Public Speaking

22 Apr


I terribly hate talking in front of people.

I wasn’t always this way. In elementary school I was fine giving presentations and speeches, and all that. Even in middle school I had no problems; I was shy but never had a problem going up in front of the class. And then one day in English class in ninth grade, I was giving a presentation on a book. I didn’t even have to stand up; I was just sitting. I didn’t really have anything exact prepared, and then it happened: my voice started shaking. It got really bad and awkward and I couldn’t think of anything to say. As I rambled, I realized I hadn’t breathed in a while. I had to stop talking, pause, and take a deep, shaky breath. It felt like every second was dragging by; every moment I wasn’t talking, it was a deathly long silence when in reality it was only 2 or 3 seconds. My cheeks felt like they were getting hotter, and my voice was wavering and wobbling. I ended with a weak ‘and…yeah.’ and so it began. Ever since then, I’ve had the same problem: my voice starts shaking while I’m giving a presentation. It’s led to me having anxiety whenever I’m told we have to present, and nerves days in advance. Sometimes if I know I have to give a presentation soon, I have a hard time sleeping because I become so preoccupied with it. About twice since then, it hasn’t happened to me while I was presenting. I’ve been so relieved every time it doesn’t, but I have no idea how to stop it every other time.

Anyone else inflicted with the agony I have when I know I have to give a presentation? I’d love to hear your stories and how you cope with it. I wish I wasn’t like this, I need to find a way to fix it! Why can’t I go back to how I was before? D:


6 Responses to “Public Speaking”

  1. Thomas April 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

    Aw, that sounds horrible! Don’t feel alone – at the college my brother attends all students are required to take a public speaking class, just because so many people struggle with it. It’s one of those things that you have to work on before you feel comfortable with it.

    I used to have a minute fear of public speaking, mostly because of my natural self-consciousness. However, one time I sat down and thought,” Why am I so afraid of talking to these people? It’s not like they’re critically analyzing me or anything…” and after that it’s gotten better. I think my reasoning makes sense, because honestly, it’s not like the people you’re presenting to (your high school peers) are going to judge you and mock you – I bet a lot of them even have the same fear as you.

    I’m a bit nervous about the speech I’ll have to give at the next National Honor Society meeting, but to calm myself I think,” Hey, it’s not like you’re being graded – in fact, everyone is just waiting to leave. Might as well give it your best shot.” Maybe thinking along those lines will help you.

    By the way, I loved the description of when your voice shook during the English presentation in ninth grade. 🙂

    • lightningflash2 April 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM #

      Thanks, I’ve been trying to use the same approach but it ends up like “Everyone will be looking at you. Even if they aren’t paying attention, the only thing they’ll hear is YOUR VOICE.” and then I panic some more >_<
      and haha that happens all the time! I ESPECIALLY hate the whole breathing thing. It always ends up as this one long drag of air that everyone can probably hear rattling o_o

  2. element119 April 26, 2011 at 5:36 AM #

    Well, what helps me is concentrating on what I am saying which is easy if what you are talking about is something you are passionate about. So when you speak your words, really think about what they mean and why you believe what you believe. I know it can be hard to be so passionate about certain books that you present, so instead just concentrate heavily on the book; do it to such a level that you almost forget your audience.

    • lightningflash2 May 12, 2011 at 6:10 PM #

      Thanks for the advice! I’ve had about three presentations since I’ve posted this and two were pretty bad…but I hope to get experience and not be such a wimpy ball of nerves ^_^;

  3. lorelai18 September 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM #

    I used to have to do speeches all the time in middle school, and got a level 8 (extremely high) at the end. I used these techniques:
    1. Take deeps breaths beforehand, to shake off the trembly feeling. Smile a bit, it helps to release Serotonin, a “happy” hormone and relaxant.
    2. If standing up, concentrate on the speech and imagine you’re alone in the room. Or, imagine they all have various sorts of underwear on their heads. This helps focus on them and not on the paper in front of you (higher marks).
    3. Talk to people you like, focus on them, and give them the speech.
    4. You are not a wimp! It takes more courage to talk to your peers than to someone you’ve never met before.
    5. remember you can do it.

    hope this helps.

    • lightningflash2 September 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM #

      Thanks so much for the help! I’ll be sure to keep these in mind!

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