Are you a high-trait or a low-trait?
CBS News reports on a new study done by Paul L. Witt, Ph.D., of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, that states you are probably one or the other.
"What was surprising was the anxiety pattern. People with low-trait anxiety get nervous before speaking but begin to relax once they get started. People with high-trait anxiety, however, are anxious when they start speaking and get more anxious as they go on."
Witt calls the high-trait folks "Sensitizers" and the low-trait folks "Habituaters."
But what I find affirming is that this study shows that it all comes down to focus. The high-traiters are people who focus on the unpleasant sensations or negative thoughts they are experiencing while the low-traiters have the ability to focus in a way that makes them more comfortable and at ease within the public speaking context.
While I appreciated this study, I think Dr. Witt’s suggestions on how to deal with the anxiety are pretty lame. He’s right when he suggests that "it’s a matter of gaining confidence by learning a simple set of skills." It’s just that the skills he suggests don’t really work.