Updated: Nov 17
What are Emotions?
Emotion is a mental state variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioral responses and a degree of pleasure or displeasure. Normally, emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation. It is something very complex and not easily defined. According to some theories, emotions are something that will physically or psychologically influence our actions in our daily life. When it comes to public speaking, emotions play a part of our voice to deliver our message to the audience more efficiently.
Types of Emotions
There are many different types of emotions that have an influence on how we live and interact with others. At times, it may seem like we are ruled by these emotions. The choices we make, the actions we take, and the perceptions we have are all influenced by the emotions we are experiencing at any given moment.
Psychologists have also tried to identify the different types of emotions that people experience. A few different theories have emerged to categorize and explain the emotions that people feel.
Basic Emotions: During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. The emotions he identified were happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger. He later expanded his list of basic emotions to include such things as pride, shame, embarrassment, and excitement.
Combining Emotions: Psychologist Robert Plutchik propose an idea of the "wheel of emotions" that worked something like the color wheel. Emotions can be combined to form different feelings, much like colors can be mixed to create other shades. According to this theory, the more basic emotions act something like building blocks. More complex, sometimes mixed emotions, are mixtures of these more basic ones. For example, basic emotions such as joy and trust can be combined to create love.
Isn’t it interesting? Do you get the feeling like a light bulb has just lighted up above your head? Well, continue reading to find out more!
Now, eBright will bring you to a closer look at some of the basic types of emotions and explore the impact they have on public speaking.
Before we start, don't miss the chance to claim your FREE 1 Hour Class by registering from this link!
Of all the different types of emotions, happiness tends to be the one that people strive for the most. Happiness is often defined as a pleasant emotional state that is characterized by feelings of contentment, joy, gratification, satisfaction, and well-being. Research on happiness has increased significantly since the 1960s within a number of disciplines, including the branch of psychology known as positive psychology. This type of emotion is sometimes expressed through:
Facial expressions such as smiling
Body language such as a relaxed stance
An upbeat, pleasant tone of voice
All these expressions can be done while delivering a speech in front of a crowd. The audience will feel more comfortable and attached to the speaker when the speaker himself/herself is relaxed too. A smile can definitely solve numerous problems and break the ice in an awkward situation. In addition, people have long believed that happiness and health were connected, and research has supported the idea that happiness can play a role in both physical and mental health. Happiness has been linked to a variety of outcomes including increased longevity and increased marital satisfaction. Conversely, unhappiness has been linked to a variety of poor health outcomes. Stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, for example, have been linked to things such as lowered immunity, increased inflammation, and decreased life expectancy. So wasn’t’ being happy is much better than being unhappy? It is a win-win situation!
Sadness is another type of emotion often defined as a transient emotional state characterized by feelings of disappointment, grief, hopelessness, disinterest, and gloomy mood. Like other emotions, sadness is something that all people experience from time to time. In some cases, people can experience prolonged and severe periods of sadness that can turn into depression. Sadness can be expressed in a number of ways including:
Withdrawal from others
The type and severity of sadness can vary depending upon the root cause, and how people cope with such feelings can also differ. Sadness can often lead people to engage in coping mechanisms such as avoiding other people, self-medicating, and ruminating on negative thoughts. Such behaviors can actually exacerbate feelings of sadness and prolong the duration of the emotion. In public speaking, even when you’re feeling under the weather on the particular day that you have to give a speech, you should be able to overcome this sad feeling and turn it into a more positive one. This is to help the speaker to gain the interest of the audience. Imagine if someone speaking in front is feeling sad and you can feel it the moment she/him open their mouth, you’ll definitely reject to focus and listen to that person because the sad feeling may pass it to you. Well, its true emotions can be contagious.
Fear is a powerful emotion that can also play an important role in survival. When you face some sort of danger and experience fear, you go through what is known as the fight or flight response. Your muscles become tense, your heart rate and respiration increase, and your mind becomes more alert, priming your body to either run from the danger or stand and fight. This response helps ensure that you are prepared to effectively deal with threats in your environment. Expressions of this type of emotion can include:
Facial expressions such as widening the eyes and pulling back the chin
Attempts to hide or flea from the threat
Physiological reactions such as rapid breathing and heartbeat
Of course, not everyone experiences fear in the same way. Some people may be more sensitive to fear and certain situations or objects may be more likely to trigger this emotion.
