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I'm terrible at public speaking!

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    Try and remember what you think of someone when you are watching them speak. You're not judging them right? Just maintaining a polite interest. Well, that's what everyone else is thinking when you're speaking. There's no pressure coming from them - you're creating the pressure yourself.

    Try and relax and practice a bit - I used to be terribly shy and bad at public speaking too, but now my seminar tutor praises my speaking.
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    Everyone else has given great advice, but I just wanted to add my view. You're not alone, I used to be petrified of speaking in public - even speaking in front of 10 people was a nightmare. What really helped me was practice; it's taken 7 years (all through high school and sixth form) but I can say I am a lot more confident now. A few techniques I've used are practicing exactly what I'm saying about 20 times, testing it out on friends, focusing on one specific person (i.e. a good friend) and pretending you're having a normal conversation, and just doing some deep breathing to calm me down. I recently joined one charity club at school and had to talk in front of 120 people and I did it without much fuss. I hope you'll get better - it takes time, but I've eventually found you can succeed in public speaking with practice and patience.
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    Ah I used to be bad as well. I remember during my A Levels doing a short speech in front of my English class ans I was shaking so bad I couldn't read the paper the speech was written on

    In Uni I just signed up for extra curricular activities without knowing what they were and one of them was mooting, which I discovered (much to my horror) was a mock trial in which you had to speak in front of a judge and 3 other contestants and to make it even worse, answer the judge's questions to boot. First one I stammered my way through and swore never to do it again. I got through (judge must have pittied me, is all I can think). Second one I was a bit better. Third one a bit better still. Eventually made it to the uni final in front of a big audience, and won. Then did a couple of external contests, again in front of audiences, and won those as well.

    Turns out I actually love public speaking once I got into it. Its a real rush, so long as I am fully prepared and know what I am saying like the back of my hand I can go in with full confidence. I've even now started volunteering to do people's hearings at work. Only the little ones, because I don't have higher rights of audience, but I'm quite happy to trot along to the court with my file. Hehe. All I can say is keep practising, maybe you'll end up loving it.
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    I am similar, I used to be petrified of going up in front of a crowd of people and speaking, but now I am fine. The only problem is that my voice is still terrible, I have no flow and I end up stuttering throughout my speech. My whole body shakes when I have to get up in front of crowds, it is very irritating.
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    (Original post by Vohamanah)
    Ah I used to be bad as well. I remember during my A Levels doing a short speech in front of my English class ans I was shaking so bad I couldn't read the paper the speech was written on

    In Uni I just signed up for extra curricular activities without knowing what they were and one of them was mooting, which I discovered (much to my horror) was a mock trial in which you had to speak in front of a judge and 3 other contestants and to make it even worse, answer the judge's questions to boot. First one I stammered my way through and swore never to do it again. I got through (judge must have pittied me, is all I can think). Second one I was a bit better. Third one a bit better still. Eventually made it to the uni final in front of a big audience, and won. Then did a couple of external contests, again in front of audiences, and won those as well.

    Turns out I actually love public speaking once I got into it. Its a real rush, so long as I am fully prepared and know what I am saying like the back of my hand I can go in with full confidence. I've even now started volunteering to do people's hearings at work. Only the little ones, because I don't have higher rights of audience, but I'm quite happy to trot along to the court with my file. Hehe. All I can say is keep practising, maybe you'll end up loving it.
    Reading this was really encouraging I will definitely be joining as many societies as possible- anything so I can read aloud without becoming a gibbering mess Thanks!
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    I know how you feel: I shake and sway when I have to stand up in front of people and speak, which isn't good considering I want to be a teacher.
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    Practice makes perfect! And although that sounds like a deranged platitude, it really is the only advice I can give - not indicating I'm naive on public speaking - because so many people have said this to me/others over the years. Just practice infront of a mirror, or imagine having an audience so you get used to the idea of people staring at you (hopefully engaged in what you're saying!). Good luck!
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    (Original post by Tahooper)
    I'm a pretty bad pubic speaker to be honest, so I understand what you mean.
    (Original post by Tahooper)
    bad pubic speaker
    (Original post by Tahooper)
    bad pubic speaker
    :eek:

    Note:I'm not normally a grammer Nazi, but this one couldn't go away unnoticed...

    EDIT: Hadn't noticed someone else had already pointed it out, sorry :P
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    Just watch kate middleton videos over and over again
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    (Original post by jojayne)
    I'm usually quite shy in lessons anyway- but the minute I have to read a text aloud, it is just one huge, awkward disaster. My voice physically shakes - I get hot and my heart beats really fast. It's so embarrassing and recently after going to an English applicant visit day, we all had to read a line of a Shakespeare sonnet in a seminar and I stumbled over my line. It's embarrassing and I'd hate to go through the same thing at university.

