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Girl Talk: Public Speaking Freaks Me Out

alex.jpg

I have a hard time speaking in class. Whether it's in front of the class, to the class, sitting in my seat or answering a question, I get really nervous. This summer I tried working on building my confidence and it helped because this first day of school went much better than past years! I'm finding it easier to talk to people and speak up in class, but I'm still not 100%. One time my teacher made us say our names, read a quote from a famous poet, and then explain what the quote means. As it got closer to my turn, I got extremely nervous. I was literally shaking. I tried everything to calm myself down and to relieve the stress, but nothing worked! I stuttered at the end of my quote, and felt so stupid afterwards. It was only after the next 5 kids went that I started to calm down again. I don't know what to do. I was going to take a speech elective this year, but then I dropped it cause I was afraid I'd get a bad grade and lower my GPA. Is there anything besides speech class that can help me be less nervous and more confident when I speak in class?'

-Alex'

Ciao ciao jellybean!

Public speaking is actually a fear for loads of people. Trust me, I bet most people in your class get a little freaked out when their turn rolls around. It's great though that you've acknowledged one of your shortcomings and are trying to work on it!

Practice makes perfect! The only real way to get over speaking to crowds is to keep on doing it. The more you do it, the less and less your fear will be. Try not to over-think things so much. So ya stuttered, who doesn't? If you really pay attention to everyone that speaks, you'll notice that they've made a gazillion mistakes in their presentations too! You're being too hard on yourself. No one will remember that ya messed up, and I bet most people didn't even notice the mistakes that ya made. Honestly, the more embarrassed you get, the more embarrassing you become. The next time ya stumble, act like it's not big deal. If you act like it, not only will you eventually feel it, but everyone around you will think it too. What's important is not that you've failed, but that you have the courage to pick yourself back up and try again.

I think you should totally take that speech elective. If you come across a problem, the only way you can change it is to face it head on! You've said that you worked on your problem over the summer and have already seen changes. Well then continue to do what you were doing before because it's obviously working. Nothing happens overnight, just keep at it and one day you'll eventually notice that you're totally comfortable.

Also, preparation is key. There are those blessed souls that can just wing things and be calm and collected in any scenario, but since you're not, ya gotta prepare yourself. Practice your speeches at home until you know it like the back of your hand. And take your time. The next time you start buggin' out during a spiel for class, stop and take a deep breath. Ya might think you'll look dumb doing that, but wouldn't you rather look dumb for a few seconds then through your whole presentation.

I have a feeling you will be A-OK.

Keep your chin up,
Jiae

POSTED ON 9/7/2007 1:01:21 AM

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