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  1. #1
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Default Speaking in public?

    What are people's opinions or feelings towards speaking in public?

    As in a formal situation in which you are required to introduce somebody, give a speech or read an excerpt.

    See I hate it...hate it with a passion, it makes me immensely nervous and it takes all my energy to compose myself for it. Annoyingly I keep getting thrown into these situations and im starting to wonder if someone, somewhere, is playing a massive joke on me.

    The worst part is the more I do it, the worse I get. I would have thought it would be the opposite, that I might get used to it with time and experience....but no I get more awkward and more nervous each time. Ive always disliked being in the spotlight....the only thing that comes close to this where I am comfortable is in an informal setting with a small group of friends.

    Is there an element of extraversion vs introversion to this? I expect that there isn't really, that people can get nervous regardless of their disposition.

    But I would like to know what people's experiences have been like with regards to this subject.
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  2. #2
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    There is a huge difference for me between speaking infront of a group of people and being in the spotlight.

    Back at school and in early college I enjoyed acting as a member of a theater group. But the trick was that, you see, that wasn't really me. I was somebody else when I entered a role and as that character it was no problem to play in front of an audience (also, the positive adrenaline rush might have numbed the fear). As an interpreter, I sometimes have to speak in front of groups of 50 people or more. I also loved reading out the parts of a play in literature class or reading to friends. That is okay, because I am only repeating what somebody else said, not revealing myself.

    Now, if I slip up and perform badly, that would bother me, but that has little to do with the audience.

    But when I had to pass an interview in front of a small committee of maybe 6-8 people that was hell because I felt so exposed. When I feel observed by other customers while talking to a sales clerk, that might make me nervous.

    So you might want to find out what exactly it is about public speaking that feels so uncomfortable.
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  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I have played music on stage so many times that public speaking is fairly easy. However, speaking still feels more exposed than playing an instrument.

  4. #4
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    Do you feel as if you're just setting yourself up to fail worse and worse each time--that you expect more and more that you won't live up to expectations? That internal spiraling fear would probably be the only cause for what you're going through; once you break that, you're golden.

    And we're here to help.



    For me, it's easy stuff nowadays, although I used to have major problems with it. Hell, I used to have problems talking to cashiers and things of that nature.

    Only half of my students/audience are probably only paying half attention to what I'm saying and doing, so if I flub up, it's not a big deal. Also, the speaker's definition of "flub up" tends to be much more magnified than that of an audience member who's actually paying attention.

    I have major problems with material that I don't know or care about, as it's hard to make it exciting or engaging, tie in other experiences and stories, or answer questions.

    My next gig is a 5-minute TEDx 'lite' engagement, then a full-on TEDx engagement shortly after that. I appreciate the warm-up opportunity in front of the smaller audience first


  5. #5
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    The thought scares me, but I've had to do it so often that being scared and getting over it is a skill I've learned. I've never completely bombed at it. I may even be good, I've never followed up for a survey.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Almost on topic, I recommend 'Public Speaking', a documentary by Martin Scorsese about Fran Lebowitz (who is a better speaker than writer).

  7. #7
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    I love speaking in public when I'm prepared to do so, a fire grows within me which I can't explain or find anywhere else, and I just take off. It's fun. However, I cannot do impromptu speaking, if I don't know exactly what points I want to get to, I start to panic, and I hate that...
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  8. #8
    right on the left wing Philosorapteuse's Avatar
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    It's never troubled me. I used to quite enjoy it at school; I'd be much more nervous about performing music. But I haven't done it in years, so I can't say whether I get worked up about it now.
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  9. #9
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post

    The worst part is the more I do it, the worse I get. I would have thought it would be the opposite, that I might get used to it with time and experience....but no I get more awkward and more nervous each time. Ive always disliked being in the spotlight....the only thing that comes close to this where I am comfortable is in an informal setting with a small group of friends.

    Is there an element of extraversion vs introversion to this? I expect that there isn't really, that people can get nervous regardless of their disposition.
    Maybe you are overthinking it? Or expecting yourself to fail? Instead, try to visualize yourself doing it successfully.

    I think people of all types can get nervous public speaking. I know several extraverts who greatly fear it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post

    I have major problems with material that I don't know or care about, as it's hard to make it exciting or engaging, tie in other experiences and stories, or answer questions.
    Same here. I used to be a teacher and once in a while I'd have to teach things I didn't care about but were required by the curriculum. My lack of enthusiasm probably showed because the students didn't like it much either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrinth View Post
    I love speaking in public when I'm prepared to do so, a fire grows within me which I can't explain or find anywhere else, and I just take off. It's fun. However, I cannot do impromptu speaking, if I don't know exactly what points I want to get to, I start to panic, and I hate that...
    I don't mind public speaking when I'm sufficiently prepared for it. Can't say I exactly find it fun but its tolerable. Impromptu speaking is the worst though, and I think that might be more of an introvert thing. I'm not at my best when forced to think quickly on my feet.
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  10. #10
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    There's this middle ground, I find, where people are expected to speak but not given enough constructive practice, and I think that's probably more damaging than helpful. Back when I used to TA public speaking, my method was to have speaking every day instead of simply demanding that they do four speeches over the course of three months and somehow magically improve (I would also arrange for them to do exercises out in the courtyard so that they never got that too-comfy-with-their-classmates syndrome.) I think some people probably need even more practice than that to master their fear, but my theory is that it's got to be a lot of practice or else the entire thing is useless and possibly damaging.

    Basically, it's bad to have people languishing in mediocre practice land.

    Also, I've had some extraverts (who would be great during discussions) fall to pieces during formal speeches, and some introverts (who wouldn't say two words on a normal basis) who would bust out these unexpected displays of oratorical prowess, so it's not I/E related, I don't think.
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