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Does anyone else hate presenting?(43 Posts)
I am rubbish at it, no not rubbish awful. My voice shakes, I forget what I’m saying (even if we’ll rehearsed). The days before I have to present I’m on a terrible mood.
I wish I could say I’m over egging how bad I am at it, but it’s horrific - I’m an introvert. I try not to be self obsessed and think people don’t care about me they care about the content etc doesn’t work...at uni (Many years ago) I remember tripping up on words when presenting and some girls laughing and I think it’s haunted me.
Yet every job seems to require some degree of presenting.
I'm an introvert too and don't like presenting. I think the key is preparation and practice. If you feel you know the subject and questions you're likely to get asked, that's half the battle.
I recently went on a presentation skills course and learnt some good tips, like how to make an impact at the start e.g. with an image/picture which relates to the subject. Maybe you'd benefit from a similar course.
I think the key is preparation and practice.
This, 100%. I present quite a lot, sometimes at conferences (roomful of 300 strangers). I don't hate it as much as you, but I don't like it.
However, I find that the worst part, by far, is the first (maybe second, sometimes third) time I run through it out loud at home. I can barely describe what's on the slides, it's not smooth, the message isn't clear.
But, if you run through enough times, you find your script.
FWIW, thinking it through is useful, but saying it out loud exposes the weaknesses. If you do it in private, you can sort it out.
My other tip is to start rehearsing with plenty of time to spare, otherwise it feels panicky.
Get some beta blockers such as propanalol
Definitely preparation and practice. If you'll be using any tech, make sure you have practised, so you know how it works. (I have run webinars and video conferences. If anything will go wrong, it will be the technology.)
And breathing, too. Consciously think about your breathing and try to slow it down. When we are nervous, our breathing speeds up, so try and trick your body into feeling calmer. It should work to some extent, at least with the physiological signs, because you're less likely to feel breathless and dizzy and a bit calmer.
You can also learn techniques to get past forgotten words. If you use a slide deck, they can help with remembering what to say. Would it be bad to use notes? I'd rather hear a speaker who is using notes, if that makes the difference between them being able to keep going, and stumbling over everything because they have forgotten and they have nothing to prompt them, but I know sometimes, notes are frowned upon. Speakers do sometimes forget, but if you can get back on track, it's fine, and notes help with that.
Also, it's worth looking for a local Toastmasters club. I've seen people improve massively through that, and gain confidence. You build up your skills and confidence in a steady, planned way, and get really constructive feedback to help you improve.
I hate it too. I'm also an introvert. I find it easier when it is a subject I feel strongly about, then I tend to forget and just talk, but when it is something less close to my heart I'm a hopeless bag of nerves. I don't even like speaking to groups of people socially or even in team meetings.. my voice shakes even with only 6 or 7 of my team present!
I love presenting and agree with preparation and practice, BUT don't fully script yourself, the minute you miss a word or lose your place you'll panic, then it will all go to pot. Make sure you know your subject inside and out and can talk about it at length then make sure you have prompts whether that's notes or a PowerPoint etc. A presentation is just a conversation you're leading.
I dislike it, English isn’t my first language so that’s an additional layer of difficulty. It also doesn’t help when someone audibly takes the piss of you’re accent and later follows it up with “sorry mate, I struggle with foreign accents” apparently a Nottinghamshire accent is foreign...
I'm also an introvert, but not overly shy. I'm OK at presenting.
It takes a lot of energy out of me, so I need to rest the evening just after I give the talk to recharge my batteries. I'll be shattered and often buzzing from adrenaline, so it can be hard to sleep properly after the talk. I can manage a post-presentation meal, it's often required, but not prolonged drinks and chit chat.
A former boss gave me this tip: the audience doesn't know what you don't tell them.
This helped me to cut out slides (deliberate reduction in content) and not worry if I forget to share some details throughout the presentation (accidental reduction in content). So long as I deliver what the audience needs, I don't kick myself if afterwards I feel that I could have done it slightly better.
I hope this helps you.
Thanks everyone. I’m surprised to have such a great amount of responses. Thank you.
So I’m (mostly) not alone with my fears. Jingle jangle “deliver what the audience wants” hmm I think it’s good to focus on the content and I have the internal narrative repeating “it’s not about you, no one cares it’s about what your talking about” but this still doesn’t cut the fear.
SimonJT the person in your audience sounded like what my son would call a potato.
Lionelrichis you love presenting ??? Can you bottle it and send it my way. Yes echoing the above practice seems to be key. I have this brilliant ability, when I’m nervous about something of sticking my head in the sand. This may be part the problem.
Practice and preparation. Sluggish snail you’re so right I often read it through but get so anxious I don’t read it aloud and this sounds like it’s key.
I don’t use any cards for cues. I’ve definitely found learning it word by word was 1. Impossible and 2. Makes me trip when (Inevitably) forget a point.
It’s madness as I know it’s the content - I think it’s the sea of faces looking at me. I am very much an introvert but do ok with 1-1 with people. I also have to be by myself after a presentation or when speaking to lots of people I a work or social environment.
Mad at I was looking at courses - but was unsure if they would help as felt my issue was just that I’m useless at being confident ...something I’m not sure you can learn (?)
Bear hug I had never heard of toasters club - is this in the U.K.?
Fillin I sympathise me too. I can talk to my team and suddenly my voice will quicker and someone will ask if I’m ok as I’m fine 1-1 with each of them.
The above was quite a rushed reply- I was very grateful for the tips and advice and didn’t want to leave it any longer before saying thanks. I will be taking screen shots of them to keep for reference!
