Is Public Speaking easy for you??

United States
July 20, 2010 4:44pm CST
So... I am taking Presentation Essentials online... new classes started yesterday. I am a bit nervous because I'm not really a great public speaker... actually I've never really given a formal speech. I have participated in Spoken Word Poetry, something that I'm very passionate about.. and before that, I am mostly more anxious and excited than nervous. I did take a Newpage Global class where I acted as the CEO of BP and Exxon Mobil for a Public Hearing about Changing Environmental Issues and also I have given a prayer at my graduation from my school as VP of the Student Body. But, I am going to find this course challenging and hope that I pick a subject that I am so passionate about that it will hide my nervousness. I feel like everyone knows that I am nervous when I feel that way and that they can SEE it. My lip quivers, my eye jumps and my hands shake. I am sitting and reading my book now looking over ways to channel that into positive energy from such an adrenaline rush. Are you a great public speaker?? Why or why not?? Tips from Professional Public Speakers welcome!!
2 people like this
32 responses
• Philippines
20 Jul 10
hi! it's quite normal to feel nervous during a presentation or public speech. even veterans and seasoned speakers still feel that at times. i'm not great in public speaking but i can say that i have grown accustomed to it that i'm more comfortable now speaking in front of a crowd, local or international. there are many tips i picked up along the way, here's some: practice and practice some more. mastery of the topic is one but inject some passion into it. believe in your words and it will be communicated. when you are selling an idea, you must be the first one to be convinced about it. practice in front of the mirror, with the kids, with the dog, with the tree... anything or anyone who can't give you back a harsh feedback til you are ready to face it. lol then practice in small groups until you are ready to face a crowd. smile. it does lots of wonders. when you are nervous, smile. before you begin the speech... smile. when you fumble, smile. when you forgot a word, smile. when you finish your presentation, smile. almost everyone who looks into a speaker wants to see a smile... not a grimace, not a frown, not a sad face, and definitely not an indescribable one. hehe make eye contact. when you want to stress a point, communicate it with words, your body language and your eye. being able to look into a person straight into his/her eyes send a message of conviction... that you believe in what you are saying. though, one should not make unnecessary movements especially with the hands. speak clearly. this is communication. speak the words out that is understandable and everyone can hear clearly. not too slow nor fast, not too high or soft... but make it in a range you are comfortable with but at the same time think about your audience. chanelling nervousness. hehe relax. take deep breaths. walk around a bit. hydrate yourself, take sips of water. and when you do the presentation... smile. don't think about your audience... think of it as only a practice and that you are doing great. psyching yourself positively is attracting positive energy. if you can't look at people, look at the foreheads. hehe it would seem you are looking at them even when your eyes are glued to the foreheads only. if you have trembling hands, clasp them together. that would look relax somehow. if allowed, tell a joke, tell something personal that is related to your presentation... like a testimonial or personal experience that would add integrity to your presentation. in presentations, learn the proper pacing and blocking, how to make your presentation simple yet understandable, the colors and the number of lines per viewing page. start strong and finish with a strong message. relate and communicate the message across. make your words count. goodluck! hope any of the above would be of help.
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
exactly! hehe i think people can be harsh at times to themselves thinking negative thoughts before it happens. hehe a person's hardest critic is himself... the hardest to please and the most judgmental. lol it can be scary, but it all starts in our thoughts. if one thinks differently... then we hold the power over our thoughts.
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
@Silvio i also hated public speaking, it feels sort of embarrassing even though you don't look stupid in front of other people, it's just that i feel awkward upon standing in front of them, telling them things straight in the eye and they gave you a raised eyebrow. I feel like the moment i stand there, they'll laugh at me. Is it really bad to be ugly?
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
thanks mrscallands22! the BR is very much appreciated. yes, a bit of experience. i did some training and every now and then i try to improve some more. i still attend seminars so i can further develop what i have learned. i used to practice in corners and behind the curtains during training day1. lol it looked silly but that's how i started years ago. then my first presentation is with a group of 5 then a group of 32. when you become used to it, it won't matter whether you do it in front of 10, 100 or 1000. my largest crowd was 6500, predominantly women. but it was nothing technical. just relax. you can do it. and there is always room for improvement if you don't nail it the first time. interesting fact on polls btw. hehe
@34momma (13895)
• United States
21 Jul 10
I would say it's not something I have a problem with. of course i will admit that i get nervous. who wouldn't. it's just about not allow those nerves to keep you from doing what you need to do. moving away from fear and into a good mental place so you can get things done
• United States
22 Jul 10
You're one of the lucky ones!! I wish I could just feel that way, set my mind to to say something and when put in front of others, just SAY it... as if I were in a room by myself. That takes a lot of skill! Thanks for sharing your views!!
