Post # 1
So I have a work presentation next week in front of about 40 people, including the CEO, CFO, owners, etc. I feel like I could throw up just thinking about it.
I am the girl in middle school that used to pretent to be sick on book report day, because I was too nervous to talk in front of everyone. And today I am that girl that shakes like a leaf/turns bright red/sweats/ and stumbles over my words when speaking in a crowd more than a few people.
I plan to practice this weekend and be as prepared as possible. But how do I not shake/turn red/etc? HELP!!
Post # 3
@Bostongrl25: I shudder at the mere thought of public speaking. I wish I could give you advcie but, I get severe stage fright too. Oh man I feel for you……..
Post # 4
Well, you will likely have to do this throught your career, so I recommend joining something like Toastmasters – I’ve been a member for 3 years now and it’s really improved my public speaking confidence. Find a local chapter and drop in as a guest for a few meetings to see what it’s all about.
Obviously this doesn’t help you with next week, so I’ll let you know what works for me. I struggle with the same issues you do. I think many people do. Figure out what your presentation style is. Do cue cards work best for you? Reading paragraphs? Etc. The biggest thing that screws me up is having notes that are not in my own words. I then just read word for word and often screw up. I try to truly understand what I am talking about, and then I can articulate it in my own words. That’s why I like cue cards – I put a few main points down to jog my memory, and then I can speak to the slide (or just speak if I have no PowerPoint) .
You probably will shake and turn red. Once you accept that, you can get on with it. Some of the best speakers I know still turn red. You’re not the CEO.. you’re not expected to be an amazing public speaker. The audience is not going to rip you a new one.
As you say, practice is important. Just know your material, make sure you sort out any technology/notes/etc. beforehand, and it is what it is. You’re not going to bloom into an amazing speaker overnight.
I can relate more than you know, and I strongly recommend Toastmasters. You go at your own pace, but having to do *some* public speaking (some meetings you’ll say less than others) on a weekly basis is sooo helpful for me because I never get badly out of practice. My job calls for me to do 3+ hour training sessions, speak up in meetings with difficult people etc. etc. etc. A few years ago I would never believe that I’d actually be able to do all this. I still blush sometimes, but not as bad.
Post # 5
How exhilerating! Practice your presentation out loud several times. Record yourself doing it so you know what annoying or inappropriate mannerisms you may have. And this may be very cliche but breeeeeeeeeathe. Get the oxygen flowing to help you relax. And goodluck!
Post # 6
The best way to feel at ease while speaking to an audience is to feel comfortable with the material you are presenting. It is helpful to have an outline of the points you want to make, rather than the full text of the presentation. Full text leads people to stare at their paper rather than their audience. With a well prepared outline, a glance at your prepared points should help keep you on track. Make lots of eye contact with your audience, holding someone’s gaze for a few seconds at a time. If possible, move around a little.
Most importantly, remembhat that while they are super apparent to you, most signs of nerves while public speaking are not visible to your audience. If you speak powerfully, you will be able to overcome the shakiness in your voice. Make sure to take deep breaths.
Omg I sound like a textbook. I was on my school’s speech and debate team, I’ve had these things drilled into my head!
Post # 7
Thank you ladies!! i’ll have a powerpoint on the screen but just with some bullet points, and I need to memorize what I am going to say.
@canarydiamond: I’m going to check this out, thank you! I took a public speaking class in college but basically learned nothing from it, except that I really hate it.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@Bostongrl25: Practice at home. Also, pull aside someone at work you trust and practice in front of them. If you get lost during your presentation, look to this person for encouragement. When I speak in front of a large audience I make sure to get up early, eat breakfast, and do everything I can to make sure that I am calm and ready for it. I also try to ignore the fact that I am speaking in front of so many people. I try to focus on only 1-2 people at a time and pretend the rest aren’t there.
Post # 9
@Bostongrl25: You’re welcome. It really is a fun environment, as crazy as that sounds. You can also choose to focus more on leadership vs. doing speeches if you want (you do a bit of both regardless). I’ve made lots of friends in my club. It’s a safe place to try different things out as well. One guy in my club is doing his masters degree and practiced his masters dissertation defence speech once lol. So you could totally practice a work presentation (or part of it) if you wanted.
Post # 10
I hate public speaking but it’s part of my job so I deal with it. But I have very much the same reaction as you – I get sick, feel like I’m going to throw up, etc.
One thing that really helps me is to stand up a few minutes before I have to speak. If I just get up right out of my seat and start talking, I find I run out of breath. But standing a few minutes before helps a lot!!
Also, I like to start the presentation with something interesting – a joke, a story, a demonstration, etc. Just something that helps me be personable with the audience. That helps me to calm down, smile and feel like it’s more of a conversation than a presentation.
Lastly, like you said, practice it over and over and over. I will lock myself in a bedroom the night before and repeat it out loud about 150 times. As I’m doing it, when I figure out what I want to say on each slide, I write it out word for word. That way, if I am practicing it later, I don’t forget what I said that flowed well.
Post # 11
@Bostongrl25: I used to be exactly like you and it is only through practice that I got over it. I literally threw myself into a role where I had to public speak daily. The first few times were terrible, but I got better. You can’t improve on something unless you practice in a real way – not just in front of a mirror.
My advice – know your content and practice answering questions you may get asked. When you know what you’re talking about, there’s no need to be nervous. Public speaking is one of my favourite things to do now!
Post # 12
Thanks for all the great tips ladies!!
Post # 13
@Bostongrl25: You can get a prescription that really helps! When I was nervous before a really big presentation, a friend of mine (who is a nurse) suggested that I ask my doctor about propranalol. It’s a drug that keeps your heart rate from skyrocketing, so you don’t shake, or get out of breath, or sweat buckets! I was skeptical, but talked to my doctor, and she gave me the presecription easily and said she thought I’d love it. Sure enough, I tried it on the big day, and it worked like a charm!
Here are a couple articles about it:
Post # 14
I take my contacts out. I can see my notes and pp presentation, but the audience is a blur.
Post # 15
@Sunflower–girl: Lol! This is genius! If only I wore contacts…