Do struggle with public speaking?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 28, 2012 4:01 AM GMT
    This semester I'm taking a class where it seems like there always some form of class participation. The instructor usually calls on random people to read aloud or comment on his lecture. I struggle with even the most simple questions when it comes to speaking in front of a classroom. I always make sure to duck out during student introductions or presentations. My anxiety goes through the roof, I can't handle it.icon_redface.gif
  • Just_Tim

    Posts: 1723

    Aug 28, 2012 4:12 AM GMT
    About 75% of the world feels the same way, man... It's a common phobia...

    Fortunately for me my public speaking class was super small and I knew everyone in it. If you plan on being a teacher or anything like that you're going to have to get over it. Not looking forward to that part...
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:17 AM GMT
    Jump in and swim. You'll realize it's not that bad. Your peers will give you support and some criticism. Your professor will point out your areas for improvement. You'll get through it. Before you know it the jitters get manageable, and then it's second nature. Face the fear.
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:31 AM GMT
    Depends on the subject. If I can stand behind statistics and research I'm 100% fine, but like last night, I gave a talk in front of a group on 'spiritual matters'; I can't draw that therefore, it is intangible.
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:40 AM GMT
    I used to hate it. Eventually after you get in front of the class so many times you will get used to it.
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:42 AM GMT
    I love public speaking, so long as it's a subject I know, or from a prepared text.
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    Aug 28, 2012 11:20 AM GMT
    I've been fortunate to be quite good at it and actually get a kick out of doing it. Just came back from delivering a 90 min nutrition seminar actually.

    It's one of my favourite things to do, so rewarding and I like to interact the audience as much as possible.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 28, 2012 12:29 PM GMT
    Kind of an interesting topic... I never had any issues with getting in front of a class and discussing a particular topic, so long as I had it outlined in advance and knew what I was going to do.... I was prepared.

    In law school I have some anxiety about being called on to discuss a particular case, but once I went through it several times (and heard how some of my peers dealt with it ...haha... that helped considerably).
    For me, it's all about preparation, it inspires confidence.

    I would say, do your homework and be prepared.
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    Aug 28, 2012 12:30 PM GMT
    I never had a problem with public speaking. I just saw it as talking to more than one person however I got an A- on a speech I had to do because I went over the time limit compared to everyone going under lol

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 28, 2012 12:56 PM GMT
    and yet you create so many threads about yourself on here.... interesting.
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    Aug 28, 2012 1:10 PM GMT
    If you're not a tad nervous just before speaking in public, either you're not challenged enough or you're on some tranquilizers or benzodiazepines. I am a litigator and I also teach other lawyers from time to time, yet I'm always a little nervous before opening my mouth for the first time. It's normal to be nervous or anxious.
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    Aug 28, 2012 2:34 PM GMT
    There are some good comments on here so far. My undergrad degree is in Public Affairs, which had a ton of public speaking in it. My job for several years now has includes getting up in front of hundreds of folks and briefing various different things. Many times briefing senior level officers.

    I was the same way you are when I first started.

    It is easy to say "just jump in" and somewhat comfortably received by you when you are sitting in front of your computer in a likely familiar place. However, the game changes dramatically when it is "go time". It is important for you to prepare.

    What the dude in the post above said about most of the world feeling the same way you do is absolutely right. The percentage of people who actually enjoy getting in front of a bunch of strangers and talking is relatively small. That kind of social interaction requires a certain type of personality--the type of person who "needs to be heard".

    If you have no experience or formal training and you are not the loud, obnoxious, overly opinionated person that we all hate in these classes, then your feelings are likely appropriate for the type of person you are.

    It is important that you realize these things:

    1. Everyone has to do it, so they know how you feel.

    2. Rehearsing with yourself will make you more comfortable with the content. This will make you more confident, which is key in delivery.

    3. The human brain gets bored easily in environments such as these, so it is likely that unless you have well trained speech delivery skills (inflection, physical movement, etc), they are either thinking about something else altogether or preparing themselves in the event the teacher calls on them next. That is, if they are not preoccupied with Facebook on their smart phone.

    If none of this helps, just go iRobot on them; know your content and pick a spot on the wall and stare at it while you give 'em the good stuff. If you don't know the content, the absolute worst thing that you could do is try to wing it. Saying " I don't know" is much more respectable then trying to come up with some bullshit answer that everyone knows is crap.

