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Overview

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur and leader, getting past any communication anxieties and communication apprehension is vital. You have to be able to convey your ideas and messages clearly if you want others to follow through with them.

If you are unable to overcome communication issues, you will not be able to discover all of the fantastic ways you can use interaction as a way to grow. In this post, we will go over precisely what communication apprehension is and the different tactics you can use to overcome it.

What is Communication Apprehension?

According to McCroskey, the professor who coined the term, communication apprehension is the fear and anticipation of embarrassment associated with communicating with others. This fear has many sources, such as stage fright, fear of public speaking, and widespread fear of face-to-face communication in general.

If you have communication apprehension, you may fear being judged by others or embarrassing yourself in front of them.

While it isn't the only communication-related fear, it is undoubtedly one of the more common ones. People with communication apprehension will feel nervousness about contact before or while speaking to others. They may think that they will not say the right thing in front of others, that others will judge them harshly, and that communication will be scary or awkward.

The effects of communication apprehension can be highly detrimental to one's life. If it is not resolved, all conversations will be complex, and communication-related fears will continue to prevent you from living your life fully.

What Does Communication Apprehension Look Like?

It is easy to identify this interpersonal communication fear by looking for the signs. For example, if you are nervous, avoid conversing with others, or feel like communication will be scary or uncomfortable, you may suffer from it. It is more common for communication apprehension to be seen among introverted and shy people than extroverts and outgoing.

Common physical symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Sweating profusely.
  • Trembling and shaking.
  • An increased heart rate and rapid breathing.

If you experience such symptoms before any event (public speaking, for example), it is likely that communication apprehension is the reason behind them.

What Does Communication Apprehension Feel Like?

Some sources say communication apprehension is similar to stage fright. Others estimate it to be even ten times worse than public speaking fears. If you have ever experienced it, the following statement wouldn't surprise you: communication anxiety doesn't disappear when the conversation ends. It stays with you after the fact.

With that being said, communication apprehension is not an all-or-nothing deal; there are degrees of it too. For example, some people may only experience it when in front of large groups, whereas others may become anxious when communicating with a single person. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce communication apprehension for anyone at any level.

How to Overcome Communication Apprehension

Regardless of what symptoms you experience, there are three main ways to overcome communication apprehension: systematic desensitization, changing your mindset, and communication skill levels improvement.

Systematic Desensitization

Systematic desensitization is a technique used to overcome fear by gradually exposing a person to it from least scary to most scary. In a communication context, you would slowly increase the interactions you have on a regular basis, whether it be with single individuals or groups of people. For example, talking to one person at a time has low social risk associated with it and triggers minimal communication apprehensions; starting off using this approach should help any uneasiness go away. However, this approach might not work when your anxiety is very high, and other techniques should be used if warranted.

Changing Your Mindset

When using this technique, you try and alter your thoughts and emotions to calm your anxieties. With this method, your apprehension is reduced by changing your beliefs or the feelings associated with communication. For example, suppose you have a few communication apprehensions keeping you from discussing things properly. In that case, it can be dealt with by ultimately reflecting on how everything will go right before an event to change your belief system.

Alternatively, communication apprehension may also be dealt with using cognitive restructuring. This latter technique will help you get better at any type of communication without worrying about their anxieties getting in the way. Finally, in a communication context, you may also reduce communication apprehension symptoms by looking at communication from an objective point of view.

For instance, if communication serves a purpose (like solving a problem or persuading someone), your mind will recognize what you need and something that will help you. You can then focus your thoughts on what needs to get done, making the process much smoother.

Improving communication skills

By improving your overall communication tactics and style, you may help alleviate some of your insecurities. You can do this by completing communication skill improvement courses or reading communication improvement books.

For example, suppose you find yourself scared to speak with certain people or in front of large groups. In that case, communication skill books will teach you communication tactics (e.g., how to best deliver your thoughts, what communication skills work best for you, etc.) to help overcome your insecurities.

