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  1. #1
    Senior Member Forever_Jung's Avatar
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    Default INF's and public speaking

    There is an event coming up that I committed to reading two of my stories at (It's a book launch/art gallery) along with some other writers and there is going to be like two hundred quasi-academic people present. People will be paying to get in I am excited by this opportunity to gain exposure, but this sort of thing terrifies me. I have been practicing non-stop but nothing seems to ease my mind, because to have my story rejected is like being personally rejected by hundreds of people at once. I am usually pretty good at projecting my voice and stuff, but I also shake violently (apparently you can hear the paper flapping in my hand sometimes) and I get queasy.

    I find many of us INF's dislike these tasks, so I was wondering: Have any of you INF's conquered these fears? What helped you do so? Do you have any methods of preparation that would be helpful for such endeavors?

    Or perhaps you want to chime in and comment on why public speaking is so terrible in your opinion. Maybe you have an anecdote you would like to share.

    But really any type is welcome to comment, whether you love/hate public speaking.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    Once in high school or rather, many times in high school, we had to do presentations. Something made me feel better. There was this one girl who was very popular and outspoken but the moment she got up in front of the class, she was extremely, extremely nervous. I swear she almost fainted or peed her pants. I thought I was awful at public speaking but a lot of people have trouble with it. It's almost a given that everyone gets butterflies, feels vomit-ish... I actually can hide nervousness pretty well. For me, the more I rehearse, the better I felt. The more prepared I am, the better I felt. I am great with just reading off the paper but if I had to improvise on the spot, my dialogue would be messy. Also, right before your presentation, if you tense all of your muscles and then release, it will take care of the adrenaline. Everyone dislikes speaking in public, but we all have done it and will do it again. Don't focus on the other people's reactions or your assumptions of their reactions, focus on you, on your presentation, do the best that you can. Good luck.

    Are you just doing a prepared reading or are you sort of improvising?

  3. #3
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Firstly, wow, reading your stories to a crowd! Congrats to you! What an opportunity!

    Second, Oh god. Public speaking :horor:

    I sympathize. It is especially hard when its something you've created - its always difficult to present your work to others.

    My suggestions, based on my limited experience in public speaking, are mostly physical things that help disguise your anxiousness:

    - keep any introductions, explanations, banter etc to a mimimum. Prepare and practice a script of sorts for this stuff but make it natural. Knowing everything you have to say well helps so much.
    - have something to hold onto/hide behind. Will you have a podium or a table or something?
    - Don't read off a piece of paper. Get something heavier to hold (like a journal); it makes shaking less obvious
    - Breathe deeply, speak more slowly than you feel naturally inclined to at the time and take brief pauses to gather yourself when necessary. You can end up speaking lightning fast without knowing it, which only makes you sound more nervous.
    - keep you body relaxed without tension in you muscles. Physical tension will only add to emotional tension.
    - Make sure you look up now and then, keep your head up so people can see you face as you read and perhaps add a few small head movements here and there. This breaks things up and makes you, and what you are saying, more relatable.
    - best advice: treat the whole thing as a performance. If you separate yourself from the situation and behave as if you are someone else (or at least an ideal version of yourself) it will make the whole thing easier. You know how liberating it is at costume parties to get into a character? Try to channel that (minus the costume of course). I assume that you are reading a story that isn't a personal, non-fictional experience so an act of sorts won't be inappropriate or disingenuous in this situation. I pretend I am a ENFJ: confident, upbeat, personable, and appropriate.

    Finally, have confidence in your stories. You should trust your judgement (and that of those that included you in the event) that they are of a high enough standard to make them worthy of being heard by the public; otherwise why would you have put them out there first place? And if you believe in them, others will too.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  4. #4
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    Getting good at public speaking is like most skills in life - the more you do it the better you'll get at it...

    Most people fear public speaking - even most extroverts... to quote Jerry Seinfeld "“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

    Anyway, sounds like a great opportunity! I don't think there's anything to be worried about re: rejection (unless you go out of your way to insult everyone or something like that...) - keep in mind that Seinfeld quote!

