How do you overcome public speaking?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DustinLC, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    I don't know why I ask this because I know the answer. But I like to hear how other people have won over this fear.

    Most people are afraid of presentation. It's just a matter of degree. For me, just thinking about it gets my blood vessels constricted and rapid breathing starts. However, when actually onstage, I feel less nervous after getting started.

    This bothered me all my life and I've avoid classes in colleges just to get out of having to do a presentation. However, you can't quick your job [​IMG].

    It's not like I have an inch mole sticking out of my nose, not know my materials, afraid of socializing. I think I'm just too selfconscious. A co-worker told me that he loss 30lbs preparing for his thesis presentation because he was so nervous. He has overcome the problem after having done many.

    I suppose that's the key but I rarely have to do presentation. Maybe just once a year.

    I know without a doubt that my fear is irrational! Why are we so fearful of being judged?

    Any thoughts, stories, suggestions?
     
  2. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Stunt Coordinator

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    The best way is to get in front of people and just do it.

    Back in the day I belonged to Toastmasters, which is an excellent organization that provides you opportunities to improve your public speaking. I highly recommend this organization, especially to college students who want to improve their skills not only for school but in their post-school professional life.
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    There in lies your answer. I agree with Dustin join Toastmasters and have some fun with it.
     
  4. Mark Sherman

    Mark Sherman Supporting Actor

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    Look around and see of there are any Comedy Workshops in your area. This will help you over come your fear and work on some of your presentation.

    I'm not saying to get up there and start of by saying " A horse walks into a bar......" But at least you will get over your fears by talking infront of people.


    Good luck.
     
  5. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    The thought of public speaking makes me want to vomit. I think I would pass-out on the stage.

    - Colton
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Imagine yourself up there naked. And all of the women being impressed.
     
  7. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Look into the eyes of several people rather than looking at the entire audience - it's a lot less initimidating. Also imgagine yourself in the audience observing everything. Be calm, accept that's it's ok to be nervous, and enjoy yourself. But most of all, know you subject and know it well.
     
  8. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG]

    Are you sure you didn't get that tip reversed? You're suppose to imagine the audience in their underwears. Imagining myself naked in front of an audience of women is a death sentence [​IMG].

    Looking at a few people is a good tip or I can stare at the light from the projector until I'm blind [​IMG].
     
  9. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Check into classes at a local community college. Most will offer a public speaking course. I was forced to take one as part of the curriculum at my 4 year university and it's one of the most beneficial classes I've taken. My class only met four times (for about 4 hours each time) and we had to give a speech during each class. Those four speeches helped me significantly. It also helps to hear other people give presentations, because you can learn from the good ones and learn what not to do from those who you consider poor presenters.
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Public speaking is one facet of effective communication, adn some people are naturally good at it and others are inherently poor speakers. But it's a skill that can be developed, practiced, and improved. (That's what sinks some people: they're so afraid, they don't practice, so they don't improve, and they remain poor communicators.)

    I'm a decent speaker naturally and don't fear the stage, and don't struggle with it as others do. But I've practiced at it. Some plays in high school. Some presentations in college. Presenting at conferences in grad school and now as a professional.

    But, with a view towards my thesis defense five years ago, I joined a Toastmasters club. A good club and some personal dedication will work wonders -- over about two years. It's not a quick fix. Toastmasters is not the end-all for public speaking, but a good club provides several critical components that you won't normally find at work: frequent opportunities and positive feedback.

    You can't lift weights once every six weights and expect to improve your physique. And you can't speak twice and year and expect much improvement in your abilities. Toastmasters allows you to give fun, 10 minute talks every month or two, and to hear others doing the same. And it's hard to improve without knowing what's wrong and how to fix it. A good club will evaluate your speeches, telling you what worked well and giving encouraging suggestions for how to improve the weaker areas.

    Whether you join Toastmasters, take a Dale Carnegie speaking class, or seek more opportunities at work, you just have to get up there and do. And then have someone give encouraging, critical feedback.
     
  11. Chris Stainton

    Chris Stainton Second Unit

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    This is good advice. I used to speak publicly all the time and I would pick out a few different people and just keep looking at those same faces. To me it felt like I was just talking to a few people instead of the 200 or so that were there.
     
  12. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    How many people we talkin about? I have no trouble in fron of twenty, but five hundered might be a different matter.
     
  13. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    There is Seinfeld quote for everything, this is a favorite:

    I am a fairly outgoing fellow, not very shy, but still get the willies at the thought of public speaking - which I don't ever get to do anyway I must say.

