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Academics have suggested that the use of warm-up exercises like those used by forensics competitors before a competition may reduce students’ public speaking anxiety (PSA). However, little empirical work has assessed these anecdotal claims. Thus, to assess the impact of using warm-up exercises in the foundational course, we developed and tested a uniform warm-up protocol for students enrolled in our standardized, multi-section public speaking course. This study sought to discover whether students who engaged in physical and vocal function exercises prior to speech delivery would have lower speaking anxiety over the course of the semester than students in the control group. Although this assessment found no significant difference in PSA reduction for students enrolled in designated warm-up sections compared to students within the control group, these findings can guide the next steps toward optimal, evidence-based best practices for warm-ups in the introductory speech course. In light of past research and robust instructor perceptions regarding the anxiety-reducing benefits of warm-up exercises, this assessment reveals the need to test alternative warm-up protocols to help mitigate PSA, to measure for changes in state as well as trait apprehension, and to determine the treatments’ effects on individuals with differing degrees of PSA.

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Speaker & Gavel


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