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Hala
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03 Mar 2010, 4:15 pm

I have to give an 8 minute presentation to my form group tomorrow. I am beyond terrified and am convinced that it's going to go horribly wrong. I find it hard enough just to talk to one person, never mind 20 people. I'm just know that I'm going to stutter, jumble up my words, mumble quietly and incoherently, flush bright red, shake and, quite possibly, burst into tears. When I'm talking in public my mend tends to go completely blank, so I will be heavily relying on my PowerPoint (and probably not looking at the audience at all because that would send me into blind panic).

I don't know what to do. I'm so scared and can't shake off a feeling of impending doom. :( I've been feeling so depressed lately and, however stupid this sounds, I think if this goes wrong it might send me 'over the edge'. I'm ridiculously sensitive about this sort of thing. :oops:

Does anyone have any tips on how to combat this paralysing fear of speaking in public?


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leschevalsroses
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03 Mar 2010, 4:31 pm

Presentations suck. I have to give one later in the semester to a class of 40 people and am already freaking out about it. What I do when I have presentations is just focus on the teacher and ignore everyone else in the class. I try to pretend that there's no one else there, because if I look at my classmates I won't be able to focus. Just make a really, really good powerpoint and if you're really nervous about it make it so that you just have to pretty much read off of it. It won't be a very good presentation but at least it will help you get through it. :)

Good luck!



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03 Mar 2010, 5:11 pm

I wish that I could offer you something more than well wishes. Unfortunately my way of dealing with it in High School was to just take an F (automatic 0) for anything that I had to stand up in front of the class for. Later in life I learned how to teach a class something that I had an autistic interest in (nuclear reactor type stuff), but that usually involved a lot of not looking at the class and just focusing on what I enjoyed about my interest. I doubt I could still go in front of a bunch of people and talk about something that I didn't like or was disinterested in. But I do wish you luck, I hope it goes well for you, and I do know that even if it doesn't go well, there will thankfully still be a tomorrow without a class presentation.


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03 Mar 2010, 5:26 pm

Best way is knowing everything about the topic to feel sure. And don't look at audience, find some point on the wall and speak to it. And revert at the screen, but not all the time because it looks stupid. But any reason to show people sth on screen is good reason :D

I have presentation to do for next 2 weeks. Total DYI, professor said: do presentation about Pesticides, alone or in couples, choose who does what, I don't care. Great! Should I walk and ask people: I chose Substance X and you? People are stupid and I suppose again we chose X before!
And I don't fear of speaking, it's not the worst part.


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03 Mar 2010, 5:59 pm

I'm not sure if you'd be allowed to do this or not but sometimes during presentations, people walk around or back and fourth and I suspect that this could get rid of some nervous energy. You could probably do this when pointing to different parts of the powerpoint. I have the same problem with speaking infront of people, a terrible fear of it, and if I was allowed to walk around while presenting something in school I think I would have done a better job at it.


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Penandinkmarie
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03 Mar 2010, 6:16 pm

I don't know why for some reason pacing makes me even more anxious! I try to pace back and forth when I get anxious to try to distract myself but it just makes it worse. I always hated presentations, but somehow as I started, I got more comfortable, and just DID it. Good luck!! !! !



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03 Mar 2010, 7:29 pm

There are plenty of people who share this common fear...public speaking is the number one fear in our society...and the fear of dying is the second. Which means, you're actually better off being in the casket than giving the eulogy at a funeral.

So, take the advice of others, take a deep breath when you feel anxious, learn to relax and do your best...nobody has ever died from giving a public presentaion!



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03 Mar 2010, 7:46 pm

Hala, be careful, take a breath. Talk to your teacher ahead of time letting him/her know of your feelings. You can even use the exact wording you used in your post - print it out and give it to the teacher if you have to. Look, even if it all goes to pieces, you'll be ok - you're doing your best and you're doing something honorable - that is trying to do your work and pull your share of it in your group. Embarrassment is awful, but not the end all be all of who you are.

Think of it this way, most of the kids aren't really paying attention anyway. They might be pointing their faces in your direction but their minds are daydreaming or fretting over their own presentation, or they're sneaking texts to their friends about what they're doing this weekend. No matter what, I'm sure you're not alone in your class regarding your nerves. Take it one word at a time and just do what you have to do to get it over with.

