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Ames76
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17 Aug 2012, 11:00 pm

I'm starting college in just over a week. I will be taking public speaking at some point in time during those two years, and I am panicking already just thinking about it. In HS, I was supposed to do a report in front of the whole class. The teacher said we could take a lower grade and do it after class for her only, me and one other girl took that option. I had to wait until the other girl left, it was that bad for me. I'm terrified to do this, but I know that I will HAVE to. Anyone been through that? What can I do, when my fear is so bad that the thought of doing it makes me want to pass out?



cathylynn
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17 Aug 2012, 11:33 pm

lots of practice helps. give the speech in front of a mirror or to a tape recorder, then to a roommate or boyfriend. gradually increase your audience size.

talk about something you really know about. also, if it's a subject you enjoy, your enthusiasm will make the speech more interesting.



Bubbles137
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18 Aug 2012, 12:44 am

I know the feeling- all through uni, I avoided giving presentations and having to do public speaking (at school, we had to do it as part of GCSE English and I failed it three times, and the only way I passed was by asking a friend a few years younger than me at school to come into my class and do a 'debate' we'd practised while I was babysitting her) and I still find it really hard. Now, i have to speak at conferences as part of PhD work and it's so, so scary. I'm reading out a creative piece I wrote at a conference in September and I'm so nervous already. I found having someone to text right before really helpful- the first time I did it, my uni tutor gave me her mobile number and I was texting her right up till the presentation and she was brilliant at calming me down. Camomile tea also helped, and so did breathing really deeply and counting in your head (or out loud- my dad goes into the toilets and shouts really loudly before he does public speaking!). If you feel nauseous (I do), make sure you've eaten something 'solid' (I have porridge) at least an hour before otherwise the nausea gets worse, and if you feel really shaky and hot, the breathing really helps. Sometimes my throat seizes up and I can't talk, but I try to focus on everything else so that doesn't happen as much any more. Hope some of that helps!



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18 Aug 2012, 7:54 am

This is what I tell everyone who asks me – confidence. It’s all about confidence. You might not be confident, but if you can pretend you are, your audience relaxes, then you start to relax and pretty soon you’re bounding around in front of whatever audience will have you.

Case in point: I had a high school speech assignment but realised too late that I had misinterpreted the question and hadn’t satisfied the marking criteria at all, but the teacher gave me full marks anyway because I was so confident in my manner. I certainly wasn’t confident in my head, all I could think of was “I am so going to fail, this isn’t even remotely what I was supposed to talk about,” but I faked that confidence all the way to an A+.

Public speaking, like acting, is about trust. You want your audience to trust you, to feel comfortable with you, and the best way you can do that is to appear confident. The actual confidence comes later.

So how do you fake that confidence? Practice, practice, practice. And when you’re bored out of your brain with it, practice some more. And I don’t just mean practice with public speaking, practice pretending to be confident when you speak to anyone. Practice pretending to be confident when you speak to yourself even. Practice it with your pets, your children, your friends, your family. Whenever a thought enters or exits your head, practice a calm confident delivery. Think the ‘Dog Whisperer’. There’s a reciprocal relationship between the speaker and the audience, and the calmer you can make them, the calmer you will be.

But as a very very first step, google ‘TED Talks’ and watch these guys present. Then pick your favourite speakers and emulate emulate emulate!


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lostgirl1986
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18 Aug 2012, 9:15 am

I'm like that. I had a hard time doing presentations in elementary school and it was so bad I'd read off my paper very fast and couldn't catch my breath properly. By the time middle school rolled around we were supposed to make a speech. I had a nervous breakdown about the speech and I didn't go to school for 2 weeks. In high school, I forced myself to do presentations but I still read off of the paper and speed read and stumbling over my words.

I literally get panic attacks every time I have to do a presentation in front of the class.

Now in college we still have to do presentations and it's basically the same for high school for me except I try to do power point presentations as it's better for me because the audience focuses on the slide show more rather than me.

I feel sorry for you though, I don't think I'd ever choose a program with a public speaking course. If you look on the bright side it might help you break out of your shell and you might become less shy.

I've noticed something though, I have observed audiences when an average presentation is taking place and half the people look like they're sleeping, bored, doing something else or staring into LaLa Land. It actually helps me to think that most people aren't really paying attention.



Bubbles137
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18 Aug 2012, 10:23 am

For the presentation I've got to give, I'm going to get asked questions afterwards as well (20-30 mins reading, 10 mins questions) which is scaring me even more than the actual reading! So scared about it, never shared anything creative in public before and I hate reading out :(



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18 Aug 2012, 10:36 am

Bubbles137 wrote:
For the presentation I've got to give, I'm going to get asked questions afterwards as well (20-30 mins reading, 10 mins questions) which is scaring me even more than the actual reading! So scared about it, never shared anything creative in public before and I hate reading out :(


I hate when they put lengthy time limits on your presentation. I suggest you try to read as slow as possible without making it sound weird and maybe you can show them a video clip to speed up the time without you speaking. I could never make my presentation last that long if I had to go up alone, I usually don't really care though.



Ames76
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18 Aug 2012, 4:53 pm

Thanks for the advice! Lostgirl1986- I'm taking Medical Assisting, I don't know why I have to take public speaking for that!



lostgirl1986
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18 Aug 2012, 5:34 pm

Ames76 wrote:
Thanks for the advice! Lostgirl1986- I'm taking Medical Assisting, I don't know why I have to take public speaking for that!


I had to do a few presentations in college for Early Childhood Education and this year I'm going back to college for Library and Information Tech and I've already seen my outlines and I have a few presentations as well so I'm already getting kind of nervous.



Bubbles137
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19 Aug 2012, 1:54 am

lostgirl1986 wrote:

I hate when they put lengthy time limits on your presentation. I suggest you try to read as slow as possible without making it sound weird and maybe you can show them a video clip to speed up the time without you speaking. I could never make my presentation last that long if I had to go up alone, I usually don't really care though.


It's not that I haven't got anything to say (I'm reading out a creative story which takes about 25 mins) but more that I'm scared of talking in front of people for that long, and that they'll get really bored! It's not a massively exciting story with way too much description and I'm not great at expression, so I think it might be the most boring 30 mins ever for anyone listening...