Fear is the emotional response to an immediate threat. We can also develop a similar reaction to anticipated threats or even our thoughts about potential dangers, and this is what we generally think of as anxiety. Social anxiety, for example, involves an anticipated fear of social situations and in this case, usually fear can be found from the speaker who is going to or already halfway giving a speech. The threat for them is the audience. However, repeated exposure to a fear object or situation can lead to familiarity and acclimation, which can reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. This is the idea behind exposure therapy, in which people are gradually exposed to the things that frighten them in a controlled and safe manner. Eventually, feelings of fear begin to decrease. This is why Ebright exist. To help students who fear to speak in front of a crowd.
Disgust is another of the original six basic emotions described by Eckman. Disgust can be displayed in a number of ways including:
Turning away from the object of disgust
Physical reactions such as vomiting or retching
Facial expressions such as wrinkling the nose and curling the upper lip
This sense of revulsion can originate from a number of things, including an unpleasant taste, sight, or smell. Researchers believe that this emotion evolved as a reaction to foods that might be harmful or fatal. When people smell or taste foods that have gone bad, for example, disgust is a typical reaction. Poor hygiene, infection, blood, rot, and death can also trigger a disgust response. This may be the body's way of avoiding things that may carry transmittable diseases. People can also experience moral disgust when they observe others engaging in behaviors that they find distasteful, immoral, or evil.
Generally, the emotion of disgust will not be found in a speaker unless he/she sees something disgusting while giving a speech. But having to show the emotion of disgust will leave a negative impact to the audience.
Anger can be a particularly powerful emotion characterized by feelings of hostility, agitation, frustration, and antagonism towards others. Like fear, anger can play a part in your body's fight or flight response. When a threat generates feelings of anger, you may be inclined to fend off the danger and protect yourself. Anger is often displayed through:
Facial expressions such as frowning or glaring
Body language such as taking a strong stance or turning away from someone
Tone of voice such as speaking gruffly or yelling
Physiological responses such as sweating or turning red
Aggressive behaviors such as hitting, kicking, or throwing objects
While anger is often thought of as a negative emotion, it can sometimes be a good thing. It can be constructive in helping clarify your needs in a relationship, and it can also motivate you to take action and find solutions to things that are bothering you. But when it comes to public speaking, showing your anger is a minus point for you. No matter what makes you angry when giving a speech, you must not show it unless being angry is part of the points that you want to make in order to emphasize your point. You can even act out the emotions so that the audience can clearly understand the message.
Well, in general anger can become a problem, however, when it is excessive or expressed in ways that are unhealthy, dangerous, or harmful to others. Uncontrolled anger can quickly turn to aggression, abuse, or violence. This type of emotion can have both mental and physical consequences. Unchecked anger can make it difficult to make rational decisions and can even have an impact on your physical health.
Surprise is another one of the six basic types of human emotions originally described by Eckman. Surprise is usually quite brief and is characterized by a physiological startle response following something unexpected. This type of emotion can be positive, negative, or neutral. An unpleasant surprise, for example, might involve someone jumping out from behind a tree and scaring you as you walk to your car at night. An example of a pleasant surprise would be arriving home to find that your closest friends have gathered to celebrate your birthday. Surprise is often characterized by:
Facial expressions such as raising the brows, widening the eyes, and opening the mouth
Physical responses such as jumping back
Verbal reactions such as yelling, screaming, or gasping
Surprise is another type of emotion that can trigger the fight or flight response. When startled, people may experience a burst of adrenaline that helps prepare the body to either fight or flee. But in public speaking, the surprise emotion can usually be seen only when the speaker is trying to show the audience that particular emotion. ll in all, all these emotions convey different message to the person who see these emotions. But in public speaking, the emotion of happy and fear is often found. Happy is the time when the speaker is already comfortable in giving speech and was happy to even give one when given a chance while fear is the time when you’re going onto the stage for the very first time. However, as said previously, practice makes perfect. When the number of times the speaker goes onto a stage increases, their fear will eventually decrease.
To conclude, emotions do play an important part in public speaking to ensure that the message is efficiently delivered and to become a successful speaker, using their emotions wisely will definitely bring their presentation to a whole new level.
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