech, practice the following relaxation technique from Williams College (from
    1. Tighten the muscles in your toes. Hold for a count of 10. Relax and enjoy the sensation of release from tension.
    2. Flex the muscles in your feet. Hold for a count of 10. Relax.
    3. Move slowly up through your body—legs, abdomen, back, neck, face—contracting and relaxing muscles as you go.
    4. Breathe deeply and slowly.

After your speech, evaluate the technique. Did you find that this exercise reduced your nervousness? If so, why do you think it was effective? If not, what technique do you think would have been more effective?
Together with a partner or in a small group, generate a list of relaxation techniques that you currently use to relieve stress. Once you have run out of ideas, review the list and eliminate the techniques that would not work for helping you cope with nervousness before a speech. Of the remaining ideas, select the top three that you believe would help you personally and that you would be willing to try.
The author of this chapter says that one of the keys to overcoming nervousness is preparation. Make a list of the barriers to your own preparation process (e.g. “I don’t know how to use the library,” or “I have young children at home who make demands on my time”). Having identified some of the things that make it difficult for you to prepare, now think of at least one way to overcome each obstacle you have listed. If you need to, speak with other people to get their ideas too.