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speaking in front of crowds

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan L B, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. Ryan L B

    Ryan L B Supporting Actor

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    does anybody know how to end this fear of mine. I have heard way but don't know if they work.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Do you have to deliver a report at work or something? As for your fear, I don't know. Practice, and practice a lot. Deliver your report in front of family members and friends, and let them coach you.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    In a nutshell - experience.
    First, some quick tips, then some longer term approaches.
    Practice your speech or presentation until you're not stumbling over major sections, and not reading directly from notes or a script. And make sure you can give it within the allotted time. But don't memorize it word-for-word. If you have visual aids, make them so they cue you on what you're going to say. Ideally, it will almost conversational; you'll be talking about a subject that you are knowledgeable and comfortable with.
    Practice in the actual location you'll be using. I find this helps me feel more familiar with the environment, and thus more in control.
    Be there early, and make sure all equipment is working: microphones, speakers, projectors, pointers, etc.
    If the group is mostly strangers, try and have at least one friend in the audience. This gives you a friendly face; helps increase your comfort level.
    Just before speaking, take a few deep breaths, holding them for a couple seconds, then exhaling slowly. This can help calm you down, slow your breathing, etc.
    If you get flustered, lose your train of thought, etc DON'T PANIC! Stop, breath, look at your notes, and then resume.
    *********************
    There are courses and groups that provide help, training, and opportunities for public speaking in a friendly, supportive environment.
    My brother-in-law took a Dale Carnegie public speaking course; it's an intensive, several-week class. He said it was very helpful. There is some cost; I don't know what it is though.
    I highly recommend Toastmasters; I've been a member for 2.5 years now, and love it. It's inexpensive (about $50 / yr), and provides a wonderful environment to work on all facets of your communication skills. A good club is a joy to be in -- it can also be a good way to meet professionals in the area, make new friends, etc. Again, having been involved in a club for a few years, a club officer, and participated in some contests, I think Toastmasters is an excellent resource for improving your public speaking skills (and learning to control anxiety [​IMG] )
     
  4. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Speak with a slight accent.

    Works for me, at least. I have a 'lecture' voice, a 'business presentation' voice, and so on and so forth. Helps distance yourself slightly from what's going on.
     
  5. Anthony_D

    Anthony_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Practice is the key...take a public speaking course at the community college if need be. You will learn the nervous cues, how to ariculate and when to move...it's almost a science

    The nervousness does help...you can use it to your advantage...it keeps you sharp
     
  6. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    Speaking with an accent works.

    ~T
     
  7. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Coming from someone who used to be scared to DEATH of public speaking and who now teaches Tech classes for a living... Listen up [​IMG] Hopefully I can give you some pointers. First I want to tell you that eventually the fear goes away but then I would be telling you a fib.
    First step is to study the subject you will be speaking on over and over(The more you know what you are speaking on the less likely you are to be worried about screwing that up). Next you will want to practice your speech in front of the mirror or by talking with just yourself in the room. Then you will want to get family and friends involved so you can give them your speech and receive feedback from them. When you are finished take their responses and work on the areas which made you the most afraid or areas you didnt know as well. Then start the process over with. Eventually public speaking will get easier the more often you do it but no matter how many times I teach a new class I havnt talked on before I get a ton of butterflies [​IMG] Best of luck on your speech...
    KyleS
     
  8. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I used to have this fear through high school and college but after doing it so much (hint) I find it comfortable and even enjoyable sometimes. Also, make sure you know the subject you are talking about. Warm up the qudience and get interaction if you can.
     
  9. Thom B

    Thom B Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out Toastmasters I haven't had any personal experience with them, but I've talked to a few folks who swear by it.
    T
     
  10. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I found that they keys were to know the material. The worst experience was speaking about something I wasn't so comfortable with. Once I felt comfortable with the material, I picked out a couple of people in the audience. They became my "friendlies". In that sense, I was speaking to only three people. My speech had some bullet points and key sentances. Whenever I got stuck, I grabbed a key sentance and worked on how to get so I could say that. It kind of kept me on track because the speech had a goal (in a sense). The deep breath thing is also a genuine speech saver. Just when I could feel the "umms" start, I took a deep breath and drank a sip of water. It really really helps.
    Although your first one won't be able to do this, subsequent ones can be slightly fun. You just kind of say "what the hell" and walk up there.
    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Agreeing with all, practice, training, and constructive feedback are essential. Try out a group like:
    - Toastmasters
    - Carnegie Speaking class
    - Local College classes
    - Continuing Adult education classes from local high school district
    - Professional speech coaches
    among other options.
    A few more thoughts, on public speaking in general:
    For my presentations, I strive for the opposite: I usually want to embrace the presentation, and have no distance between me and the audience (emotionally, not physically). The risk in keeping yourself distanced from the material, is that the audience will pick up on it, and also feel distanced from you and your presentation. (Of course, being too "intense" can come across like a bad Tony Robbins-esque motivational speaker. I have to watch that.)
     

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