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Old 03-11-2013, 02:50 PM
Status: "My eyes are rolled back so far I can see my brain." (set 11 days ago)
Location: Here.
13,374 posts, read 11,879,321 times
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I would consider a person to have an abnormality if they weren't nervous speaking in front of a large crowd, especially the first few times. Look at your nervousness as a benefit: it is your minds way of ensuring that you will prepare yourself to say something meaningful.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:15 PM
Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by judd2401 View Post
OK Equal-OPP, here goes

Some people who lose their voice, sweat, shake, etc when they need to give a talk take a medication called Propranolol [Inderal], it is not a sedative, non-addictive and it won't take away anxiety but it reduces the symptoms I mentioned above because it's partially blocks down the part of the nervous system that causes this, you would have to see your doctor and get a prescription, this medication is widely used not only by speakers but actors also. It will not take away your anxiety.

More importantly is preparation. You should have an outline to follow when you speak, it needs to be simple with bullet points only, something you can look down to if you lose your train of thought to pick it back up. Your talk should be rehearsed OUTLOUD over and over again, you can do it in the mirror which is best because you get used to being the speaker, you will find out very quickly where you get stuck during your presentation and can work in those areas. KNOW YOUR MATERIAL [especially talks on politics] , so that you can talk off your bullet points, and can answer questions at the end/during your talk from the audience. If you simply memorize a talk, it will be boring and the audience will catch on very quickly you don't have any knowledge of the subject. I can almost guarantee that this will help you. Famous TV celebs like "Dr. Phil" uses this method. If you ever notice, most TV talk celebs have cards in their hand, and these cards contain "talking points" or "bullet points", they are simple large print bold subject headers that you can easily see and pick your talk up if you stall. There is nothing wrong with looking down at your cards, but make sure you look back up to the audience. You don't have to look people in the eye, just cast your gaze out into the audience and look at peoples hair, their noses, their neck, but avoid eye contact, that can promote freezing but if you freeze, look back down at your cards to pick it back up. When you worry about all the mistakes you're going to make, most of that will be irrational, especially is you prepare like I've suggested above, and you can tell yourself that these are normal worries. Once you get started, if you know your material well, it will be auto-pilot and you'll whiz right through it, don't talk too fast, pause at times, have a bottle of water there if your throat gets dry and you need a drink, project your voice, don't talk to the floor, and you'll do just fine. I have a lecture series I have been giving for years that gets revamped every year, and every time I give the same lecture, it's different, because I'm ad libbing off the talking points as opposed to reading off slides or off copy I'm holding in my hand. I work off power point slide shows so I don't carry cards. Let me know if any of this makes sense, and how you make out. The more you do it, the better it will get. Injecting humor along the way, if possible, is also a big plus.
excellent post

I also get very nervous even if I'm speaking in front of a group of 20 kids. I just get really worried that I'll lose my train of thought and then struggle to find the right word to properly recover and move on. I see people talk on TV and they never (or rarely) have a moment in which they pause for an extended period of time and forget what they're going to say. Plus, as the OP said, I don't want the audience to know I'm nervous, but trying to not become nervous and thus actively thinking about the feeling of being nervous is just a self-fulfilling prophecy. My legs start to shake and my voice gets shaky and dry.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:43 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
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I think the advice about Inderal is good. Performers use it to take the edge off when they perform.

I want to mention a small thing. I have noticed that I experience anxiety before doing a task I don't want to do, particularly if I have had several cups of coffee beforehand. The caffeine seems to enhance the anxiety. So, I recommend having caffeine in moderation before the speech.

Others here have good advice too. Good luck to you.
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