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  1. #1
    kc1895's Avatar KFC Hipster
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    Thoughts on Public Speaking

    I've been practicing public speaking at a club for a while now. Although I'm still nervous when I speak in front of an audience, its not nearly as bad as when I first started. (I almost had a panic attack with my first speech.) Here are some things about public speaking that became more obvious to me:

    -Public speaking is a monologue where you express a continuous train of thought without any response from the audience.
    -You talk to an audience the same way you talk to a few people.
    -Proper body language during a speech is not natural and must be learned and practiced.
    -Engagement with the audience can make or break your speech, regardless of your content.

    Of course its easier said than done! I used to think that public speaking was 95% mental, and 5% physical. But I've learned that proper movements and body language accounts for a large part of your speech as well- more like 60% mental, and 40% physical. I've come a VERY long ways from where I was (avoiding and contemplating suicide) over making speeches. But I encourage everyone to join a speaking class or club like Toastmasters, that would allow you to gain the confidence and learn the proper techniques as well.

    If I can do it, so can you!

  2. #2
    CaduceusGUILT's Avatar
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    I'm glad Toastmasters is working out for you! I am also a firm believer that "exposure" to anxiety-provoking situations helps kickstart our road to recovery. It can be very tough at first, like it was with you, but in the long run things definitely start to improve.

  3. #3
    Monroe's Avatar
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    I had taken a required Speech course last year for my college. All my time in school, public speaking terrified me and I would avoid it at all costs, even getting suicidal sometimes because I simply couldn't do them. My SA was so severe, so I was beyond nervous taking the Speech course. I ended up going through a manic phase at the time though (Bipolar), and that made me extremely lucky, as in mania I don't have SA, I actually go the opposite and become extroverted. That's not to say that I wasn't freaking out about it, but it gave me a chance to notice things and learn things about public speaking without suffering too much panic.

    I haven't had to do a speech since that class, so I'm not sure how what I learned would carry over now that I'm back to my socially anxious self. How I got through it was becoming as knowledgeable about my topic as possible, so that the information would flow out of me instead of me having to try to "remember" it. I practiced my speech over and over, so that I didn't have to glance at my note cards that frequently. As you said, the body movements and trying to engage the audience is a huge part of it. So, after I got my speech down and was confident in my statements - that let me focus more on trying to engage the audience. I did that by making eye contact with a few people here and there, smiling a lot, and trying my best to look calm and comfortable up there. Of course it's not easy to look comfortable or confident..

  4. #4
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    Public speaking terrifies me.

    I remember when I took a public speaking class two years ago, I was completely miserable. It was required for my major, but I did really poorly (but still scraped a C) in most of it, because I was unable to speak properly. I would get up there and blubber.

    The few times I was able to give a proper speech was when I was talking about something I was passionate about, and didn't have to rely on cue cards. The two speeches I gave on music, for example. The speech I gave on Cincinnati, however, was awful, and I almost wet myself trying to get through the anxiety.

  5. #5
    Koalafan's Avatar Socially inept Koala
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    It is extremely odd that my speech class in college is actually one of my more memorable and fun classes...not for the speeches but just because the people in it where extremely nice and comforting

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