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University of Tennessee
Managing Your Fear of Public Speaking


Building on What You Know: Contact the Coach

Coach's whistleHi! My name is Dr. Suzy Prentiss and I am the Speech Anxiety Specialist within the Department of Communication Studies.

I have been teaching at the collegiate level for over 15 years and have been at UT for over ten. Years ago, I had the privilege of teaching public speaking classes just for speech anxious students. I think I learned more from my amazing students than they learned from me and I do know that I now have a better understanding of and appreciation for speech anxiety because of that experience. It is my pleasure to help you in your journey to effectively manage your speech anxiety – think of me as your “Coach.”

Hopefully this newly created website will be a wonderful resource for you during your time in our CS 210 Public Speaking or CS 240 Business and Professional Communication classes. Your textbook, teacher and classmates will be your primary source of information, tools, and support but think of this website and I, as your Coach, as additional resources. I encourage you to use your Individual Speech Anxiety Report and explore what that means for you. There are activities, quotes from previous students who have experienced speech anxiety, and additional readings that may be of value.

We will launch a Discussion Board that will allow students to communicate with one another about speech anxiety, offering tips and suggestions and just sharing concerns. I will also facilitate a few speech anxiety workshops later in the semester that will allow you to meet with others who share your concerns and get tools to help manage the anxiety. If at any time, you need to contact me please do at sprenti1@utk.edu. I will be happy to communicate with you via email, schedule a meeting with you, and offer additional readings or resources. Also, if you have any tips or suggestions for this website or have found information (websites, videos, books, therapy, etc) that you deem useful, please share that with me so we can use it to help others.

Know that you are not alone in this struggle to manage your speech anxiety and have faith that it can and will be managed. You have a wealth of resources at your disposal to help and it would be my pleasure to talk with you. Good luck!