    Sorry about the life story but just had to get it off my chest. But just wondering if anyone has been through anything similar? and if so what helps.

    Just practice

    At secondary school I hated public speaking, even in front of my A-level classes of around 15 people. But I played World of Warcraft for a few years, and I used to lead raid teams of 24 other people to do these strategic fights. Pretty much all of these other players were older than me, so being able to take on a leadership role with a nice barrier between me and the other people made it so much easier - plus no-one could see me blushing away as I spoke

    Then at uni it was fairly hard, but I just threw myself into it. For our first architecture project we had to present our 4-man team designs to around 150 other students, and around 40 teachers/visiting architects, but I just made mental bullet-points of everything and went through it like clockwork, as if I was explaining a fight to my raid team back in WoW

    I still don't enjoy speaking publicly, even asking questions in lectures, but it's definitely getting easier with practice.
    I'd suggest trying to gradually get into it, with me I had the barrier of speaking over voice-chat, perhaps you could try voicing opinions and the like in small groups? Maybe there's some philosophy society at uni, or a reading group, or something where you can voice your opinions in a relatively intimate environment?


    edit: oh, one piece of specific advice I would give is not to memorise what you want to say word-for word. All it does is tempt you to speed up when talking, which makes it harder for you to deliver it smoothly, which makes you more embarrassed, which makes you speed up even more, etc etc

    Try listing the main aspects of something you want to talk about, and then just cover each of them in turn. That way you might get a slight break in rhythm as you change to another 'point', but it'll lend itself to a more confident style of speaking, plus you start to realise that you actually know what you're talking about! So for example, for my architecture presentation on the sculpture we designed as a 4-man team, I decided to touch upon colour, form, idea behind it, inspiration, how we used the materials supplied, how it all complimented the brief we were given, and then any interesting 'ethereal' points. Then I summed it up, and that was it
    Since I knew why we did what we did, it was easy to talk about the points, all I had to do was remember what to talk about
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    Just imagine everyone in their underwear.
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    (Original post by Add!ction)
    Just imagine everyone in their underwear.
    Imagine they are in their underwear, they said. It will be cool, they said.
    Next thing I know I start laughing my ass off in the middle of a presentation about Maya Angelou's rape.
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    Trust me you guys have it lucky! I have always hated public speaking more than goats cheese! I have just been informed that i will have to do one in front of 120 people in the first semester of the Uni i am going to :O How the hell am i going to do that, when i can't even do it in front of 10 people! Looks like im going to have to drink a lot of alcohol beforehand :/
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    i cant really emphasise but i understand if you felt like that solely because of the teacher rather than talking infront of everyone.

    most appropriate thing i can think of is simply to try and not think about everyone and just focus on what you are reading out.

    other than that, i cant really say anything else except for doing what sheldon cooper did in the big bang theory when he won the award...
    Spoiler:
    Show
    get drunk
    Spoiler:
    Show
    just a joke :lolwut:
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    (Original post by jojayne)
    I'm usually quite shy in lessons anyway- but the minute I have to read a text aloud, it is just one huge, awkward disaster. My voice physically shakes - I get hot and my heart beats really fast. It's so embarrassing and recently after going to an English applicant visit day, we all had to read a line of a Shakespeare sonnet in a seminar and I stumbled over my line. It's embarrassing and I'd hate to go through the same thing at university.

    Sorry about the life story but just had to get it off my chest. But just wondering if anyone has been through anything similar? and if so what helps.

    I was like this when I was younger. The key is to realise that the people you are speaking to give as little of a **** about what you have to say as you would give about their speech/presentation/whatever. It's likely that few people are even listening after the first few minutes. The only thing that really helps with this is practice. It does feel weird at first addressing a whole room of people when that's not something you normally do, but it gets less weird the more you do it.
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    This used to happen to me but then I realised it wasn't just during public speaking. I was constantly on edge whenever I had to interact with other people but it was just more obvious during presentations. I went to my doctor and long story short realised I have social anxiety. You asked what makes it better and well for me it's a combination of therapy and beta blockers.

    Everyone gets a little nervous during public speaking but if you think there might be more to it than that then don't let the problem go unnoticed or it will just get worse and interfere with your life.
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    i used to be like that i just found that with practice it goes away and youll be fine =]

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Updated: March 25, 2012
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