Speechifying — no longer terrifying.

I used to be terrified of public speaking.  The idea of getting up in front of a room full of people to talk would fill me with so much anxiety, I’d be vomiting beforehand.  Being a business major in college however, meant having to do a lot of speeches and presentations, so I was forced to get a grip.  You can’t give a presentation to your coworkers or to clients if you’re bent over a trashcan heaving, so I told myself to get over it, that it was a ridiculous thing to be afraid of, and that the quicker I got it over with, the sooner I could sit down and let someone have a go.  While giving the speech, remembering that it’s important to make eye contact with people, I would scan the room every so often, but focus on a spot just above everyone’s heads and behind them, so that it gave the appearance I was looking at them while I spoke, but in actuality, I was talking to the wall.  It helped calm my nerves.  Now, I love public speaking.  It’s important to remember that the vast majority of people in the room don’t want to be there either, and probably hate speaking in public as much, if not more than you do.  If you happen to be talking about a subject no one really cares about, you might get lucky and have no one paying attention, which can allow you to trick yourself into thinking you’re speaking to an empty room.

Hey, whatever works.

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3 comments

  1. Tea Is For Tina · September 16, 2015

    Great idea. I’m still not great at public speaking, though better than I was. Thanks for the tip!

    Like

    • Beth · September 16, 2015

      You’re welcome. Another good piece of advice is if you have a friend or someone in the room with you, either as a classmate or coworker, keep coming back to them after scanning the room. Focusing on a friendly face can help quell whatever nerves might still be jangling around, and if they’re as trepidatious as you are about it, you can return the favor for them. Also, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. The more comfortable you are with what you have to talk about, whether it’s a memorized speech or totally extemporaneous, that confidence can cover up quite a lot.

      Like

      • Tea Is For Tina · September 16, 2015

        Great! Actually, yes, my best presentation was when I was so prepared, I knew every little thing off by heart. I even had people come and tell me afterwards how great it was, which never happens!
        Thanks for the tips!

        Like

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