After years of teaching people to overcome their fear of public speaking I think there are 8 levels of Speaking Anxiety ranging from no anxiety at all to acute anxiety. These 9 levels are:
No Anxiety. Willing and able to speak to anyone, anywhere including Public Speaking in front of large groups.
Able to speak to anyone and will speak to small groups when confident about the topic. An example of this is a teacher talking in front of a class.
Able to speak to people you know plus strangers in any situation. Strangers you might meet on a bus, train, party etc where you have to speak for an unlimited amount of time - you can't easily get away.
Can speak to most people, but very uncomfortable using the phone when speaking to strangers.
Can speak to people you know plus strangers when only a few sentences are required. Examples are speaking to shop assistants, receptionists etc.
You can speak to family, friends, work colleagues and bosses and teachers - or other people in authority.
Will speak to family, friends and work colleagues.
Will only speak to family and close friends.
Acute Anxiety. Only comfortable speaking to family.
Most of us fall in the middle from level 5 to level 3 and can manage our level of speaking anxiety quite well at this level.
However sometimes a change in job or family circumstances may mean we need to move from one level to another level.
'Afraid of Speaking' run one to one sessions in the Bournemouth/Poole area for individuals who feel they need to move from one level to another.
Some people are just naturally quiet but are confident enough to be able to speak when they have to.
Other people are very shy and think that they're going to somehow make a fool of themselves if they speak.
Others think that they sound strange, they imagine they've got a speech impediment when they haven't. This could be the result of being teased when they were younger.
Some people do actually have a speech impediment (lisp, stammer etc) and feel awkward when speaking to people they don't know.