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to ask for advice on public speaking?

(21 Posts)
symphony234 Wed 16-May-18 11:05:33

On Friday I've got to do a speech in front of around 70 people. I am absolutely ill with nerves about it and wish I hadn't agreed to do it.

It's only about a minute long, if that, but I'm panicking. I'm more nervous because I know I'm going to sound so nervous. I hate it.

Any tips?

Ansumpasty Wed 16-May-18 11:08:48

Try and be stood at the front before you start to talk. I used to teach 30 plus adults and was stood at the front all day and it was no biggie. However, getting up to give a speech to the same number of adults is a completely different situation.
It’s the walk to the stage etc that kills me. Good luck!

OyO Wed 16-May-18 11:09:17

In the lead up to it, try only to think of how good you’ll feel once you’ve accomplished it. Also, Give yourself something to look forward to afterwards.

I find needing a wee always helps me sound less nervous and also keeping in mind that the majority of people don’t listen to an entire speech, most will switch off, others will talk amongst themselves. What you have to say isn’t groundbreaking so it’s delivery needn’t be either.

symphony234 Wed 16-May-18 11:10:12

I won't have a walk to the stage thankfully, Ansumpasty. We've all got allocated seats so I'll just be standing up and speaking from the seat.

When I talk I'm so conscious that I sound so nervous and that puts me off more.

blueskyinmarch Wed 16-May-18 11:10:42

I would like some tips too. I am doing a reading at my niece's wedding soon and although i am fairly confident i am not a natural speaker. I really want to do my best for her.

Elelfrance Wed 16-May-18 11:11:12

Practice practice practice .... on your own will work, but if you have someone you can practice "at" is even better. the better you know what you're going to be saying, the better you'll feel about it. For something that short, don't be afraid to write-out-every-word, then practice the shit out of it, so that you don't have to "read" it when you're presenting. Also, the better you know what you're saying, the more you can concentrate on speaking slowly - the biggest thing that shows you're nervous is speeding through a presentation, so if you can slow down, that will help a lot

Confusedbeetle Wed 16-May-18 11:11:14

Don't write out a long script. Just bullet points to guide you. Breathe breathe breathe and smile. The physical smile will help you. When you speak, scan around the crowd as if you were speaking to someone in each area. DO NOT tell them you are nervous. Tell yourself you are not. It is one minute of your life. You can do this, be proud of yourself. You don't have time between now and then to get any training so just keep it natural

bridgetreilly Wed 16-May-18 11:34:04

Make sure you know what you are going to say. Practice the speech out loud often enough that you can say it without thinking. Make notes if you need to, but for something that short, you won't need a full script.

Smile. Go slower than you think you need to. Pause to breathe. It'll be over before you know it.

LellyMcKelly Wed 16-May-18 11:46:56

Think of the one message you want people to take away. Make that your central point. Jot down a few notes so you have them to refer to if you need them, but practice enough that you don’t. Here’s a few pieces of advice someone gave me when I first started talking in front of people:

1. Act - pretend to be a person who is brilliant at speaking - that will give you confidence
2. Be authentic - people know and respond when you’re being honest about your subject area
3. Know your stuff - be the authority on the topic
4. Know that being nervous is absolutely normal. I’ve been a lecturer for years, but still have a few butterflies before every lecture.
5. Enjoy it. People want to hear what you want to say. That’s why you’ve been invited to speak. There will usually be a lot of goodwill towards speakers.

Confusedbeetle Wed 16-May-18 14:52:28

There's also that old mantra

tell em what you are going to tell em

Tell em

Tell em what you told them
Would need to be snappy in one min, one sentence intro and conclude

Tryagaintomorrow Wed 16-May-18 16:20:48

Remembering to breathe is incredibly important.
Take a big deep breath before you start and just really concentrate on not talking too fast.
I’d also recommend practicing a lot. It’s much easier when you know it well and don’t have to keep reading through notes - if you’re panicking then it’s even harder to read.

So big breath, slow down and smile smile

IJustHadToNameChange Wed 16-May-18 16:23:52


Memorise it. Practice, practice, practice it.

Bring your notes with you, but only glance at them.

Address the room by focusing on a point above the audience's heads and don't keep your face stuck in your script.