1 person likes this
@34momma (13895)
• United States
22 Jul 10
you can do it for sure... you just need to set your mind to it
• United States
29 Jul 10
Thanks so much for believing in me!! It's crazy that someone I don't even know believes in me more than people I see everyday!! I really appreciate that.. thanks again.
@keshia2007r (2886)
• United States
21 Jul 10
I hate public speaking as well! I'm like you my lips quivers, my voice shakes, my breathing gets really heavy and people can just tell that I'm nervous. But if I'm talking or reading sitting down its more easier for me, but standing up. lol no! horrible at public speaking and I need to get over it. I have a public speaking class in the spring semester and a new school where i don't know anybody so, i'll just have to work or it. I'll have to fake that i'm not nervous, or at least makes friends with half the class. And you can do the same, other than that, good luck to the both of us!!
• United States
21 Jul 10
I'd like to first start by saying.. GOOD LUCK in your Public Speaking course. I wish so badly that I could control my nervousness but I am studying now how to channel that negative energy into positive energy. The readings in my textbook help out a lot.. I have just finished the first 3 chapters. I hope that we both can find techniques that will relieve that extra added tension and stress just before presentation! Thanks for commenting!!
• United States
21 Jul 10
Thank you, and I will now look for books myself to learn how to deal w/ my nervousness. lol thanks
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
i'm not good at it. that's maybe why i love writing. hahah... even if i'm very knowledgeable of the subject, i still have stomach cramps before and during presentations. when i'm nervous i tend to speak really fast and then catch my breath in between, which is really bad. i also can't keep long speaking louder than my normal tone, so again, i'd catch my breath in between.^_^ i do lots of hand movements which made my nervousness more apparent and i don't know where to look while talking. but i don't get nervous and delivers well if i know that inside the room, i'm superior than anyone. in my previous job, i was oftentimes pulled out of operation to train new hires or to conduct additional skill training to other tenured operators and inside every class i had, i am usually the boss. i'd have a co-facilitator with me but i do most of the lectures. but now that i'm back to school, reporting in class seemed to be very different from training employees. there are teachers who constantly interrupt you, and it's their class not mine. plus, my classmates have no high regard of me since i'm just one of them. with my trainees before, they think of me as their mentor. so other than a training environment, i am no good public speaker.
• United States
21 Jul 10
I love writing, too.. it is my personal outlet of feelings and thoughts, that I cannot particularly voice so easily aloud. I have a very soft voice... so while you speak loud and maybe others can hear you.. I can constantly being asked to repeat myself or "What??" or "Huh??" It gets quite frustrating as I hate repeating myself. Also, if people don't understand you or aren't listening, they tend to ask questions to something you may have already answered. I also understand how when the situation changes as you stated from being a boss to a student, it can change your mood when publicly speaking. It shouldn't... but it always seems to. It's weird! Thanks for sharing your experiences!!
• Philippines
22 Jul 10
no prob!^_^
@saiKO92 (392)
• Malaysia
21 Jul 10
Hello there. I'm not a good speaker when the first time I had to speak in front of the public but luckily it was only in front of my schoolmates and teachers. After that I entered some speech competition through my school. I also had to gave a speech once a every two months, ordered by my English teacher. The results is I can speak in front of a public with little problems now. But the nervousness is still there before I give a speech.
• United States
21 Jul 10
Experience is how I guess you grow out of that.. I don't see myself ever just NOT being nervous at all before giving a presentation, speech or simply publicly speaking. I hope that I can be charismatic and confident when I speak.. but I also hope that I come across as this way to my listeners, too. I am glad you are getting better at it!! Hopefully one day I can be saying the same.. Thanks for sharing your experience!!
@saiKO92 (392)
• Malaysia
21 Jul 10
Yes, I guess so. I think having support from your love ones is an important essence to make you less nervous. Your welcome..
• Philippines
28 Feb 11
I am not a great speaker both in public and private level. This is because I do not have the confidence to speak up my thoughts. I have very low self-esteem. I tend to get so nervous/tense that my hands are shaking, my body so stiff, and my mind doesn't work at all. I end up like having an amnesia or a mental block for lesser worse.
