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    I am 2 months into a part time PCET and am having a bit of an issue with confidence! I seem to do ok with speaking in front of smaller groups and contributing in general, but I’m struggling a little bit with speaking in front of a larger group. Actually, it only seems to be in front of my peers-I do ok in a classroom with the little bits of teaching I’ve done so far, but occasionally go to pieces when in front of my classmates, which is really odd! It also doesn’t help that my tutor keeps pointing out my nerves-yes, I am aware they are there! Stop drawing attention to them!

    Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that it is becoming an issue because I am not being regularly exposed to opportunities in order for me to challenge my nerves and therefore become desensitised to them, so to speak-I am only at uni once a week and in a classroom once a week. So, what I am looking for from you lovely forum dwellers are suggestions for things I can do in my spare time to practise standing and talking in front of people. Any ideas? Any random activities I should seek to take part in??
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    I am so sorry you are going through that! No one, no matter how confident they come off, really likes to speak in front of people, especially their equals. You are having more of a hard time speaking in front of your classmates because you are all in the same boat, and you want them to think good things of you and your work. That's entirely normal. It is a shame that your teacher keeps bringing up the issue of the nerves, because the more you talk about it, the more it gets sort of "stuck" in your head- thus making you more nervous!

    I think first off you need to tell yourself that what you are going through is normal, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. When we are too hard on ourselves, we sort of clam up. It's better to accept that you are facing a difficulty, and be nice to yourself! It's not easy! Have you ever thought about doing any theatre? Granted, I realize you probably don't have almost any time at all- but even one group meeting/lesson a week could be really beneficial- especially if you are doing activities like improvisation. I did theatre for a long time and it was a huge blessing- because having to get up and put yourself entirely up in front of your friends and fellow classmates and act silly, put on strange voices, and learn to take criticism really can help!! There are also groups that meet every week to improve their public speaking- it's called Toast Masters and there might be a group near you. I know my mother does it and she says that it works wonders, and all of the people are super nice. Some activity like this might break that wall, and will make you feel a lot more comfortable.

    If you can't fit that sort of time dedication in, why not ask some of your close friends or family to sit around at your house and let you practice on them? I also know that sometimes before giving a presentation I'll act it out in my room, speaking out loud, and that really helps get what you want to say well formed in your head so even if your nerves hit you, your brain steps in and the words will keep coming out. I think what might help you the most is some relaxation and even medidation at the house, some positive energy letting yourself know that it is perfectly ok and expected to be feeling this way, and that in the end, everyone in that class is feeling the same way as you. They may have found some ways to mask it, and they might be feeling different degrees of confidence, but everyone can empathize with being nervous!

    When you feel the nerves starting to hit, just be your own best friend. Take some deep breaths and tell yourself "I'm not nervous, I'm excited." You are excited to make a good impression, to talk about something that you've worked hard on, not nervous. The symptoms can all be the same: the racing heart, the mind racing. But just thinking about it in a different, more positive light can actually make a big difference.

    I hope some of this helps, and that you start feeling better!
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    Some fine words of wisdom there from jackie.

    Just wanted to reiterate the thing about programming oneself about feeling excited in making a good impression, as that is precisely what I tell myself if ever I am in a situation like that. I, myself used to be incredibly nervous when speaking to audiences, but I learned that you just have to think it's an opportunity to showcase yourself in a good light and it's important to grasp that opportunity so you don't have any regrets later. Going into anything with that frame of mine that "I don't want to feel as if I've given it my best shot and I don't have any regrets later".

    Perhaps listening to some upbeat music beforehand might help as well to relax you physically and mentally.
 
 
 
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