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Nerves when speaking in public, any advice?


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Today, selections for the English debate were taking place at my school. I went to the selection room with my material and sat at the chair being confident that I will be selected. When my turn came, I just frikin froze, said something f****ed up, and just said that I can't say anything then. My heart is still beating at a rapid pace and I feel sad that I let down my English teacher and I got embarrassed in front of my seniors. Has this ever happened to you? Leave the responses here. :)

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Up until grade 7 (age 12) I definitely had stage fright whenever I had to make any kind of presentation. In grade seven, though, something changed, and I realized I didn't care what anyone thought of me - ever since then presentations have been easy.

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Up until grade 7 (age 12) I definitely had stage fright whenever I had to make any kind of presentation. In grade seven, though, something changed, and I realized I didn't care what anyone thought of me - ever since then presentations have been easy.

 

I found that works until you actually manage to somehow screw something up and things go bad. You can't really act confident and say 'i don't care' when you mess up, since those who put you there or allowed you to hold that speech will say 'why did you go up there if you didn't care, then? GTFO next time'. Although the confidence that gives you usually allows you to perform decently.

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I don't mean I make the presentation like I don't care - I meant that I didn't feel ashamed or embarrassed no matter what happened, which like you said gave me confidence.

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I managed to fail my solo performance piece in Year 12 Drama through a combination of nervousness and lack of preparation. Just managed to scrape a pass thanks to decent writing marks, though.

 

Usually I get nervous as hell, but as long as I've rehearsed long and well I won't get stage fright/screw up my lines or anything. Which makes me a pretty mediocre debater, I've found. I can do great speeches, but I'm teeeeeerrible at rebuttals.

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I probably did over 60 public presentations last year and I screwed up more times than I'd like to count. It's definitely something that takes practice if you're a somewhat reserved and shy person otherwise. The thing that helped me the most was being well-prepared, knowing my material forward and backward, while also having a note to glance at should I black out. And that it's perfectly acceptable to not rush through your material at lighting speed, rather it's better that you take it slow and speak clearly; take small 3-second breaks, etc. - this also makes it a lot more interesting for the people listening to you. It also helped the moment I realised that the audience don't want you to make a fool of yourself, they genuinely want you to do well. Also the fact that breathing slow, deep breaths makes a bigger difference than you'd think.

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As Azvareth said, it's all about practice. When I was a freshman I was incredibly shy and couldn't stand to be in front of people. Then I joined my schools drama and debate team. From there I performed in front of 1-2 people at a time, and as I got better and more confident and made it further in competitions that 1-2 turned to 3-4, then 5-6, to even a packed full room at times. It really helped ease me into confidence. I even performed in my schools musicals and plays junior and senior year.

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Leave the responses here. :)

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I've never done or had to do public speeches, but from my normal social behaviour i am a reclusive person. But i've said to myself countless times that if i indeed have an idea that i'm passionate about, which i truly think will bring something new or interesting, insteading of re-treading over old ground and making people yawn, then i'd step up with the utter most confidence in my ideas and spew them out. Ofcourse i've never had such ideas that i truly thought would be interesting, hence never wanted to stand out and give presentations or speeches.

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I'm nervous now because I'm preparing to audition for a musical, even though I'm not much of a singer. Everyone expects me to be the lead. Guess I won't worry about it until after auditions. I always just pushed through any fear. Which there will be - anyone who says otherwise is lying.

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I've never really had a problem with stage fright, probably because school prepared me for it at an early age. All throughout elementary and middle school I had to participate in school plays (where I played the lead on more than one occasion), read essays out loud in front of the class, play music in front of an audience, give monologues, dance performances, etc. Maybe I was shy/scared at first (can't honestly remember), but if I was, it definitely got hammered out of me.

