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Old 03-28-2008, 01:16 AM
 
Location: NC's southern coastline
452 posts, read 2,090,243 times
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Any comments or advice on the subject of fear of public speaking, extreme anxiety, etc? You used to be able to get a college degree without taking a public speaking (oral communications) class unless that was required for your field. Now it's pretty much required of all majors at most schools PLUS many classes put emphasis on public speaking as well, by making students give oral presentations.

Some people just cannot handle giving speeches and oral presentations. Anyone suffer from an anxiety disorder? Shyness? Panic attacks?

How did you get through the oral presentations? I've known people who were so extreme, they dropped out of college just because they could not handle having to get through an oral presentation in every class. They would dread it so bad, worry so much about it, and panic from fear of humiliation. They'd fear looking like a dork, because they'd tremble, stutter, forget what they were saying, exhibit nervous ticks, sweating, and even fainting. I know others who felt this way but made it through by taking beta blockers and benzidazapenes to calm down.

I looked at going back to school but nowadays, it seems even intro to basket weaving wants you to give a presentation.

(Yeah I have stage fright, and I'm shy!) If I took enough meds to sedate my nerves away, I'd be in a coma.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:27 AM
 
252 posts, read 267,734 times
Reputation: 72
Smile Sorry BlueLily...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLily7 View Post
Any comments or advice on the subject of fear of public speaking, extreme anxiety, etc? You used to be able to get a college degree without taking a public speaking (oral communications) class unless that was required for your field. Now it's pretty much required of all majors at most schools PLUS many classes put emphasis on public speaking as well, by making students give oral presentations.

Some people just cannot handle giving speeches and oral presentations. Anyone suffer from an anxiety disorder? Shyness? Panic attacks?

How did you get through the oral presentations? I've known people who were so extreme, they dropped out of college just because they could not handle having to get through an oral presentation in every class. They would dread it so bad, worry so much about it, and panic from fear of humiliation. They'd fear looking like a dork, because they'd tremble, stutter, forget what they were saying, exhibit nervous ticks, sweating, and even fainting. I know others who felt this way but made it through by taking beta blockers and benzidazapenes to calm down.

I looked at going back to school but nowadays, it seems even intro to basket weaving wants you to give a presentation.

(Yeah I have stage fright, and I'm shy!) If I took enough meds to sedate my nerves away, I'd be in a coma.
I know exactly how you feel. Make an appt with your profs and explain your situation. Most, if not all will help you!! I Promise
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:19 AM
RH1
 
Location: Lincoln, UK
1,160 posts, read 3,845,488 times
Reputation: 566
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLily7 View Post
Any comments or advice on the subject of fear of public speaking, extreme anxiety, etc? You used to be able to get a college degree without taking a public speaking (oral communications) class unless that was required for your field. Now it's pretty much required of all majors at most schools PLUS many classes put emphasis on public speaking as well, by making students give oral presentations.

Some people just cannot handle giving speeches and oral presentations. Anyone suffer from an anxiety disorder? Shyness? Panic attacks?

How did you get through the oral presentations? I've known people who were so extreme, they dropped out of college just because they could not handle having to get through an oral presentation in every class. They would dread it so bad, worry so much about it, and panic from fear of humiliation. They'd fear looking like a dork, because they'd tremble, stutter, forget what they were saying, exhibit nervous ticks, sweating, and even fainting. I know others who felt this way but made it through by taking beta blockers and benzidazapenes to calm down.

I looked at going back to school but nowadays, it seems even intro to basket weaving wants you to give a presentation.

(Yeah I have stage fright, and I'm shy!) If I took enough meds to sedate my nerves away, I'd be in a coma.
I know how you feel - I had to do it at school and hated it. Over the last couple of years I had to run quite a few training sessions and the thought just made me want to be sick. I got heartburn to start with the day before and all day that I had to present. And I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks but I found that the actual speaking bit gave me a focus that distracted me from physical panic symptoms, so it didn't affect me in that way at all.

Generally you might actually find that once you've got started you start to feel a bit better.

Tips: know exactly what you're going to say - practice and practice. Some people say practice in front of someone you know but I don't like that.

Make sure you deliberately slow your speech down. If you're nervous you'll automatically be quieter and faster, so try to talk much slower than feels normal. Also try to raise your voice.

