User Tag List

12 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 19

  1. #1
    Senior Member WildCard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    MBTI
    ISFJ
    Enneagram
    1
    Socionics
    IEI
    Posts
    273

    Default Public Speaking? Why am I so afraid?

    I have never understood this. I can stand being screamed at by a Drill Instructor, or giving a demonstration to my fellow Marines, but when it comes to giving a speech to a room full of highschoolers, my knees start to knock like they did in high school.

    Obviously I have a lot of experience with my topic, but I have been stressing for three days about an eight minute presentation on the Marine Corps.

    I would have thought I had outgrown this by now.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Anything that you haven't fought for isn't going to be appreciated. It takes blood, sweat, and a large amount of tears before you appreciate what you have.

  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    1w2 so/sx
    Posts
    11,099

    Default

    I think mostly the fear is of the unknown. We also don't like doing things that we're not sure we can succeed at or where there won't be unaccounted factors beyond our control.

    The only remedy that I've found for fear of speaking publicly as well as performing on an instrument publicly is practice doing it. It also helps if you do it in several venues where the stakes are lower (starting out by talking to a stuffed animal if you have to). I remember when I started doing speech arts being embarrassed to whisper a poem in the mirror with expression even in front of myself! I embarrassed and intimidated me! It was almost like I was split off from myself watching what was going on and being critical of it. After you overcome that fear, then do it in front of a friend or family member that you feel quite safe in front of. Then make it more than one person, or add some people of a different age (like kids). If you have a few trial runs, you will have a much better idea of how you might react, what nervous tics develop while you are talking that you should be aware of, how loudly you need to speak to be heard, and how to look more confident. It takes away some of the terror of too many variables that you are unsure of. There are still some variables, but if you can remove the main ones that you have control over, you will feel much more self-assured.

  3. #3
    Senior Member WildCard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    MBTI
    ISFJ
    Enneagram
    1
    Socionics
    IEI
    Posts
    273

    Default

    Thank you Fidelia! Your suggestions were very insightful!

    I found practicing in front of a mirror to be very helpful. It was a tactic I have used many times, and it keeps me from getting too full of myself. I got to thinking and realized it wasn't neccessarily the kids that scared me, it was the fact that I had thirty pairs of eyes trained one me.

    I'm not a person that like a lot of attention ( I don't really like to leave ripples) so when I do have everyone's undivided attention, I find it very scary. I could care less what they think, which is what my public speaking teacher always found amusing.

    Epic fail for being introverted!
    Anything that you haven't fought for isn't going to be appreciated. It takes blood, sweat, and a large amount of tears before you appreciate what you have.

  4. #4
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    1w2 so/sx
    Posts
    11,099

    Default

    Yeah, for me I had to get over it because I went into teaching. It really helped me though for my practicum that I had been used to teaching private lessons with the Suzuki method, so I was used to have a parent in there watching me and taking notes. It took a lot of the terror out of being evaluated by someone at school!

    One thing you may want to do is pay attention to what you do with your hands or feet. It may not even hurt to have something to put in your hand so that you don't fidget in a distracting way. Also deciding how you want to move (stay in one place, walk around, etc) helps you be more natural. You are likely to have the tendancy to speak more quietly or look down when you feel overwhelmed by the attention. Pick a sympathetic looking person and use them as your homebase for your eyes. Also pretend you are speaking to the back wall (pushing your stomach out when you talk instead of just taking shallow breaths with your shoulders) so that even the people at the back can hear. You will tend to rush as you get nervous, or you may have certain phrases that you say when you need filler. Be aware of both tendancies and SLOW DOWN! Smile and make eye contact before you start, so that you look like you are in charge and comfortable. Mostly people are very accepting of you if you seem like you are going to be okay yourself. They'll even overlook any mistakes you make if you are able to treat it like it's not a big deal. If you notice that kids start talking or being disruptive, make eye contact with them, or move a little closer to them.

  5. #5
    Reptilian Snuggletron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    10
    Posts
    2,233

    Default

    Public Speaking is one of the most prevalent fears out there. Do you tend to disassociate from your body when you have to speak in front of an audience? I know I do. I would not appear nervous were it not for the fact that I flush when I have to do this sort of thing. Everything else works normally.

    It's all of those eyes on you, feels like a really heavy weight of some sort. But one tip I remember is to think of how everyone in the audience is an individual observer, they really don't care that much at all. If they do they are generally on your side. This distributes the weight and makes it a bit easier. Although I think it will always make most people at least a little nervous.

  6. #6
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    18,529

    Smile The Lion Tamer

    I don't think of an audience as individuals but rather as a large animal and I am the lion tamer.