    I went to my ex's first day of class as a college professor, and was in awe of her command of the classroom. It seemed so natural for her, but was acquired through years of practice with presentations, small workshops etc...

    It is a skill that I intend and hope to master before long.

    --
    H
     
  14. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    Unfortunately, I have a little girl to take care of and a ridiculously long commute so any classes is out of the question. They are sound advice and I should have dealt with the problem when I was younger. I have good tools to work with. I'm confidence of my appearance, my ability to communicate and the work that I present. It's just ridiculous to have the fear. I think I'll just have to volunteer to give seminars at my work place often. People will think I'm nuts .

    Number of people in audience is never several hundreds. It varies: 20-100.


    I heard of that. It's true.
     
  15. John Spencer

    John Spencer Supporting Actor

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    Usually, I don't have any trouble sleeping right through them. **drumroll**

    My job requires me to speak in front of groups 3 or 4 times a day. And it's on a subject most people care very little about (walk-up training for copiers). At first I was terrified until I realized that it's just a conversation. It's easier to have a conversation than try to control a room through speech. At least it is for me. So I went from regurgitating a speech to having a Q/A conversation with the customers. If no one has a question, I'll ask someone if they know how to do a certain function, and it usually rolls on from there. The next thing you know, training's done and everybody felt involved. It takes less pressure off you if you can make others an active part of your discourse, and it doesn't lessen your position as "guy with copier skills". I know with speeches it may not work as well, but that's my suggestion.
     
  16. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    I figure half the people think I'm cool and anything I say is cool with them. The other half just want my crap to be over so they can do something else.[​IMG]
     
  17. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I once took a mandatory public speaking class in college. The professor also taught the same class as part of the education program at a near-by prison. He asked some of us to volunteer to go along to the prison both to give our speeches and listen to the inmates', so they'd have a bigger audience and would get to see people besides their own classmates giving talks.

    You want to talk about nervous? You want to talk about pressure? Don't any of you wusses complain to me about this stuff. [​IMG]

    I'm not sure which was worse, giving my talk in front of those guys or having to critique theirs. ("To tell you the truth, Mad Dog, your thesis wasn't thoroughly delveloped.") Actually the worst part of the trip (apart from the ritual signing of release form that absolves the prison of any responsibility if you're taken hostage) was the sound of those big steel doors clanging shut behind you on the way in. [​IMG]

    I never worried about giving another public talk again. [​IMG]

    So my advice is to give one short talk to a prison audience. No other will ever intimidate you. (Assuming you aren't taken hostage during a riot or anything.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  18. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I admit, I've done public speaking my whole life, and the larger the crowd, the more of an adreniline rush I seem to get from it. Did it all through HS, College (speech/debate) and continue to do so in my business career.

    Here's the biggest things I tell people:

    (1) Have a small script of what you want to say before hand, and rehearse it. Realize you WILL improv some, no matter how good you are; but develop a flow with it so you feel comfortable with what you are saying.

    (2) I always see TV Shows say "imagine people naked" Ridiculous. This comes from the concept of think of the audience as in a worse position then you to make yourself feel better. For a great number of people, this acts as a distraction to your content. Instead, think of your audience as eager and supportive of you already - they WANT you to succeed, and they feel you KNOW something they don't.

    (3) Before your presentation, say a few tongue twisters. If you go through these a few times, not super fast, but at a decent clip, you'll feel a lot more confident about your speaking posture and your ability to properly annunciate. Some of my favorites:


    To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
    In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
    Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
    To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
    In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
    Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
    A dull, dark dock,
    A life-long lock,
    A short, sharp shock,
    A big black block!
    To sit in solemn silence
    In a pestilential prison,
    And awaiting the sensation
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
    (The Makado)

    The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue:
    The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips. (Origin unknown to me)

    Anyway, go through them, say them a few times. You'll feel better about the way you feel you sound.

    Finally, and sometimes most important: have someone else listen to you speak before hand, even in a trial run, whether it's a spouse or a friend. They will be a good audience because you -know- they want you to succeed. Once you have that feeling, that the audience -wants- it to work out for you, the better off you are.
     
  19. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    And if you are taken hostage, hopefully you'll have impressed them with your speech so they'll let you be the negotiator. [​IMG]

    Bruce
     
  20. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    When I was 15 I had to introduce my family to a roomful of about 200 people. An uncle I had met only twice before came. He brought me a nice present. during introductionos I forgot his name.

    Once you do that poorly you really never have to worry about it again. Now it is easy.


    And I still can't remember his name!
     

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