If you've tried this to improve your conversational skills before, you may have noticed that communication apprehension can't be overcome by skill alone. First, that's because communication skills are only one part of the entire equation. Second, that's because of the stress that you may feel overall when thinking of contact in general.

If communication apprehension prevents you from speaking with people at work, in school, or with your family, overcoming this challenge will help increase your overall performance in these areas. After all, when communication apprehension goes away, all interactions become much more rewarding and satisfying for both parties involved.

So, if communication inhibition stops you from experiencing wonderful, inspirational, and educational conversations in your life, overcoming communication apprehension will help you get past this challenge.

The Psychology Behind Communication Apprehension

Apprehension is often caused by communication anxiety or inhibition, both rooted in communication insecurity. However, it's important to note that it has clinical roots, and there are several theories that help explain it.

For example, it might be linked with your past negative experiences when dealing with communication challenges. You might have had trouble before communicating with certain people, or you may have felt too embarrassed to speak up during class. That lack of communication security can make you feel apprehensive about future communicative events (like speaking up at work).

Additionally, the social risk might also spark communication apprehension. Social risk includes things like fear of embarrassment or fear of being negatively judged by others; these fears drive a lack of confidence.

Not only that, but communication apprehension may also be linked to incompetence. This failure or mishap can include communication breakdown or communication error.

For example, if you're afraid people will laugh at you, then this fear of being judged by others could trigger your symptoms. However, it's important to note that communication incompetence doesn't have to happen all the time for communication anxiety or inhibition to develop. As a result, your negative feelings might not ever go away unless you take steps towards improvement (e.g., enrolling in a class/workshop).

Tips To Reduce Communication Apprehension

Once you improve communication security or competency, communication apprehension levels will go down.

For example, if you feel nervous when speaking up at work meetings because your communication skills are lacking, enrolling in a public speaking skill improvement class will help reduce communication apprehension. And once communication anxiety goes away, tasks that used to be difficult become more accessible and more enjoyable.

What's interesting about overcoming communication apprehension is that it usually makes other areas of life better too. For example, people who overcome it often find themselves happier since they connect with others through effective correspondence.

So, you should tackle communication apprehension as soon as possible if you want to improve your overall happiness.

Here are some tips on how to overcome communication apprehension:

Tip #1: Identify the root cause of communication apprehension; this might require a conversation with a mental health professional, especially if communication anxiety and communication inhibition stem from negative past experiences (e.g., bullying in school).

Tip #2: Remember that it's better to get something off your chest than let your feelings of anxiety go unchecked because these feelings can become progressively worse over time.

Tip #3: Practice communication apprehension-inducing scenarios to better understand what causes it and its symptoms. Once anxiety decreases, communication tasks that feel overwhelming become easier to take on.

Communication Apprehension and Entrepreneurship

If communication apprehension is holding you back from taking the next step in your entrepreneurial journey, overcoming it will remove any obstacles preventing you from moving forward. Communication anxiety may keep people away from being an entrepreneur, so speaking with people who might be interested in purchasing what you're selling should become much more manageable when communication apprehension goes away.

Getting it under control is one of the best things that can happen to an entrepreneur's skills. Once it doesn't hold you back, your competence improves, and you are more likely to succeed as a professional.

Conclusion

As communication apprehension gradually goes away, communication security and communication competency levels can go up. Therefore, you should address communication apprehension as soon as possible. This will allow easier interactions with co-workers, friends, family members, and even strangers in public spaces. In addition, self-image will no longer influence your communication tasks (e.g., speaking at a job interview), which means you'll be able to converse effectively without feeling like you're under a microscope.

So, to become an effective communicator in any setting, overcoming communication apprehension has to come first. Practice what you learn from this post on how to defeat it. Your communication ability will improve significantly so that being involved in scenarios like speaking up in meetings and calling a potential client becomes easier and more enjoyable.

Catch you on the flip,

~Noah

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