CarefullyDrawnMap Wed 16-May-18 16:29:43

Practice it 100s of times, which is perfectly possible if it's only short.
Also, if you find hearing your own voice awkward, a tip is, when practicing (only when practicing) do it in different ways: sing it, sing it very high, sing it very deep, shout it, whisper it, improvise voices. Then, when you go back to your normal, it will feel a lot better.

KTCluck Wed 16-May-18 16:30:26

The best advice I was given before having to speak in public was to speak so that it sounds too slow in your head. It’ll stop you rushing through too quickly and you’ll sound calm and confident, plus it helps you to stay focused on what you’re saying. Personally I always find the build up to having to speak to a crowd far worse than the actual doing it. Once the first words are out it’s fine. Good luck!

cakedup Wed 16-May-18 16:30:40

For some reason I've never been afraid of public speaking and I'm not sure why. I think it helps to think of yourself as playing the part of someone confident? Act the way a confident person, take your time, speak loudly and clearly, look around the room. Most people will probably be sitting there thinking "thank God that's not me having to get up and speak!" So no reason to feel intimidated.

Gruach Wed 16-May-18 16:35:49

You’re probably focusing on the seventy people!

Break them down into individuals. Look at one person at a time and speak to them. A sentence each maybe. No individual person will look like a hostile crowd - and you’ll be so busy choosing who to speak to next that your one minute will be over in seconds!

You’ll be fine.

symphony234 Wed 16-May-18 17:01:35

Thanks everyone.

My fear is sounding so nervous that people comment on it afterwards. It's happened before and I feel so stupid.

morningperson Wed 16-May-18 18:35:22

Oh Symphony234 i feel for you, its awful isnt it. here are some tips that I'vei used;

1. "spot" people that you can focus on in the crowd before you do your speech. someone might be wearing a bright jacket, someone else might have a bright coloured tie, or big hairdo. if you pick out say 2 or 3 people before your speech you can "speak" to them when delivering your speech. you'll feel like there's less people and you will feel that little bit of familiarity.
2. think of the crowd as looking at the "Guess Who" Gameboard.
3. make sure you have water to sip. (my mouth always go dry very quickly).
4. purposefully slow your speech down (i always speed up and go high pitched but when i slow my speech down i feel like i get control of my voice it helps my breathing to come down too).
5. if your hands will be free (and if you can conceal them) sometimes its good to twiddle with something, could just be a pen lid or a button or something (can take your mind off the nerves).

hope this helps, please let us know how you go on.

also, for "Blueskyinmarch" i did a reading a friend's wedding a few years ago. Was nervous as hell from the moment she suggested it to the moment i had to do it. Hated every bloody second, just about managed to read it all, voice was wavering through most of the one page (double-line spacing) reading, ....However! LOADS of people including the church bell ringers, came up to me afterwards, congratulating on such an emotional reading, they said they we welling up, it was making people cry, etc etc. In other words they misread my anxiety for emotion!!!!! Couldnt believe it! definitely made me feel better on the day, but i'm still never ever doing it again.

Judashascomeintosomemoney Wed 16-May-18 18:42:49

My fear is sounding so nervous that people comment on it afterwards

In my experience, if you know your subject and/or it’s something you are passionate about, this is actually very rare. I thought I must have been visibly shaking the first time I did it. My boss, not the kind to be gentle or massage egos said not. Absolutely not. Sounded like you knew exactly what you were talking about and people learnt from it. I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing many freinds/colleagues speak publicly who then asked if they’d sounded nervous etc. They may well have felt it, but, not one of them did.

Bagadverts Wed 16-May-18 19:01:44

Bluesky - get a copy of the reading and make sure the font is big enough. Have a go reading it through. If it is more than a sentence or two maybe type up double spaced. Add commas where you are going to pause, especially if there are long sentences. Think about which words in the sentence are important for example see how different the same sentence feels when you emphasise a different word. After that practise, but remember you are speaking to group who wish you well, it's not an exam, enjoy it. The following link has some examples around Mary had a little lamb. two examples they give

MARY had a little lamb - Mary, not Tom, had the lamb

Mary HAD a little lamb - she had it once, but she doesn't have it now

Bilbonaggins Wed 16-May-18 19:06:47

It sounds silly but can you practice in the car? I have this same anxiety with public speaking/interviews etc and I always rehearse over and over what I am going to say on my commute to work - mainly because I feel silly practicing at home where DP can hear me and something about being in the car makes me feel confident!

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