Saturday, October 18, 2008

Public Speaking FREAKS Me Out

Which is exactly why I thought it'd be a great idea to participate on the alumni panel for my grad school's info session this afternoon. We're supposed to share our experiences during and after participating in the program and prospective students will be able to ask us questions afterwards.

Can someone please tell me what on Earth was I thinking?? I can't speak in front of three people let alone 15! (Which is exactly why I became a writer.) Sure I thought, "This would be a wonderful opportunity to break out of my shell," but the last time I thought that a strange guy appeared in front of my building ;)

This is pretty much the thought process when I have something I want to say (and it has not changed at all since my high school days):

"Hmm, I have this sorta awesome idea I've been thinking about...Eh, I'll just wait til everybody stops talking and then I'll jump in...Eeeps! Now it's way too quiet. I can't say anything now. Maybe later...Man, just go for it! Nobody else seems to have a problem talking, do they? No. So just say it...But maybe it's a stupid idea anyway. It'll never fly...Yipes! Let me look away so they don't ask me what I think...OMG!! That's what I was gonna say! Of course it's a great idea! Argh..."
Seriously, every single time.

I know the only way to get better at public speaking is by...speaking in public, but I just wish the whole process wasn't so nerve wracking for me.

Wish me luck?

UPDATE: Ok, I'm still alive guys! Luckily there was a classmate of mine as one of the six panelists and he pretty much summed up what we went through very well. Which is good because I fleeewww through my experience. Fleeeewww! And there wasn't anybody there interested in our program in particular. We just sat at a long table up front and there were less than ten students at the session. Hooray! I'd consider this a success, no? (Oh and we got a free t-shirt- hollerations!)



  1. Public speaking can be soooo scary. You'll do great, though. Just remember to keep breathing and everything will be fine. I came over to welcome you to the SITStahood!!

  2. Thanks so much Heather! Yes, let's hope I don't pass out, lol. I'm sure it'll be fine- after it's all over!

    I checked out your blog last night too :)

  3. OH CRAP...I do not envy you. I admire you for trying to do it...but I get so scared and sweaty and stupid when I have to speak in public. I hope you blow them away and feel all confident and happy the whole time! Your writing is really great...very smooth and easy to read. Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day. I've really enjoyed meeting all the new people!

  4. Yeah, I get the exact same way too and my voice goes up a whole octave and I talk super fast. Such a wonderful feeling really *rolls eyes*

    And thanks for the compliment! hmm, maybe I should change the blog's name to Smooth as Butter? Or Easy as Pie?

  5. Good luck! I can't say I understand, because I'm a ham, lol, but I can sympathize! You'll do great! But don't really imagine people in their underwear...that's just distracting!

  6. I'm a horrible public speaker as well, don't worry.
    My hands shake tremendously when I do it

  7. Omg. Totally good luck - I hate talking in fron of people I don't know and I relax with them only after we've eaten a meal together or chatted for a bit generally.

    This year I decided it would be a good idea for me to go up for election for school council and make myself do a speech! I was totally scared beforeheand but at the last minute someone dropped out making me the winner without me even having to say anything!

    Lucky me! You'll do great- :)

  8. Colby- I seriously envy people like you who can stay calm and collected when talking in front of people. How do you do it? Is it basically having an "I don't care what you think of me right now" mentality? Because my problem is I'm scared of looking like a fool.

    Franco- Mine too! I was pouring myself some water into a glass and I was hoping no one would notice my hands. So I tried to look all chill, leaning back and pouring my water when in my head all I'm thinking is "Don't spill it!!" and concentrating mad hard.

    Jess- It also takes me a super long time to feel comfy around certain people and even then all that flies out the window when I'm in a professional setting. I really need to practice this because when I'm in a meeting I seriously need to contribute more. This shyness is not going to get me anywhere.

    And that was so brave of you to put yourself out there like that! In grad school everyone had to make this presentation for class and I was about to die the day it was my turn. Luckily, after months of these presentations (and the day it was my turn), the prof decided to stop doing them because they were taking up too much class time. I obviously could not agree more!

    Heidi- I'm still standing :) And thanks so much for the follow!! Yay!

  9. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I fear I must sew you for false advertising, because I think the title of your blog is miss leading. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.

    I do a bit of public speaking myself. It becomes an addiction. So, watch out!!

  10. Hahaha!! No really, I AM dry. And completely deadpan and sarcastic to boot :)

    And the last thing I think I need to worry about is becoming addicted to public speaking. Aack! I do not like being in the limelight at all (unless I can be in the limelight and stay behind the scenes like I do here).

  11. Public Speaking is the # 1 Fear of many people.

    Check out this site for some great and helpful information.

  12. St. Louis- Hi and welcome! Thanks so much for the link :)

  13. I am glad everything worked out for you! I am freaking out here in my corner of the world as well! I go to college at night and I am taking speech class this semester. I saved it to one of my last classes I need to graduate, because it is my greatest fear! We have our first speech this Thursday so fingers crossed I don't faint, get sick or have a panic attack! LOL! How is that for positive thinking! :)

    BTW to answer your question about ARod on my blog. I used to think he was cute, but after seeing him in real life several times he seems way to stuck on himself! That is not cute!

  14. Ugh, Joy isn't it the worst?? Apparently they say practicing what you're going to say helps, but I that's a load of hooey. It's still scary when you're standing up there and everyone's there...waiting...on you. Ack. Sorry I'm probably not helping any, but know that you'll survive it and you'll be soooo happy once you realize it's over and are still alive. I'd love it if you came back here and let me know how your speech went. And P.S. I totally would've found some way to get out of that class.

    Good luck!!

    And I agree, cockiness does not a sexy man make :)

  15. Hey Dorkys! Just wanted to update and tell you I made it out alive! :) The speech went great! I made an A and didn't faint, turn red or anything else to make myself look like a fool!

    BTW I hope you have a great vacation!

  16. joy, Congrats!! So glad you did very well :)

  17. The important thing is that you did it! Here are some tips:

    1) Break the ice EARLY, say something right off the bat. Why? Topics are typically broader and easier in the beginning and, as you've pointed out - ideas get "taken" as time progresses. In addition, once you get used to hearing your own voice, it becomes easier to do it again.

    2) If you feel like it's difficult to "jump in". Work off of someone else's comment. For example: "I think John made a great point that . . . . and I agree with him that . . . . I'd just like to add (insert your idea). This does two things: a) it transitions you into the convo; b) It makes the other person "John" feel great about his comment.

    Hope this helps.

    For more tips visit our public speaking blog:


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