Hi -nothing useful to add but I hate hate hate ever presenting. I am a huge introvert. I'd be happier in a little cube never ever speaking to anyone at work.
I've had to present in the past and really struggle. I just have a PowerPoint and read through, head down, get it over as quickly as possible and slink away.
Stop blaming being an introvert - you’ve given yourself an excuse to fail. I know plenty of introverts who are very good presenters. Equally, extroverts still get nervous doing presentations.
It’s like any other skill - you need to rehearse and practice each presentation, and then take every opportunity to do it until the amount of exposure means it’s a normal rather than anxiety inducing thing for you.
Nobody is born good at presenting - some might be more happy to perform, but a good presentation is a skill and it’s learned.
I hate it , but often am told I am good
Learn the subject so you can waffle if needs be
Practise some more. What is the message you are trying to get across , does everything lead to that message? If it's "for information" just focus on the bits you found most interesting. Pause after a really interesting bit
Practise more. Is it short and punchy. Can you deliver it without the slides?
Don't read the slides. Have the slide titles tell you where you are.
I have crib cards that just say breathe or slow down. Let's people hear.
Head up, shoulders back, look up and out. Find the person who is smiling at you.
Make sure you look all around the room at various times, including people on the sides. Smile at those who are smiling at you. If you are shaking, smiling is extra good. People know you are trying and root for you
Talk to someone at the back of the room, it keeps the pace better which comes across as confident
At Most presentations the audience want you to succeed.
Really awkward customer " that's interesting or complicated shall we discuss later"
Yes, I hate it due to being the centre of attention.
I find the following helpful:
-drink lots of water
- no caffein
- rehearse out loud several times
-film your rehearsals
- use prompt cards
- look just above people’s heads, not at faces (less distracting)
- visualise your whole presentation going smoothly
Yes I'm awful. I hardly ever have to do it but it's a real phobia of mine. Last time people commented they could see my legs shaking.
Did they only say they could see your legs shaking or was that part of a bigger comment ?
Toastmasters is international and definitely in the UK. if you go to toastmasters.org there should be a link to find a local club - most will happily have people visit a meeting as a guest, to see what goes on.
I do find it funny how MNers use being an introvert as explanation for some things... one of the best speakers I ever knew probably was quite shy, had ASD (all colleagues thought so), very kind man but quirky as all fuck, workaholic for long hours & you could see him getting exhausted by social engagements. He had worked very hard for yrs to become a competent public speaker. He saw it as a challenge so was well proud of self. Anyway...
I just decide I hate all the audience. Then I'm not nervous. Being grumpy gets me thru talks. I loathe being centre of attention, but remember they want to hear what you have to say. So keep to the message. The presentation isn't about you.
I teach students to present and lecture to classes of hundreds. I love presenting. Making a presentation is not the same as making a speech, it shouldn’t be scripted word for word, when it is, even if the script is memorised rather than read, it will sound stilted unless you are very, very good at presenting. In a presentation with slides you need to talk about the slides fairly naturally to be effective. The slides have to give the basis of what you want to say without giving all the detail. Reading every word on the slides would take maybe 10% of the presentation time at the very most. Pictures or diagrams that you describe are a good device, show your information visually and enhance it with words.
Practice, practice, practice, as a PP said this has to be out loud, and preferably at least once to a critical friend who will honestly but constructively comment.
If you use notes on cards don’t use sentences, as soon as you start reading anything the flow goes. Just key words.The exception could be a couple of starting sentences to get going. Remember to breathe.
You don’t need to be extrovert to present well, I teach engineering; an extrovert engineer is one who looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you. The single most important thing is to feel confident that you know what you’re talking about inside out.
I do not enjoy presenting either...
I practice beforehand too, if possible I go to the room, practice walking in, decide where I am going to stand and do practice speaking to get the 'feel' of the room. I check the room layout is the most appropriate.
But, I take the 'fake it, until you make it' approach. I start off with a smile and have a friendly manner, I invite questions and comments from the audience as we go through the presentation.
I use crib cards too, with just key words on them. I like to have something to hold in my hands.
Hand on heart, it does get easier, the more you do it.
Our company has introduced morning huddled, so each team will have a huddle with someone usually the team leader or manager leading it and occasionally 1 member of the team leading it
Its just meant to be short 5-10 mins to talk about the day ahead, I don't mind doing it, though when the department manager joins in it is a bit nervy!
I don’t think it’s an introvert thing. I would classify myself as introverted, in that I find social situations draining and seem to benefit from quiet time to ‘recharge’.
I am also a very good, confident presenter. I quite enjoy it. For me, the key is to really know my content well, don’t try and bluff through things that I don’t really know about. I don’t practise the words as such, more make sure I am completely familiar with my slides so that I can talk naturally through them.
I also welcome questions and ask for input, I find this breaks up my talking, allows me a breather and gives an opportunity to gauge how my present is being received. If it seems to be falling dead, I can wizz through the slides more quickly and get it over and done with!
I detest it too. Getting reminded of 'the fear' just reading through this - and I think I'm outwardly viewed as confident. I disagree about the 'it's about the content, not you' - well, disagree that it's that simple. I always watch the presenter for signs of nerves/no nerves and often forget to listen to what they're saying. I hate hearing that shake in your own voice.
Some good tips here thank you. I also hate presenting, get the shakes all over including my voice, feel sick and nervous and very weirdly feel like my heart is falling in on itself and that I’m not going to be able to breathe properly. I do however feel 1000% better if I’m sat down in a group rather than standing up, I suppose I feel more exposed stood up.
The thing is if you were to speak or see me outside of this I’ve been told I appear quite confident. It’s so irrational!
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