• United States
28 Feb 11
I know the feeling. It's horrible. I don't feel that there's any class that you can take for that. It is just what type of people we are. As one gets older, I feel that it subsides a little. Thanks for sharing!!
@jerikjames (1045)
• Philippines
19 Aug 10
I'm not a pro in public speaking, I just want to share how I do with the topic. Anyway, I'm always a little nervous when it comes to public speaking but I'm fine with it. Not to brag or anything, but when I was in high school, my school always choose me whenever there's an event or a public speaking competition. I really like voicing out my ideas and opinions and public speaking is a good avenue to express them although they're a bit unnerving since there's usually a lot of people.
• United States
28 Feb 11
I consider you one of the lucky ones. I wish that I could just erase that feeling I get right before I hit the stage. If I could do that, then I guess I'd be ok. Thanks for commenting!!
@SimpleBB (1332)
• Philippines
17 Aug 10
Ouch! that is my ultimate dream, even not a great, but atleast to be a good public speaker. I could say that I'm good in school, informal discussion, and the like. Actually, that is the usual reason why I was always requested to represent a group, but I don't know, everytime, I'm going to step infront of a crown or even those people whom I used to discussed with, I always got nervous. I know the issue, I am the one who made the report, the issue has been discussed well during our free time, but when it needs to present infront or let say formal way, it always weakened my reflexes. I took my masters and it is more of presentation, debate, discussion..but I never get used to it. It still me who suffer in a stage fright they say. And that is one of my fear I want to conquer.
• United States
28 Feb 11
I agree with you on some things. I am like that too. No matter how much I prepare myself or even if I seem to know almost everything about the topic on which I am speaking... there is this lingering nervousness that I just can't shake. Sometimes I feel so uneasy that I start trembling and I feel as if everyone can see it. Or my lip quivers. I think it is more of a matter of self esteem and confidence sometimes. Thanks for sharing your views!!
@lulu1220 (1010)
• United States
17 Aug 10
When I was younger, I hated speaking in front of other people. I was very self conscious and may hands were shaking. I took a drama class in high school to help me get over this fear. I managed to remember my lines and not be too bad of an actor. I even tried out for a play once. I was very nervous and was awful, but at least I tried it. It is still not my favorite thing to do, but as I have gotten older I have a little more confidence.
@bkrm_gupt (220)
• India
29 Jul 10
Yes! to be infront of the gathering crowed is not an easy job.When i was in school my day came to be myself in the front of the assembly to deliver speech,i feel so nervous,shivering,its lacks me courage to deliver the speech.No one is perfect in this world every one makes mistakes mistakes makes us man perfect perfect.so we should never fell down but feel proud and improving our self.
• United States
29 Jul 10
I'm sorry that your public speaking experience wasn't the best. And you're absolutely right... God made no man perfect... so there are things that we can't do as successfully as we would like to. And everything also requires practice and patience. I hope that it gets better for you and me!! Thansk for sharing!!
@nuj_kmr (171)
• India
27 Jul 10
Actually i am not a good speaker ,i cannot speak in front of the public because lack of confident and nervousness .When i am speaking in public my hand used to sweat and my legs used to shake and my throat used to vibrate.When i am speaking in public i see only their head and it make me headache.So,i think that i should improve .
• United States
29 Jul 10
I understand exactly how you feel. It is so stressful standing up in front of otheres. I just hate the feeling of everyone focusing their attention on me and staring at me. I don't like to be stared at.. like at all. Even if I am knowledgeable of what I'm speaking on, I feel like they are judging me or analyzing me... because that's what I do when I'm listening to someone... I just hope that I develop the necessary skills to speak efficiently by the 5th week of my class which is in 3 weeks to give my speech!! Thanks for commenting!!
@pirate451 (152)
• India
24 Jul 10
No,is not easy to speak in public,when I was student we have to give a speech one by one in public,that time I got bit nervous because I don't have confidence to speak in public.After few second I was severing but I hide that nervousness and severed.So now I can speak with very confidences.Now is no problem I can speak very easy because I have habit of speaking with guest.
• United States
29 Jul 10
How many times did it take you to speak in front of others before you reaached your comfort zone and your level of confidence escalated?? I know that I may bomb the speech my first time... but if I can work towards making it better on me... and not such a stressful situation, then maybe I won't hate it as much! Thanks for sharing!!
• India
22 Jul 10
Hi, I really got many chances to speak in public, but i was really afraid to talk, and really got scared one time, and came out of the stage, really funny
• United States
29 Jul 10
Aww you sound like me!! Even though I've never ran off stage, I've wanted to and felt like it would be easier if I did. Thanks for sharing your experience!!