  5. #5
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    There is a way to do it.
    Do not hide. Confront the public openly. You are allowed to be what you are.
    Be yourself. When the public sees you do not hide they embrace you.

  6. #6
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    Scary....
    But you can overcome that fear. I ended up as a teacher, good practice for public speaking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Forever_Jung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Once in high school or rather, many times in high school, we had to do presentations. Something made me feel better. There was this one girl who was very popular and outspoken but the moment she got up in front of the class, she was extremely, extremely nervous. I swear she almost fainted or peed her pants. I thought I was awful at public speaking but a lot of people have trouble with it. It's almost a given that everyone gets butterflies, feels vomit-ish... I actually can hide nervousness pretty well. For me, the more I rehearse, the better I feel. The more prepared I am, the better I feel. I am great with just reading off the paper but if I had to improvise on the spot, my dialogue would be messy. Also, right before your presentation, if you tense all of your muscles and then release, it will take care of the adrenaline. Everyone dislikes speaking in public, but we all have done it and will do it again. Don't focus on the other people's reactions or your assumptions of their reactions, focus on you, on your presentation, do the best that you can. Good luck.
    Thank you very much, and I wasn't aware of the muscle clenching thing. I will give it a try. And I think the focus on your presentation and not how I assume others are reacting is a great tip. I tend to mentally jump to the end of the task before I have barely begun, creating self-conscious. It's necessary to focus on the process, not the product. So if you want applause, it will do you no good to think about how much/little they are going to clap for you, just focus on doing what it takes to make the presentation the best you can. That will yield the best results, which in the end, gets you what you wanted.

    Are you just doing a prepared reading or are you sort of improvising?
    I am doing a prepared reading, since I am just reading the short stories that will appear in the book. However, when I do readings and I am not completely paralyzed with fear, I innately improvise and change the story a little (Maybe wordings, tone, or I will add a good line if I can think of it) as I am reading it. This freedom comes from being so prepared, having the pre-existing structure of a story I wrote and knowing the material so well I feel comfortable changing it up on the fly. Sometimes it ends up being a very different story, but it seems to work for me.

    I wonder how other people prepare and approach the two different tasks of speaking. Set speeches or more improvised ones? I find that counter intuitively, that the more I have to improvise, the more I prepare. I wonder if that's the same with others?

    I am able to read stories well to a few people like friends and family, it's just the nerves of being judged by a sophisticated and large (large to me at least) audience. I am glad it is a prepared reading though, because if I do get nervous I can always just stick to what's in front of me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Firstly, wow, reading your stories to a crowd! Congrats to you! What an opportunity!

    Second, Oh god. Public speaking :horor:

    I sympathize. It is especially hard when its something you've created - its always difficult to present your work to others.

    Haha thank you And I am glad you understand

    My suggestions, based on my limited experience in public speaking, are mostly physical things that help disguise your anxiousness:

    - keep any introductions, explanations, banter etc to a mimimum. Prepare and practice a script of sorts for this stuff but make it natural. Knowing everything you have to say well helps so much.
    - have something to hold onto/hide behind. Will you have a podium or a table or something?
    - Don't read off a piece of paper. Get something heavier to hold (like a journal); it makes shaking less obvious
    - Breathe deeply, speak more slowly than you feel naturally inclined to at the time and take brief pauses to gather yourself when necessary. You can end up speaking lightning fast without knowing it, which only makes you sound more nervous.
    - keep you body relaxed without tension in you muscles. Physical tension will only add to emotional tension.
    - Make sure you look up now and then, keep your head up so people can see you face as you read and perhaps add a few small head movements here and there. This breaks things up and makes you, and what you are saying, more relatable.
    - best advice: treat the whole thing as a performance. If you separate yourself from the situation and behave as if you are someone else (or at least an ideal version of yourself) it will make the whole thing easier. You know how liberating it is at costume parties to get into a character? Try to channel that (minus the costume of course). I assume that you are reading a story that isn't a personal, non-fictional experience so an act of sorts won't be inappropriate or disingenuous in this situation. I pretend I am a ENFJ: confident, upbeat, personable, and appropriate.