Take a few deep breaths first.

Smile, as long as the subject is appropriate.

Chances are if you can smile, slow down and know what you're saying, the nerves might not come across as much as you feel like they are doing.

Good luck with it!
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:48 AM
 
28,906 posts, read 45,194,930 times
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I hated it too. However, it is an extraordinarily valuable skill. I sucked it up, got better at it, and now I am constantly called upon to speak.
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:40 AM
 
240 posts, read 858,373 times
Reputation: 78
I am in the same boat. I remeber in my public speaking class I did a presentation where the class had to have their eyes closed for the beginning (I had them listen to a song) which helped me SSOO much! I always hand something out and constantly refer to it so that the eyes are on the paper. I also shake very badly so I made sure that all of my paperwork was on a clipboard so the paper was not shaking. Index cards are good - they do not shake. I remember going through my Master's degree program. It was the same people week in and week out. I clearly can recall one of the professors telling me that by the end of the program, I would be completely comfortable in front of the group. I did a powerpoint for my very last prentation (Another great option for classes requiring a presentation -nobody is looking at you) my hands were shaking so badly I was praying that nobody was looking at them. For some, it is what it is and all the practice in the world is not going to change it. BUT...you can make it through. Keep the focus of the audience off of you somehow. I have been teaching for a while now and I still get scared to death on back to school night.
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,467 posts, read 11,118,164 times
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I've had students approach me with this concern and I usually have them complete the assignment (e.g., write the speech, etc) and then present it to me in my office so they are still doing the same amount of work but without the trauma of public speaking.

I would just approach the professor on the first day of class to see if accomodations can be made. If you are in treatment for this phobia, a note would help!
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,054 posts, read 19,640,051 times
Reputation: 31734
Quite often you can give your presentation with a partner. Practice the presentation until you can do it in your sleep. Use PowerPoint or some other presentation software and distribute prepared handouts to your audience. Keeping the audience busy by focusing on handouts keeps them from staring at you as you present.
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:29 PM
 
Location: VA
549 posts, read 1,690,255 times
Reputation: 334
I can give advice on what not to do!

I had a phobia of public speaking till I learned that I can dull my senses. I replaced my anxiety with boredom. However, after about 6 years of oral presentations (high school to current [college]), finally a teacher told me that I need to stop speaking in a monotonic voice. I've been doing this for years that it just came naturally (and here I thought I spoke well). However, I don't have a phobia of speaking anymore so now I just add more expression.

A possible tip, though, throw in some jokes. I don't think I've ever done a speech without one joke. It breaks the ice and makes everyone (including yourself) seem more human. Anyway, it makes me feel at ease when the audience is laughing. If I see nobody listening, I tend to grumble "I'm so glad people are paying attention" under my breath (yet loud enough for people to hear!)
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:36 PM
 
1,572 posts, read 3,607,463 times
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In college I had social anxiety problems in addition to depression. I had a few panic attacks. It was indeed a struggle and in the speaking class, fortunately, I was allowed to speak to a smaller audience because I had an IEP with the disabilities department. Ultimately it was the depression that forced me to drop out of college, but I did obtain an AA degree.

I think alot of white, middle class and upper-middle-class kids have this problem. Our own ethnicity and culture tells us to basicly shut up and defer to our elders all the time. Not as much as in Asian countries but it is there. Plus, I had a military dad who was always running me down. Everything that went wrong was my fault.

Now days I have less social anxiety. I'm older and I think I've got a more defined self-concept. In practical terms, I'm more gruff and open to speaking my mind, even if somebody else doesn't like it. But it does make me less nervous. In the real world, people don't like quiet people necessarily, and they will walk over you if you don't make a stink occasionally. I can't say it's necessarily a healthy adaptation because I've replaced alot of my fear for the public with generalized contempt and mysanthropy, but hey, at least I'm not as nervous anymore.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:41 AM
 
4,541 posts, read 9,493,975 times
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I agree that it is an incredibly valuable skill to have. As much as I hated doing it in college, being able to overcome the fear has benefited me in many areas of life.
Rather than look for a way to avoid it, I would concentrate on how to overcome it the best you can. You'll really, really be glad you did.
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