@megamatt (14326)
• United States
22 Jul 10
Public speaking is always something that I hated doing but always did fine with when I actually did it. If that makes any sense. There is a lot of times where I fear that I will not be able to speak but when it comes time for me to actually man up and speak, I do fairly good. It just goes to show you that the anticipation is far worse than the actual event. The best thing to do is just to step up and just start talking. Do not pause all that much. The best way to get speeches done is to in fact actually get them done. If you just start speaking and keep at it, it will be over before you know it. I think that there are times where I might be nervous but if I just start talking, then I have to focus on actually giving the speech.
• United States
29 Jul 10
That is wonderful. I know that you are relieved that you react this way. Once I become nervous, it's almost like I go blank and forget what's going on at hand... all that I can focus on at that point is not appearing to be nervous or anxious and trying not to embarass myself. Hopefully one day, I will react the way you do to public speaking. Lucky you. Thanks for sharing your experiences!!
• United States
21 Jul 10
My first suggestion would be to take a deep breath. Sit down and think about why you are so nerous speaking in front of people. Your focus should be: first on disarming your fear. Think about the people in clown costumes or something else that is funny. Second, you can hold on to the podium if there is one or you can walk back and forth with your hands in your pocket. Third, find a subject that you truly love and then if possible memorize the notes you have made or place the notes where you can see them. Fourth, be sure to continue eye contact on every note card but you don't have to look at the audience the whole time. I enjoy talking to people, so find something that you really want to share with others and go from there. I hope this was helpful to you.
• United States
29 Jul 10
I will definitely try the breathing exercise as that does sound quite relaxing... and my hands do shake from time to time... so sticking my hands in my pockets sounds like a great idea, too! I will definitely take into account all of these helpful suggestions and try to do my best!! Thanks for the tips!!
@reetu3 (264)
• India
21 Jul 10
no it is not so easy for me....i always avoid public speaking i m very shy and reserved kind of person and i didn't speak a lot and speaking in public makes me numb...but i'd tried once it was a good experience...
• United States
21 Jul 10
I don't think that ANYONE actually looks forward to public speaking. However, at least you did try and succeeded!! I feel that we, as humans, limit our abilities based on what we THINK we can do... instead of actually DOING!! Thanks for sharing your experience!!
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
21 Jul 10
I was quite shy as a child. Just the thoughts of public speaking would be enough to paralyze me with fear. Then in 9th grade, my English class studied different forms of speech. This helped me a great deal even though I was a little nervous about it at first. I still don't prefer to be a public speaker, but I could be up to the challenge.
• United States
21 Jul 10
I was shy as a child, too, and I still am into my young adulthood. I am more confident in myself than I was then, but some things just never change lol. So I definitely know the feeling. I loved English and found that that was the only class I felt comfortable speaking in... being that I was usually sharing my original works. At least now, you are more willing and susceptible to public speech. That will get you farther than you ever imagined! Thanks for sharing!!
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
public speaking...i've not had much experience in public speaking at all but i think i'm on my way. we'll have a public speaking class next semester and hopefully i'll do good in it. however, i think i'm not so confident in this area because sometimes, i'm at a lost for words when i try to express myself :( (so sad!)
• United States
21 Jul 10
Good luck in your public speaking course next semester!! I'm 3 days in my course and am learning a lot just from reading the text that I never knew. This is definitely something to be practiced at and nothing you can just expect to walk into class and WING. I have that same problem sometimes when trying to express myself and find myself looking for words, stumbling over facts that I know are true and forgetting the lineup of what I'm ready to say. It gets better.. I assure you. Thanks for commenting!!
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
21 Jul 10
For me not so because as not the perfect person we encounter stage fright so to became not be brave and pray to Jehovah God that he can cure your feeling's and do the job.
• United States
21 Jul 10
Yes, stage fright is no joke. It sometimes has my heart pounding, my palms sweating and my body shaking ALL over... but I just have to find my comfort zone. Which is seeming to be difficult right now. I will definitely pray that God puts his hands in this and helps me to overcome my fears! Thanks for the tips!!
• Malaysia
21 Jul 10
First time, indeed the feeling of nervous and uncomfortable. Try practice in front of your friends and family before the actual presentation. At least it will help you to overcome your nervousness.
• United States
21 Jul 10
I am definitely going to try that. I will have to... because I am such a nervous wreck when it comes to things like this! Thanks for the tips!!