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I went for the selection today evening but my heart is still pounding like crazy. I tried everything, Listened to Muse, Metallica and even Justin Bieber just for the heck of it. Went for a walk outside and it rained. Stuff is making me sad, its 12:30 AM(IST) and I am still not able to frickin sleep. :'(

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You'll probably have to take baby steps. Practice speaking in front of the mirror, then in front of your parents, then in front of a small group of friends, then in front of a slightly larger group, etc.

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I actually did a lotta stuff without stage fear in my life. But I like really ****ed up there today. Maybe I was overconfident, I actually didn't prepare or take any material with me.

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Everyone has it to some degree, look at Harrison Fords recent interview with Conan O'Brien and you'll see that even the most famous actors in the world have it.

 

As for me, I've done speaks and little lectures so many freaking times that I know I'm able to wing it, as long as I know what I'm talking about. My trick is I make a solid outline, and that's it! If you know you're stuff, a simple title or subtitle will bring back all the words so all you have to do is make sure you place those titles in a coherent order (the outline) and you're good to go.

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Everyone has it to some degree, look at Harrison Fords recent interview with Conan O'Brien and you'll see that even the most famous actors in the world have it.

 

As for me, I've done speaks and little lectures so many freaking times that I know I'm able to wing it, as long as I know what I'm talking about. My trick is I make a solid outline, and that's it! If you know you're stuff, a simple title or subtitle will bring back all the words so all you have to do is make sure you place those titles in a coherent order (the outline) and you're good to go.

 

I think that was mostly because he was on some sort of mind-altering substance(s) :P

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Generally for class speeches and presentations, I know that I don't care about what I have to say and everyone around me doesn't care what I have to say. While I might become a little nervous before a presentation, generally when things get going the nervousness goes away. This was true for the interviews I had a week ago, and a couple years ago.

 

Also when it came to my college speech class and I gave a presentation about something I did care about, halfway through my introduction my throat and mouth dried out and I had to force myself through that.

Looking back it was amusing; unfortunately my speech was capped to 7 minutes and I was right at that mark three fourths of the way through. Because of that I had to just say my conclusion and end the speech. The TA said I gave an excellent speech and handled everything very well.

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I used to get pretty nervous doing presentations at school. I'd have notes and stuff which kept me on track but found that when I was really nervous, I'd pronounce words wrong and just generally get myself tongue tied and flustered. Started playing in a band during school with some people I knew which helped immensely in getting rid of stage fright with all the little shows and local band nights we went to. The first few were nerve wracking but once we had a few under our belt the nerves during it weren't bad at all. I still get a little nervous before I start doing a presentation/playing live (which never happens now) but once I start and get comfortable, all the nerves vanish.

 

Practicing whatever it is you're going to be doing is greatly recommended. At school, they were all about looking at your audience when you were delivering your presentation, not talking whilst looking at your note papers for the duration. Instead of looking people directly in the eye all the time, which can get off putting, I always picked a spot on the wall at the back just above head height to look at when I felt the nerves getting to me.

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Just picture them all naked.

 

*gets "excited"*

 

I'm usually good speaking to small groups (10 or so) or really big groups (50+). Whenever it's ~20-30 people, I feel really nervous.

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I am a bit mixed when it comes to public speaking. I certain think I used to be a lot better when I was younger, like before I was 16. I used to do really well in speeches and presentations, I was know for doing pretty funny ones.

I also filled in for inter-house debating at my school quite a few times, I think the last time I did that was in 6th form, or my second to last year of school and we did really well. I didn't have any material prepared really, but wrote some on the spot and wrote a whole series of rebuttals.

Other times I've been horribly unprepared and have been shocking, one this year for English - I just had no confidence in what I was doing because I wrote the material not long before I had to present it.

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Public speaking without having the words right in front of me I just can't do. My memory sucks and the pressure of having to remember what to say without getting a chance to think I just can't do. Unless it's something that I know a lot about then I'm ok with it.

It's weird because I don't feel nervous, I just naturally screw up a lot? :P

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