how does one speak in public, when one of ones greatest fears is public speaking

Philippines
February 13, 2012 6:07am CST
i've got to defend my thesis in front of a mini theater room full of people and about 6 architecture professors...how the hell am i supposed to do that when the very thought of speaking in front of my classmates make my knees shake, and my voice go away...anybody got good tips on how to at least lessen my nervousness?
4 responses
@eunife (165)
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
when talking in front of people, try to be cool and don't think of what they would think about you. look over the top of their heads or at their foreheads, not to their eyes. movements may also be helpful. hand gestures, shoulder and head movements, walking, or even a simple tiptoeing may also help you throw down the nervousness. Also, prepare answers for all the possible question that the panel may be asking. When i defended my thesis and there were questions i could not answer, i would say. "that is beyond my scope and limitations but i will surely add it on my recommendations". i don't recommend that you use this phrase too, but it is better to give an answer than no answer at all. good luck!
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
those are really good tips...might actually use them...thank you so much for that..i never would have thought about absolutely answering all the questions..the whole "that is beyond my scope and limitations" thing will surely be helpful..thank you sooo much for that :)
• United States
13 Feb 12
I totally disagree about avoiding their eyes. This will make you look unnatural, and it will make them notice your nervousness instead of just listening to you the way you listen to people who come in to speak to your classes. Also, movement can be good, but if you're very nervous, it can also cause you to trip up, so I'd recommend avoiding movement.
@AmbiePam (86180)
• United States
13 Feb 12
I just try to act like they are nobodies. Because I used to be extra nervous too. But I found it I act like I'm calm, the act turns to reality. I wish I had some practical tips to give you. Good luck!
• Philippines
13 Feb 12
well...so i just have to act calm..haha..i dunno how i'm supposed to pull that off..but thanks anyway..
@AmbiePam (86180)
• United States
13 Feb 12
There are some people who when I'm around, it's easy to act like I don't care. I tried to translate that to a larger scale when I have to give speeches.
• Philippines
14 Feb 12
Maybe you are afraid of defending your thesis to them because, you have this expectations that there are some possibilities that you may not able to answer all those questions asking from your professors and audience keep laughing at you. Always take a deep breath, it helps your mind focus. Of course, you need bottled water with you because it helps lessen your nervousness.
• United States
13 Feb 12
I briefly taught public speaking at a university and I can tell you that if you know your material very, very well, you'll have the easiest time of it. If you research who you'll be talking to so that you feel like you know them, and you know your thesis sources and topics well, you'll feel more like you're having a conversation than giving a speech. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart to prevent shifting a lot while you're talking. Use note cards if it's appropriate, with just keyword reminders on them about the points you want to make. Before you enter the room to speak, consider how you would think if you were watching it from a chair: You probably wouldn't think about the person's nervousness at all, because you'd just be paying attention to what they have to say. The profs will be like that, too.