Are you good at public speaking? Do you get nervous?

Are you good at public speaking?

  • Yes, I am good. I don't feel nervous at all.

    Votes: 18 20.5%
  • Yes, but I do feel a little nervous.

    Votes: 37 42.0%
  • No, I get nervous. But I'll like to improve.

    Votes: 15 17.0%
  • NO!! I hate speaking in public. I get very nervous.

    Votes: 18 20.5%

  • Total voters
    88

66217

Guest
Original poster
Jan 30, 2006
1,608
0
I was curious what percent of people here are good public speakers.

I am currently in a class to improve my public speaking. Not that I am terrible, but I do get nervous when speaking in public.

Any tips or experiences you would like to share?
 

swiftaw

macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
6,309
20
Omaha, NE, USA
Actually depends on the situation. I'm in education, so I get up a talk in front of students every day and never get nervous, but when I was asked to perform a reading at a friend's wedding, I was incredibly nervous.
 

66217

Guest
Original poster
Jan 30, 2006
1,608
0
...but when I was asked to perform a reading at a friend's wedding, I was incredibly nervous.
Funny you said that. I am going to read in my brother's wedding. At least I am only going to read, I won't have to memorize anything.
 

calyxman

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2005
610
0
I never had a problem with it. You really need to be into the subject matter that you are discussing. Without any emotion, the audience will tune out.

It's normal to get nervous: some may have fear, others anxiety.

The number one advice I can give is to prepare before actually speaking. Rehearse your speech by yourself over and over until you're comfortable with the material. Impromptu presentations should only be attempted when you have the most confidence in yourself.
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,709
4,278
"Between the Hedges"
Never had a problem speaking in public... and I have done so to large crowds in the past. I consider it a strength because I think well on my feet and never get nervous in front of people.

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 

iBookG4user

macrumors 604
Jun 27, 2006
6,596
2
Seattle, WA
I'm not good at public speaking. I'm way too shy and I get pretty nervous even when talking in large groups, which is why I usually just sit quietly and absorb information instead.
 

TheAnswer

macrumors 68030
Jan 25, 2002
2,531
1
Orange County, CA
I get more nervous if I have something prepared to read. Hand me a fully scripted speech and it's nerve-racking, even if I have time to memorize it. If it's just an outline of facts I need to mention and I know my stuff, then I do a lot better.
 

kwood

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2006
835
0
In the Great White North.
I went to an acting school and the teacher would say something like this:

"Young inexperienced actors try not to throw up before going on stage, Professionals do throw up."

Obviously not all professional actors or performers throw up before going on stage, but what was meant was professionals know how to deal with their nervousness before going into the spotlight.
 

66217

Guest
Original poster
Jan 30, 2006
1,608
0
The number one advice I can give is to prepare before actually speaking. Rehearse your speech by yourself over and over until you're comfortable with the material. Impromptu presentations should only be attempted when you have the most confidence in yourself.
I normally speak with myself, I stand on a mirror or walk from one place to another practicing my speech. But I try only to get a general idea, because if I do a very prepared speech, I find that I get nervous when giving my speech because I forgot something that I had been practicing.

I get more nervous if I have something prepared to read. Hand me a fully scripted speech and it's nerve-racking, even if I have time to memorize it. If it's just an outline of facts I need to mention and I know my stuff, then I do a lot better.
I also find doing an outline a good way of getting the general idea of my speech.
I remember when I once wrote the whole speech and tried to memorize it. At the moment I pass to the front to give the speech I knew I had made a mistake, it was as if someone had erased the speech from my mind completely. So I just said whatever came to my mind. The end result: an incredible mix of utter non-sense.:p
 

BoyBach

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2006
3,030
2
UK
I'm very introvert and quiet in 'normal' situations. However, if I need to talk in front of a group of people - friends or strangers - I'm fine. I don't know why, but I'm able to 'perform' as someone confident and funny and so on.

I have two bit's of advice:

1. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.

2. Eat a banana thirty minutes beforehand. Apparently, it helps relax your voice.
 

ErikCLDR

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2007
1,795
0
I am a HORRIBLE public speaker.

I am class president at my school, and I know everyone and they no me. I'm very social, very talkative, and am never afraid to talk to anyone.

However, when I get up in front of the class, I don't know where my outgoingness and enthusiasm goes. I am nervous, but I cannot understand why since I am friends with everyone in the audience. When I speak I speak in a nervous, dull, monotone thats does not really entice the audience.
 

sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
15,630
3
キャンプスワ&#
Funny you said that. I am going to read in my brother's wedding. At least I am only going to read, I won't have to memorize anything.
Getting up in front of crowds speaking on a subject in a presentation mode, I rarely get nervous about doing it but worry a little about the equipment (computer, projector, speakers, etc.) not working correctly. So I tend to plan on Mr. Murphy visiting me during that time and tend to over plan contingencies. Although at times, it has come in handy.

You comment about reading at your brother's wedding brought back memories. A few years ago, I thought everyone could hear my heart beating, when I did a short speech in Japanese at a friend's wedding. They never knew and were surprised at me doing it in Japanese as they had expected me to do it in English and have a translator. Guess on the outside I looked very calm and happy! :) But inside was another story! :eek:
 

macEfan

macrumors 65816
Apr 7, 2005
1,214
7
I'm great at public speaking for small crowds...like 1-50 people....

