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How to Stop Worrying

Dealing with Rejection

Giving A Speech When You Are Shy.

At the time I never understood why, but when I was in high school I was great at speeches.   In a couple of classes we had to give a speech, sometimes the topics were given other times we were free to choose.  But either way I would do a great job.    Now you have to realise that I was at my shyest during high school.  I never spoke in class unless directly ask, and even then I would mumble something and hope they would give up and ask someone else.  But still, speeches were fine.
So even though I was incredibly shy, how come speeches were no problem?

1. I felt comfortable early.

A lot of my confidence was thanks to a teacher I had when I was 10 years old who made my class give several speeches that year.  I guess because at that point all the kids were friends and clichés had not yet been formed, giving a speech was ok, no big deal.  So later, at high school when I had to give a speech it was fine.  I didn’t panic like I did when called on in class.  Giving a speech was associated with feeling of comfort and a sense of ease.

2. I knew exactly what I was going to say.

We were required to write a speech and use note cards when giving it.  So this is what I did, after writing it out then transferring to note form and a few practices later, I had basically memorised the whole speech.  I knew exactly what I was going to say.  Unlike being called on in class, that was a panic situation because I never knew what to say.

3. Everyone was doing it.

This is best explained by the statement – safety in numbers.  Because everyone else was required to give a speech we were all in the same situation.  I was not alone, or being singled out. 

Well that’s great for me, but what about you? 

It might not be a school speech that you need to give.  Maybe it is a presentation at work, or something similar.  Either way, you can take the key tricks that helped me and use them to your advantage.

1. Work towards feeling comfortable.

If speeches or presentations fill you with fear, the best thing you can do is start to change the feeling of fear to one of comfort.  And the best way to do that is to practice in a safe environment.  As you give presentations in a relaxed and secure setting your confidence will increase and soon giving a presentation or speech will be associated with feelings of comfort. 

2. Plan.

You don’t need to go as far as I did and memorise the presentation.  But know what you are going to say, write a few notes if you need to.  Planning what you are going to say takes away a lot of the uncertainly and can do wonders for helping you feel more relaxed.

3. Be a team member.

Giving a work presentation is a lot like a school speech because people understand that it’s not an easy thing to do, so are on your side wanting you to succeed.   Work presentations where several people take turns presenting mean you are working as a team.  The focus is not on you as a single person, but on the team. 

Comments

Comment from Bird
Time November 8, 2007 at 3:17 am

I was once handed a microphone on stage and asked to say something to a large crowd. I hadn’t been expecting to have to say anything, and I’d never made a speech in my life. I froze, my knees knocked and everything just went white – I thought I would faint! Then I thought about how important the issue was and I just started talking – it was so important to me that I forgot my own embarrassment. The issue was bigger than me. I think that losing yourself in the subject matter will carry you through anything because you are not conscious of your own discomfort. I got a cheer! It was the most empowering thing I have ever done.

Pingback from How I went from praying the teacher wouldn’t call on me to starting a debate. | don’t be shy
Time November 9, 2007 at 5:21 am

[...] called on in class and having to answer a question filled me with panic.  With the exception of giving speeches, I did not talk in [...]

Comment from Anthony Lapaglia
Time November 21, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Hello…Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts ! it was a great Wednesday

Comment from Anthony Lapaglia
Time November 21, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Hey!…I Googled for lapaglia, but found your page about A Speech When You Are Shy | don’t be shy…and have to say thanks. nice read.

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