Emotions constitute a vital aspect of human psychological functioning, but the excessively strong emotional strain in stressful situations might have long-term outcomes for the individual, as the physical and cognitive response to the inner emotional outburst might temporarily impair human thinking and logical reasoning. Therefore, emotions need to be expressed safely for the person and the environment, moreover, coping strategies appear in this sense a desirable tool of reducing the time of influence of the emotion (Lecture Notes, Week 6). The present paper is designed to discuss the aspect of the author’s effective sphere.
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Although I am generally an assertive and even self-confident person, I often encounter strong emotions and nervous tension before speaking in public, especially sharing my research reports with the audience. As a rule, I properly prepare before delivering the speech, but this irrational fear of the audience sometimes covers me. In such moments, I feel as if my body has been placed into the narrow Procrust’s bed, I begin to shrink and have a feeling of “wadded legs”. Moreover, my voice drastically changes, as seeking to develop a louder tone, I begin to speak increasingly more squeaky. As for the cognitive functions, I begin to think much faster than speak and thus might confuse figures, statistics and even pronounce words incorrectly. When my listeners ask questions, I often need some time to comprehend them and construct a full and satisfactory answer in my mind, even in the cases of simpler “specifying” questions (e.g. “How long did your research take?”) Ironically, I cannot characterize my emotions as strong in such situations, but their physical and cognitive manifestations seem to some extent disturbing.
As a rule, I try to relax my inner strain through joking, as my friends consider me a pretty witty and articulate person. Fortunately, the ability to add a component of humor is not influenced by my emotions, and the listeners do not perceive my smiles and distracting passages as “forced behavior” (I have already discussed this question precisely). Furthermore, I use gestures to help myself transmit information; moreover, the reasonable and relevant use of body language also enhances relaxation and makes me feel more comfortable. These two techniques combine both the expression and management of emotions, as they altogether cause a sensation of a friendly atmosphere in the accommodation (Gibson, 2006).
Moreover, I employ workable psychological techniques, which immediately and substantially raise self-esteem and restores my regular assertiveness. I just remind myself that the audience is very interested in my speech and expect me to provide a comprehensive overview of the information I have prepared. In addition, I also recognize that all listeners sympathize with me and I am entitled to be myself and behave naturally even when delivering scientific information. Finally, I remind myself before the speech that no disasters can happen even theoretically during the speech since even I perplex and omit some important information, the audience will anyway ask questions, answering which I am likely to recollect.
Therefore, I use mainly cognitive tools for emotion management, and although I pay less attention to dealing with bodily “symptoms”, they anyway are quite helpful. Nevertheless, to perfect my approach to emotional expression and management, I will need to add breathing exercises as very light limbering-up before speaking in public so that physical blocks and barriers are overcome.
- Gibson, D. (2006). Emotional Episodes at Work: An Experimental Exercise in feeling and Expressing Emotions. Journal of Management Education, 30 (3): 477-500.
- Lecture Notes, Week 6.