I don't like speaking to more than 75 people at once... I'll end up getting nervous.
 

atari1356

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2004
1,586
32
I am a self-confident person... but for whatever reason I generally shy away from attention. I get very nervous speaking in front of a group - so much so that, in the past, if I was holding a piece of paper my hand would start shaking. Or, my voice would crack.

I working to get past that now though, because eventually I'd like to start my own business - and I feel like being shy is my biggest hinderance to that.
 

teflon

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2007
792
0
I was horrible at public speaking when I was a child, but as I grew, I became better. Now I can say I'm a pretty good public speaker, although I do still get nervous before I go on. I just repeat to myself " you can do it, you prepared, you always pulled it off, you can do this", and try to relax. Improvising is a bit harder, but the key is, even if you don't know what you're talking about, and don't know what your next sentence is, act like you know perfectly well what you're doing. I once had to read out in front of a whole class a writing assignment that I didn't do :eek:.
 

Osarkon

macrumors 68020
Aug 30, 2006
2,161
4
Wales
I acted when I was younger and was always extremely nervous because there was this feeling of pressure.

Now that I'm older and generally understand the audience when I do have to talk in public, the pressure is slightly lessened because I know what's expected of me. Because of that I find it quite easy to do, and if it's a topic I know inside out and like, it's fun!
 

j26

macrumors 65832
Mar 30, 2005
1,504
18
Paddyland
I do a good bit of training, but I still get a bit edgy sometimes, especially when delivering a new course - it's not a problem, it keeps you geared up.

A few tips for it are;
*Deep breaths - they calm you down
*Before going up, open your mouth and stretch the muscles as far as you can, then scrunch up your face, tightening it as much as you can. Do this a few times to limber up the muscles, and you will speak more clearly. Obviously do this before everyone can see you.
*Memorise the first line or two off by heart, so you can get a bit of a flow going.
*Talk a bit slower than you think you need to. People will appreciate a presentation given at less than 120wpm.
*Inflect - my voice can be a bit of a monotone at times, but I've worked on using changing intonation to make it easier to listen to.
*Prepare - have an outline beside any prepared notes, so you know roughly where you are in the overall thing.
*Don't read from a speech - it lacks sincerity. Use bullet points to remind you what to say.
*Try to get some bit of humour in in the first two minutes. It relaxes you and your audience, and then everyone settles in nicely. It shouldn't be side-splittingly funny, just enough to get a chuckle.
 

jng

macrumors 65816
Apr 6, 2007
1,012
0
Germany
great tips j26!

here are some others.

I'm not a formal teacher, but I do "teach" as a TA or give lectures, demos of computer stuff at my old high school pretty regularly.

Anyway, I've found the following to be useful:

- a bottle of water. Don't drink too often, but sometimes when you need a pause to gather your bearings or find that word you have in your head, taking a sip of water is a great way to fill the "void."

- a list ON THE BOARD - when i teach, I put up a basic outline (no sublevels) on the board before i start speaking so that I don't stray too far and I remember to go over everything.

- walk around. I hate it when people are at a standstill. as a listener, I fall asleep much more easily.

- Hand gestures! really important. nothing crazy and theatrical. but point to things, shrug, move those arms a bit etc.


If you're giving a formal speech (as opposed to speaking in front of a class), I agree, memorization can help. For formal group presentations, I go memorization about 100% of the time. With rehearsals, it just works so well.

If I'm giving something alone, I try to memorize some but not all and record it in front of my isight a few times. It lets me know what words I need to pronounce better and which structures could use better transitions.

As for speaking in front of people, some people are a natural. There's this one professor at my school that reminds me of Bill Clinton. He speaks loudly and clearly and most importantly: ALWAYS in complete grammatically correct sentences, even if he's making something up from the top of his head. It's really amazing.

I would love to have his talent. Esp. now that I'm learning another language, I am often at a lost for words or my sentences come out funny in English.

As for being nervous. As a teenager, I used to not wear contacts or glasses and because of my horrible vision, I wouldn't be able to see you! Worked great.
 

teflon

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2007
792
0
As for being nervous. As a teenager, I used to not wear contacts or glasses and because of my horrible vision, I wouldn't be able to see you! Worked great.
I would be more nervous if I did that :p.
Another tip is, don't look at the ceiling/floor/straight ahead of you into the wall etc. Makes you look less confident and like you're trying to remember what to say. Also, don't fidget, play with your hair, sway side to side etc. And don't look constantly at the clock/watch to see if your time is up. Glance around the room from time to time and make a few brief eye contacts to gauge the audience's interest.
 

zblaxberg

Guest
Jan 22, 2007
875
0
My dad always told me to pretend everyone was sitting on the crapper while you were giving a speech.
 

iSaint

macrumors 603
I was always scared in front of a crowd. I remember in my public speaking class in college I was scared to death every time I gave a speech. Then, I went to work for the Boy Scouts. I had to get up in front of 300 kids and get them fired up enough to bug there parents about Scouting. Since then, I've led church services, preached, spoken at civic clubs, and done many presentations while getting my master's degree. I now teach high school, and I have no fears at all.

It did take a long time to get here, though! :p