    Finally, have confidence in your stories. You should trust your judgement (and that of those that included you in the event) that they are of a high enough standard to make them worthy of being heard by the public; otherwise why would you have put them out there first place? And if you believe in them, others will too.
    Wow, these are all great suggestions! I especially like the journal idea, because flapping paper noises are a bit of a giveaway. I get laughs for it sometimes. I don't know what the podium situation is going to be like, but I imagine they will have something as it is a pretty elaborate facility. Also, the character thing was a good tip, that way the persona is the one out there taking all the lumps if I fail. Not to mention it removes the restrictions and notions that I can't be the confident, boisterous speaker. ENFJ it is, possibly ENFP if I am feeling wacky Again, thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by XYZ View Post
    Getting good at public speaking is like most skills in life - the more you do it the better you'll get at it...

    Most people fear public speaking - even most extroverts... to quote Jerry Seinfeld "“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

    Anyway, sounds like a great opportunity! I don't think there's anything to be worried about re: rejection (unless you go out of your way to insult everyone or something like that...) - keep in mind that Seinfeld quote!
    Haha, that's a great quote. Good ol' Seinfeld, it's a shame about the Marriage ref ever seeing the light of day. Thank you for your words of support.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    There is a way to do it.
    Do not hide. Confront the public openly. You are allowed to be what you are.
    Be yourself. When the public sees you do not hide they embrace you.
    I assume you mean people don't like an obviously phony speaker, so being candid and real are the best way to connect with them? Sorry, your unorthodox style sometimes confuses me. It seems profound though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleta View Post
    Scary....
    But you can overcome that fear. I ended up as a teacher, good practice for public speaking.
    I am happy you know my pain! Actually, teaching wouldn't be as hard (For me personally), because I have a bunch of chances to redeem myself, I get to know how to appeal/relate to my audience and I have everything I need to say already mapped out. Plus the crowds are usually smaller. I can handle small crowds. Still I do get butterflies.

    I wonder: Do most people like one shot deals, where they are just anonymous in front of a big crowd, and then move on to the next anonymous crowd, or is it more intimidating for them to do it day after day and have people get familiar with you, doing new speeches every day?

  8. #8
    Crazy Diamond Billy's Avatar
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    I think you might start off wobbly, but once you get going you will relax and the tension will go. I usually get through it by pretending I am playing role, its like that moment when you decide to jump, when you're cliff diving. everything up to the initial lift off seems counter intuitive to what you want, but you do it anyway and suffer the fear for those few seconds, then you feel relieved when you hit the water.

    I would record myself on my computer and play it back a few times to make sure I sounded ok, maybe show a friend, when you feel you sound polished, just go in front of the audience and do your thing, at that point its not about them, its about you, taking your shot and being heard, every person who might or might not be judging you isnt up there with you, you got the spotlight, and they must listen to you, so see it as a chance to really succeed, even if they dont like it, you will have conquered a major fear that stops many people from succeeding, and that in itself is a great reward.
    Ground control to Major Tom

  9. #9
    Crazy Diamond Billy's Avatar
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    I think you might start off wobbly, but once you get going you will relax and the tension will go. I usually get through it by pretending I am playing role, its like that moment when you decide to jump, when you're cliff diving. everything up to the initial lift off seems counter intuitive to what you want, but you do it anyway and suffer the fear for those few seconds, then you feel relieved when you hit the water.

    I would record myself on my computer and play it back a few times to make sure I sounded ok, maybe show a friend, when you feel you sound polished, just go in front of the audience and do your thing, at that point its not about them, its about you, taking your shot and being heard, every person who might or might not be judging you isnt up there with you, you got the spotlight, and they must listen to you, so see it as a chance to really succeed, even if they dont like it, you will have conquered a major fear that stops many people from succeeding, and that in itself is a great reward.
    Ground control to Major Tom

  10. #10
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Forever Jung
    Yes, you got it all right. I knew you would.

    It is a paradox.
    Shy people cannot afford to put on an act.
    Only the genuine is a true article.
    In the end shy people make not only the best public speakers.
    They make the best actors.

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