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andyd12345 9:23 Mon Jun 26
Public speaking
Come on then wisdom of WHO - I know this site is only frequented by CEOs and CFOs that speak in front of large audiences every day, so this is obviously the best place to ask.

I've got an irrational fear of public speaking - not through any particular bad experience in the past, but just the thought of it fills me with untold negative images of me fainting at the podium / freezing / running out the room. All sorts of irrational shit.

I've managed to spend the last 15 years tactically swerving these type of things, but I've got to get up in front of about 200 people next Wednesday to give a presentation which is unavoidable.

Other than the usual bullshit about breathing deeply, anyone got some useful advice for how you've got over this?

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Too Much Too Young 7:48 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Given the choice, i prefer public shouting over public whispering, as that makes me paranoid.

On that basis, i reckon you should SHOUT your way through it ala Don Logan (Sexy Beast).

Ram the cunt down their fucking necks son.

JayeMPee 6:49 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Prepare Practise Present

Know your subject/speech thoroughly such that if you lost the script you could still do the job. Go and stand in a quiet room and practise, not only improve your confidence but will give you a good idea how long it will be.

Check your breathing before you start, slow and relaxed. Less than a minute into the speech you will wonder what you were worried about.

All the best, enjoy!

tricky trev 6:19 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Ensure that you are comfortable about what you will be speaking about. If you are unsure this will come across.

andyd12345 4:35 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
It next Wednesday, not today (thank god). But I'll let you know :-)

Roeder-nowhere 12:35 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
How did it go?

Bungo 10:27 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking

Mad Dog 10:08 Wed Jun 28


Bungo 10:26 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Sven Roeder 8:43 Wed Jun 28

I don't know, you could always open with, 'I'm Andy, and I'm pissed'.

Probably get some sort of reaction?

Mad Dog 10:08 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Probably noit if you're about ti speak at an AA meeting though

costahammer 9:04 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Easy ...2 or 3 whiskeys 10 minutes before will settle u right down...works every time!

Mad Dog 9:00 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
Also prepare well I advance.

Use cue cards with key facts and notes

Mad Dog 8:59 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
The only thing I can suggest is practice.

Start with smaller groups and work up

Chigwell 7:24 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
I had two different jobs over 25 years which were 80% speaking to groups of people Although I only addressed audiences of over 200 a couple of times, it's basically the same provided your voice is loud enough or you have a mic.
As Hammer & Pickle wrote, prepare but don't over-prepare (by which I mean don't write down every word you intend to say or take copies notes to the talk). It's comforting to have a memory-jogger in front of you, but you'll find (if you're well enough prepared) that you won't need to refer to it much or at all. Practice the speech a few times and you won't forget when the day comes.

We can't help feeling nervous of any unfamiliar experience, so expect sweaty palms and a thumping heart just before you have to stand up. Make sure you have a large glass of water available because your mouth is likely to feel dry too.

Finally, as someone else said, if you are interested yourself in the topic, your enthusiasm is likely to be conveyed to the audience and your job will be much easier. If you're not genuinely keen on what you have to talk about, don't admit that to the audience (eg by apologising in advance for the content) but compensate by knowing the key points very well, and don't ramble.

Son of Anarchy 4:00 Wed Jun 28
Re: Public speaking
If you get too nervous youll piss yourself and in this day n age theyll be some cunt filming it so itll be all over twitter in seconds

The old c wing 10:08 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
I'm a lecturer so frequently deliver to classes of around 250 students.

Yes experience is key

Also is the confidence you know more about what your discussing than the audience

And also humour, and/or broadly being a decent human being in the way you deliver

Pee Wee 9:37 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
I enjoy the nervous energy that comes with public speaking and presenting to an audience and in my experience I have some good news and some bad news for you.

Good news there is a sure fire way of getting over the nerves.

Bad news is it is experience.

Joking aside there is no advice that is a quick last minute fix, however a number of people have suggested things that will help a little.

1) admit at beginning its your first time, you're nervous and ask them to go easy on you - most audiences will go with you after that.

2) if you know your subject and presentation as you say you do, don't be scripted. Speak extemporaneously, don't read your notes or worse still your slides.

3) if it's a presentation in a school - don't imagine your audience naked. There's nothing more embarrassing than ejaculating mid speech.

4) Slow down. Your natural instinct is to speed through it, even if you feel you aren't going fast... Slow down, as the chances are you will be. Pausing for breath, for thought, controlling your nerves will make you come across more controlled.

Good luck

Alex G 9:20 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
Are you using powerpoint for your presentation?

There's a way to set it up so that it displays prompts on your screen that aren't on the big projector screen that your audience will see. Whilst it won't directly help your delivery it will at least stop you having mid-presentation brain freezes where you can't for the life of you remember what you were going to say on a specific slide.

di_kezio 8:12 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
I've struggled with this for years. I've tried to lead meetings and presentations and have had to make pretend excuses to leave the room and go hide in the toilet to try and control my breathing. Nearly pass out once and somebody had to fetch me water!

Then a year ago, I decided that I would try to new tactic. I started all of my presentations by explaining that I dislike public speaking, and to go easy on me. If I got an attack mid-speech, I would stop, explain the problem that I have, take 10 secs of breathing and then continue.

In the last few months, the problem has disappeared. Just today I strolled into a workplace and spoke to a room of people. Didn't give it a moment's thought, whereas before I've even been sick in a bush outside!

So for me, deciding to be honest with groups of people, and to explain the nerves, suddenly worked wonders. I've hardly actually needed to acknowledge this in front of people, but knowing that the option is there if I need it, has suddenly turned me into a confident public speaker. Trying to hide it for so many years only made it worse.

Good luck mate.

13 Brentford Rd 7:48 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
Easier said than done but try to be natural and not look and sound as if you are reading the entire presentation.
Look up at the audience a bit and ad lib a little. I have done a few bits of public speaking and I am crap at it and always end up just reading the script and sounding completely unnatural.

Nurse Ratched 7:39 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
Good luck, andy.

Hope it goes well x

andyd12345 7:29 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply. To those suggesting hypnosis - I've tried that a few times, and whilst it has narrowly helped me it didn't do a great deal. Things like beta blockers are a great suggestion and something I'd never even thought of. I've got a session with my GP first thing tomorrow morning and will hope he'll prescribe me some, otherwise I'll just get some from a dodgy online pharmacy.

I know the content inside out and I'm a very confident person - people are always amazed when I tell them about the fear of public speaking. Hopefully popping a pill an hour before the speech will give me control of my body back, and then the rest is up to me!

Thanks again all.

Brooking_is_GOD 7:12 Tue Jun 27
Re: Public speaking
Do a Larry David.

Take the mic, look left then look right and say ' No, I don't think so...' then walk off the stage.

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