The “Bad Speech:” The “Bad Speech” will be a speech based on many areas in which you want to improve as a speaker. This is the comically bad speech. You will exaggerate all of the areas in which you want to improve. If you use verbal pauses (uh’s & Um’s) then use these to an extreme. If your heart races then try to make it race even more–put it through the roof. If your face turns red when you are speaking then make it turn beat red. If you talk too fast when you present then talk even faster. If you have trouble maintaining eye contact then force yourself to not look up the entire speech. If you tremble during your speech then try to tremble for the entire speech. Use self deprecating humor here if you want (you don’t have to). Create a speech that is so horrible it is funny. Don’t make up things that you don’t do--Use your “trouble areas” that you want to improve.
This is not an impromptu speech. This speech will take some preparation. I will look for creativeness, and your ability to deliver your message to your audience no matter how “bad” it may be. The key is to have fun.
Paradoxical Intention: Someone who is frightened of speaking in public may develop symptoms of anxiety such as blushing and perspiration increases—then you become embarrassed by your red, wet skin; obsessive thoughts increase when you try to suppress them; fears get worse if you desperately avoid the scary situation; stuttering increases when you become self-conscious about the speech problem; you make more mistakes when you worry about making them. Paradoxical Intention contends that the harder you try to suppress the symptoms of anxiety the more stressful the situation becomes. Therefore, Paradoxical intention is used to help individuals not avoid displaying their symptoms, but rather try to produce them, even exaggerate them. They find, paradoxically, that the harder they try to produce the symptoms of anxiety the less they succeed in demonstrating them. The self detachment found in humor is the dynamic that can break the vicious cycle of fear and symptom. For this reason, paradoxical intention sessions are conducted in a light hearted manner. So have fun and make fun of yourself.
You will first isolate any symptoms that you fear and work at appropriate self talk. Instead of conventional positive self-talk, which would be along the lines of “I’m going to stay calm -- take deep breaths – I can do it – I’m doing well,” you will motivate yourself along the lines of: “I’m going to feel really nervous – I can make my heart pound faster if I try – I can make my palms sweat more if I try – I want to feel really terrified.”
Have fun with this speech. When we make fun of some of our fears it allows us to realize how irrational some of them are. I am not suggesting for a moment that speaking in front of a group is not an anxiety producing situation–it can be–I don’t deny this for a minute, however, I know that we create many of our fears and by laughing at them and forcing ourselves to try and experience the symptoms of our fears we can begin to deal with the fear and most importantly the symptoms.
The Content of the speech can be whatever you want your content to be, however, if you talk about the areas that you want to improve then it becomes ironic (and very funny at times). I suggest that the content be about how you want to improve. DO NOT INTRODUCE YOUR CLASSMATE AGAIN FOR THE BAD SPEECH (as this may offend your classmate).