When I was student teaching (yes, I admit, I'm a teacher) there was a girl in the class that was terrified of reading before the class and she really would just go to pieces. The whole class really felt for her. They were so supportive - you probably have lots of very nice people in your class who whether they've thought about it or not, do want you to be ok. They're not as judgmental as we might think.

Hang in there, let us know how it goes. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.



happymusic
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03 Mar 2010, 7:52 pm

Oh, and of those actually paying attention, they'll be looking at your slides rather than at you.

EDIT: And, if you can muster the courage, try to go right away. That way you get it over with like a quick band-aid and then you'll know everyone else in the room will be preoccupied with their own presentations because presumably they haven't gone yet. Then you can sit, and just zone out for the rest of the class.



DavidM
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03 Mar 2010, 7:56 pm

Make yourself look really attractive, try to smile, give sexy looks at members of the audience (people always forgive a pretty face), make your voice deep as possible, but above all, to be brutally honest, consider having one or two small 'drinks' beforehand to steady your nerves and help you forget the pain.



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03 Mar 2010, 8:04 pm

It's really tough. I used to be very scared of public speaking and there's some things that worked well for me. Can I offer you some advice?

1) Get some perspective.

Does it really matter what this audience thinks about your presentation? Are you defined by what they think about you? Will you even remember this presentation in a year? Or the people in your audience?

2) Breathe deeply, slowly and as low down as you can.

Seems like strange advice, but that's how you breathe when you're calm, and when you breathe that way it has a soothing effect on your body.

3) Be prepared.

If you're well practiced you can practically do it on automatic.

4) Fake confidence

When ever I'm in front of people I'm acting. I'm playing the persona of a highly-extroverted person who talks to the audience like a friend, who shares jokes with them, and loves the stage. I fake confidence... and at some point it becomes real. This might be hard advice to take, and it's not for everyone, but as someone who is terribly afraid of public speaking, this has been the best thing for me.

Finally, if you reach a point where it's all to much to do, talk to your teacher/parents/whomever. They'll listen. And if they don't understand immediately, keep talking to them until they do. I'm a teacher, and sometimes I've let students do their presentations to a smaller audience at lunchtime. Perhaps you could raise that sort of suggestion if you need to.

Good luck with it.



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03 Mar 2010, 8:05 pm

I love them.

I usually have some nerves before I will start 'a day before' or ' a hour before'.
But when I'm in front of my class, all nerves fly away, and I love to explain stuff.



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03 Mar 2010, 10:06 pm

Yea I was always terrified of presentations. But try to stay calm and confident and just ignore the large crowd and just talk to them as if you're talking to your best friend.


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Hala
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04 Mar 2010, 3:41 pm

Thank you so much for your support and advice everyone, it really helped me. :)

The presentation went fine, I am so relieved. In no way am I a great public speaker, but I didn't fall to pieces and (I hope) my fear wasn't too obvious. That's a huge achievement for me and I felt proud of myself, which isn't something I've felt in a very long time. I made sure that I aimed my body towards the audience so that I would force myself to look at them at least 45% of the time (well, I didn't really look at them, but in their general direction). I was helped along by the rest of the class, who were surprisingly supportive and understanding. They were actually pretty attentive and asked questions in the end. It's probably because most of them will have never heard me speak so they probably pitied me, but never mind. Plus, some people chuckled over a sarcastic comment I said, so that was a huge bonus. :lol: My view of humanity has definitely improved after today. :D

I will admit, though, that I cheated and took one of my mum's beta blockers before the presentation. It didn't reduce the mental fear at all but it reduced the shaking. I didn't sleep at all last night because I was so anxious so I was a little desperate. I think the thing that helped the most was taking deep breaths and telling myself that nobody in the room wants me to fail..... or is even really listening at all. That helped a lot.


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happymusic
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04 Mar 2010, 5:52 pm

Hala! That's wonderful! Good job! I was wondering about you today and am so happy it worked out. People are pretty good and I've found that classmates are more prone to root for one another than not. Look at you! You ought to do something nice for yourself. Congratulations! Now look, all of us scattered all over the world are proud of you :)



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04 Mar 2010, 6:00 pm

Awesome to hear that your presentation went out great. :D

I get nervous with presentations and everything.... I actually had to attend at college to collect my certificates, however I ended up having to speak in front of a couple of people which I really find nerve wrecking but I try to think the opposite of nervous and try to be confident.

I ended up doing pretty well.


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