    So first I need their attention. Then I make them laugh. Then I tell them to settle down. And then I become serious and take them deeper. And without them even noticing I take them deeper and deeper until I have them in the palm of my hand. And what do I do then? I play with them. And they love it. They are like my little tiger cubs, all cuddly and warm and happy. And then all of a sudden I get more serious and we are really into one another. And we go deeper until we can't tell the difference between the speaker and the audience. We burn for a while in conflagration and then we very slowly start to come awake. And I hold their attention, I hold their attention as though reluctant to leave. And I am, for there is nothing a lion tamer needs more than a lion. But it is time to make tracks and wend our way home.

  7. #7

    Default

    You are already used to giving presentations. So the presentation isn't the issue. It is the environment, I think you are reflecting on the past to visualise the future scenario. Where as the real situation is going to be nothing like that. Now, you are coming in as a marine and could kick any of their asses. The whole dynamic is going to be different.

    I think you just need to reframe things a little.

  8. #8
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Socionics
    ILE
    Posts
    4,474

    Default

    a low dosage of the blood presure medication Inderal helps with stage fright.
    I redact everything I have written or will write on this forum prior to, subsequent with and or after the fact of its writing. For entertainment purposes only and not to be taken seriously nor literally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Spamtar - a strange combination of boorish drunkeness and erudite discussions, or what I call "an Irish academic"

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    MBTI
    ISTJ
    Posts
    109

    Default

    A lot of good posts already here. What used to get me into trouble was the fear of saying "I don't know" as the answer to a question. I'd tap dance around the answer and continue to dig myself a deeper and deeper hole. All for the fear for someone who I never met to judge me that I didn't have the answer to their question.

    I've learned I can't anticipate what an audience will do, so I control what I do. That's where my introversion helps greatly. I make sure I know what I want to say (and make sure the audience knows what I'm going to say) and stick to it.

    As an example, talk about your experiences. What is it you like about the Marines? What was the most suprising thing you didn't learn until you joined? What was the funniest thing that happened on the first day of basic? I would imagine the eight minutes would fly by then. Best of luck!
    ...doesn't work or play well with others...

  10. #10
    Senior Member WildCard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    MBTI
    ISFJ
    Enneagram
    1
    Socionics
    IEI
    Posts
    273

    Default

    I finally got around to reading all the wonderful comments that everyone left. Very good advice all!

    Turned out, I think I accidentally scared the kids a bit. As ya'll pointed out, I was looking at it as to how it felt in highschool when I gave speeches. Here's how my morning went:

    8:00 AM: Displayed my double-parking skills by cramming my buddie's F-150 into the highschool's tiny parking lot.

    8:30 AM: Decide that it is safe enough to dodge across the bus "road" to get to the school office. Glare at a few kids who commented that all the deer are "down South". This was probably due to the fact I was in full cammies and boots.

    8:35 AM: Report to office to get a huge orange visitor's tag. Follow the secretary to the US History class with my knees numb and my heart pounding in my throat. I kid you not, it felt like my blood was burning. Teacher lets me in and the class goes from loud and chaotic to being able to hear a pin drop.

    I stand up in front of the white-board (does anyone use chalk boards any more?) with my hands behind my back so they couldn't see how badly I was shaking. I start off by asking how many wanted to join the Marines and a few hands went up. I told them how I went from a highschool wallflower to who I was now, with a few funny jokes in between. They were high school seniors, and it felt really wierd to be giving them my story since I'm barely 21.

    Only one kid in the back kept giving me issues and finally got on my nerves. I started staring him down and slowly moving in his direction to get my point across without calling him out. Two of the kids on the front row closest to me went white and a few of the others tried to get him to shut up.

    Of course he didn't, but it lead nicely into my next segment.

    PT. And he got to be my "volunteer".

    At first he tried to be stubborn, but his "buddies" shoved him to the front. I got him into a decent push up position, then I got down beside him. I told him I would pay him forty dollars if he could do more push-ups than me in 60 seconds. He looked like an athletic fellow, so with the teacher holding my stop watch, off we went.

    He kept up with me for the first fifteen seconds, then I had to start reminding him to go all the way down. Eventually he just gave up. I took a few more volunteers (one was a girl) before I went on to other topics.

    Towards the end of the class, one of the kids came up to me while I was tossing out sickers and bean bags and said he was surprised I had joined. He also told me "I was pretty darn scary for a short chick."

    Overall, the kids were awesome and I would have loved to go back again. I think if the principle can persuade my boss, I might go back for a different class. From what I understand, it will be to an all female class.

    Which would be awesome!
    Anything that you haven't fought for isn't going to be appreciated. It takes blood, sweat, and a large amount of tears before you appreciate what you have.

Similar Threads

  1. [ISTP] Why am I feeling so emo?
    By sLiPpY in forum The SP Arthouse (ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, ISTP)
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 06-11-2017, 07:52 PM
  2. why the f$%^ am I so angry?!
    By miss fortune in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 92
    Last Post: 05-30-2010, 09:36 PM
  3. Why I'm so popular...
    By Xander in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 06-26-2007, 06:08 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO