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Nerves when speaking in public, any advice?


Innadi
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When i was in Grade 3 - 7 i felt really at easy on a stage. I was on the debate teams for those few years. But then came high school and i started feeling terrified in front of people. In a lot of our classes we often had to read essays aloud, do speeches, etc. I hated it because it always felt like i was going to make a fool of myself. And when my voice started breaking. Oh god that was torture. I think now that i'm older and i really don't give a shot what people think it's better.

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Anything more than three people and I can't cope, truth be told. Which is a shame because people who know me personally say I've got a clear and confident style normally, which makes it easier to understand what I'm saying, but I really do just fall to pieces on stage. I choke and everything, terrified.

 

Which is why I do essays whenever possible.

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I don't think anyone's really immune to stage fright, especially in front of a large group. The only thing you can really do is practice.

 

As for me, I took on a more bombastic and hammy voice, and try to pretend that no one is really there. What you need to do is try to clear your mind of the audience, only acknowledging as necessary. As for the bombastic acting...

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I'm actually a lot better with presentations than with presentations within a small group because I'm at least prepared. Especially when I have some sort of overhead up with some visuals, that draws the attention off of me and more onto my material.

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I do public speaking for fun. I go to 3-4 day conferences and compete in tournaments for speech. I sometimes feel nervous, but the key part is to get comfortable with your setting and environment.

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I sometimes feel nervous, but the key part is to get comfortable with your setting and environment.

Yeah, it's this and how prepared I am.

 

When I'm in front of my peers presenting material I have been researching for a few weeks, I will go about the presentation with few flaws.

"Let your anger be as a monkey in a piñata... hiding amongst the candy... hoping the kids don't break through with the stick." - Master Tang

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Highschool debating champion 2007 represent :shades:

 

I've never had problems with speaking infront of large groups, like others have said it's probably because I was groomed to do it from a young age.

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I've been on the speech team at school throughout high school, plus quite a bit in middle school English, and I still get stage fright. I can't use scripts, because my hand shakes really badly, to the point where it looks like I'm terrified. It's pretty nice.

 

I actually don't feel I've gotten better because of speech, but whatever. I can suck it up and deal.

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I'll scrub until the damn thing comes off

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Just picture them all naked.

 

Horrible advice. You'll screw yourself over in a public presentation/whatever if you can't keep a straight face.

 

I used to have quite a bit of trouble speaking in front of a large group, but I've since grew out of that. I took some speech classes in college, and I didn't really have much trouble at all. Sure, I was nervous when trying to remember a script, but I found that it was much easier to not be so rigid about my speech. In other words, rather than trying to memorize the speech, it was much better to remember key points and just speaking in front of the group as if I was having some conversation with my friends. Also, look people in the eyes.

 

Like I said, speak to the crowd like you would with a smaller group/a group of friends. Don't use slang, but feel free to be relaxed with what you are saying. Don't make yourself think that you necessarily have to use high academic language (varies on the context of the situation). Also, keep a glass of water nearby. I think being dehydrated might make you a little nervous because you're experiencing discomfort (dessication of the throat).

 

Speeches are piss easy to make up too. They're structured like essays, but they're a lot more simplistic. When you transition to another point, just say some crap like "Now that I've spoken about [x], I will now talk about [y]." I could make up a speech in under 10 minutes if I had the main points well organized. :\

SWAG

 

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I can't use scripts, because my hand shakes really badly, to the point where it looks like I'm terrified. It's pretty nice.

I get the shakes too for presentations, but if it's something I enjoy doing it's far easier. For example, playing music live. That's always a breeze, probably because I've practiced it so much, without thinking "alright I'm going to rehearse this song now", so it always ends up being kind of automatic (I never fail to catch myself thinking about something totally unrelated). About six months ago, I did a presentation on the music industry in front of two judges (one of which I didn't know), and I felt that was easier to do than in front of classmates, even though it was far more important. In class, they really want you to [bleep] up, because presentations are always so damn boring that's the only amusing thing that might happen. I've had someone show me porn on their iPod while I was up.

Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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Ah stage fright... It's something I still have issues with to this day an a musician. I don't really try to go in thinking 'I can't screw up' I actually go in with a smile on my face and enjoy what I'm doing. While this works sometimes, others it don't and I have screwed up majorly once when I tried out for the Uni I'm at now. I actually had to be helped out of the room and was allowed to retry. Thankful the second time went a lot better then the first time.

 

To comment on what the last few posters said about 'the shakes'. I do get them quiet often, but not right before. It normally happens about... 20 minuets before I perform, maybe I do it to get everything negative idea out of my head then go on with my 'Keep up beat' method.

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Up until this year I was always terrified when I did speeches. I would always speak to fast, and just read off my que cards. Now however, I just learnt to not give a [bleep] what everyone else thinks. Think about when you are listening to speeches (or debates here). When someone else is speaking, you don't really give them your full attention, do you? And you're bored. So that's how everyone else feels. They don't care, so you shouldn't care what they think.

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That's never worked for me, though, because then I think, "Well no one cares what I have to say so maybe I should just stay quiet?" which doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.

 

The weird thing is that whenever I've had to teach other people how to do something, I find it dead easy to do public speaking because I know that they want to learn and and want to listen. Similarly, I've never had a problem performing music on stage. Yes I'm nervous, there's a moment when you're walking on when you think, "How the [bleep] did I end up doing this?" but once I start playing, I'm fine.

 

It's the "Describe your most recent holiday" or "What's your opinion on topic Y" type speeches I've always found more difficult to overcome.

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That's never worked for me, though, because then I think, "Well no one cares what I have to say so maybe I should just stay quiet?" which doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.

Then tell a few jokes. Keep your overall tone serious, but make it obvious you're having fun. Then you can think, "They don't care, why should I?" while also having your audience (Or at least yourself) laugh a little.

 

That's probably the biggest piece of advice I can give someone. That and look people in the eyes. Both will make you a lot less nervous. A lot.

My skin is finally getting soft
I'll scrub until the damn thing comes off

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Up until the 7th grade, I had a ton of stage freight when it came to presentations.

 

Nowadays though, I just get up and do it. I get a little nervous sometimes, especially if it's on a controversial issue and I have an unpopular opinion in the classroom (Abortion, for example), but when things start to get going and it starts to flow, it goes away.

 

What really helped me is just being more social in general.

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Understand the material. If you understand the stuff so well you can casually talk about it, you're golden.

 

Least how that is for me.

"The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you never hear it you'll never know what justice is."

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  • 3 weeks later...

So my little sister is getting married on Saturday. I and another dear friend are like "co-best men" we have a speech etc all written out. But I get REALLY nervous when speaking in front of a crowd of like 200 people lol. I hope the alcohol alone will calm my nerves but I was wondering if any one had some good ideas on how to cope with the stress of public speaking? It's a shame that I am almost 30 and get so weird when faced with a crowd.

 

So yea sorry if this post should be elsewhere, Mods will move it ;)

Edited by Swiller2
Removed unecessary pictures that stretched the page
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Swiller2, I merged your topic with the one about having stage fright (this one), as they are essentially the same thing.

 

Thanks :)

~Ouchy

My relaxation method involves a bottle of lotion, beautiful women, and partial nudity. Yes I get massages.

 

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I've never had any traces of problems speaking to the public. Heck, I kind of like it since it makes me feel more important.

 

Anyhoo, it helps to maybe think of depressing moments when overcoming this situation, then your mind won't become so engaged in

this fear.

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