    Also, if you want to try and get a little more comfortable around people, set a goal for yourself. Each day, go up to a random stranger and talk to them. Ask them the time, ask them how they are doing, what is their major, maybe even ask them a question you already know the answer to--like where is West Hall? This will get you a little more comfortable around strangers. Piece of advice: Avoid hot blond chicks--they're completely not helpful and you may actually lose intelligence with interaction. ;-)

    If nothing else works, take a swig of Tennessee whiskey before you get up, you should be set after that.

    Hope this helps you brother.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Aug 28, 2012 2:36 PM GMT
    Not at all. I'm great with a crowd.

    I get nervous jitters before but once I start I'm good.
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    Aug 28, 2012 3:07 PM GMT
    Mattnificent saidI used to hate it. Eventually after you get in front of the class so many times you will get used to it.


    +1

    They say prep helps, but it never calmed me down.... now, after doing hundreds a year its second nature.
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    Aug 28, 2012 3:23 PM GMT
    Used to up until my latter years of high school, then I got a job and starting talking to people I didn't know all the time... speaking in front of a crowd isn't that much different, imo.
    I don't mind it one bit... just don't expect me to be talking directly about myself. . . unless I'm singing it.
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Aug 28, 2012 3:25 PM GMT
    Yes....I am very shy...icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 3:34 PM GMT
    i know how u feel. when im talking to 3+ strangers i get super anxious, kinda shakey, i talk incredibly fast, so fast i choke in the middle of a sentence icon_redface.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 3:36 PM GMT
    take a public speaking course. you prob need a communications course, or it will fulfill gen ed requirement, in your POS.
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Aug 28, 2012 3:39 PM GMT
    When you know the material it is easy to speak about it.

    Do your homework. icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 3:39 PM GMT
    I used to hate/fear getting up in front of a group of people to speak, but I was sort of forced into it by taking on a leadership position in the military. If you are confident in your knowledge of the subject matter on what you speak of, then you should be fine. I think the biggest fear comes from judgement of speculation and skepticism. If you know what you are talking about, you can get past a lot of the anxiety.

    Public Speaking classes in college helped me a lot, also. Teaching you to make eye contact, scanning the room, using personal anecdotes...practice makes perfect. ANYONE can get over stage fright when it comes to public speaking. It just takes time. Most of all, confidence in yourself.
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    Aug 28, 2012 4:50 PM GMT
    dude, i feel your pain. I too once struggled unbelieveably with public speaking. . Like you, in college, I constantly had group presentations to do in front of the class. . Being a business major this was par for the course. I effing hated the day when it was my group's turn to present....

    I would literally dream up scenarios in my head to try and get out of it, but never actually acted on any of them. I always ended up just doing it...tho I was a nervous wreck...and everytime I ended up doing OK at it and realizing "why was I so incredibly nervous?"....but then next semester...it happened all over again in a different class. OMG hated it.

    Well, once I graduated college, I figured my public speaking days were over, thank god, right? Well, I got hired somewhere where I had to public speak on a daily basis.... I needed a paycheck. I kind of faked my enjoyment for public speaking on the interview and during the interview they actually asked me to stand up and give them a 5 minute speech. FAWWWWK!!! Well, I did and they hired me. I couldn't have been that bad, right?

    Well, after I started--I had to do so much public speaking it became a non-issue for me. I actually started to enjoy it....sometimes. Still kinda hated it, tho it was becoming tolerable. Now, today I am still public speaking years later... prob about 4 or 5 now....and STILL get nervous sometimes lol. But it's not nearly as bad as it once was. I am generally pretty good at it and as long as I know what information I need to present I don't have an issue with it.

    Keep doing it, dude. It'll get easier. I think after like the 50th time I did, I started to relax icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 4:51 PM GMT
    My business teacher told us that when giving presentations, never look anyone directly in the eye....also try to picture everyone naked...it'll help ease your mind a little.
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    Aug 28, 2012 4:57 PM GMT
    nope. Ive always been good at it.
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    Aug 28, 2012 4:58 PM GMT
    I'm more afraid of public speaking than I am of dying. Does that answer your question?
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    Aug 28, 2012 5:04 PM GMT
    tailgater_3 saidtake a public speaking course. you prob need a communications course, or it will fulfill gen ed requirement, in your POS.

    I did that and it didn't help. I managed to get an A in the course because I was well prepared for all of my speeches, but I was probably more nervous after taking the course than before taking the course. If you have an actual phobia, taking a public speaking course would probably be more detrimental to you than beneficial. I think they do offer courses that are designed for people with public speaking anxiety so that might be more beneficial to the op.