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Thread: PUBLIC SPEAKING

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    I've done lots of public speaking over the course of my life. Some of it was mandatory and job related, but I also spoke at least two times in front of the Atlanta Freethought Association. I think the reason why I lack the fear of public speaking is because I took an elective in high school in public speaking, and then in grammar school, we had to memorize a lot of poetry and recite it in front of the class. I did mess up a speech once in high school. We had to make up a myth and present it to my English class. A couple of boys made fun of my screw up, and it was a bit embarrassing, but I've been much more confident as an adult, so I no longer worry about that.


    I think your fear is extremely common, so I understand it. The best thing one can do imo, is to talk yourself up, and tell yourself that you don't give a shit about what your audience thinks. Most people can relate to a person messing up a public speech, so keep that in mind. And, I don't think you have to be witty at a wedding or funeral. Just be yourself and be sincere. My husband gave an impromptu speech at his mother's funeral. It was unrehearsed, but very emotional. The priest who gave a boring speech, didn't get any emotional reaction like my husband did. After he spoke there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. But, even if that didn't happen, I doubt anyone would have judged my husband for what he said.

    I'm actually thinking of writing a little speech to say at my mom's funeral when she dies, but I can't decide if I should to do it or not. I'd love to stand in front of her fundamentalist Christian friends and tell them what a wonderful relationship my mother and I had, despite she being a Christian and me being an atheist. The theme would be about people embracing each other despite their differences. It would be about love and forgiveness. Since she's not doing well lately, I better make up my mind. But, perhaps you starting this thread will motivate me to write down my thoughts. So, thanks for bringing up this topic, Ruby.

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    When I was in school I was painfully shy. If I had to do PS during that time, I would have had a great deal of difficulty.

    After a few years in the employment world working with adults, the shyness seemed to melt away. I had no trouble speaking in public, teaching classes, etc., after that.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

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    I agree that experience makes l the difference. So if you have a big important public speaking event, I suggest arranging yourself an earlier one of far less importance.

    I teach part time at a law school. I have had many students tell me they are nervous about standing up in court. It is a mix of public speaking anxiety and also performance anxiety in a very formal setting. They are afraid they will say the wrong thing, look weak in front of their client, embarass themselves in front of colleagues, and one was so afraid that she thought she may flip out and say something in contempt of court. My answer is always the same - moot Court. So few of these students moot (due to their anxiety) and they in particular all should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    I agree that experience makes l the difference. So if you have a big important public speaking event, I suggest arranging yourself an earlier one of far less importance.
    agreed^^

    Two things have made public speaking easier for me.

    One is practice in front of completely non-critical audiences. That is - elementary students. I give talks on various science things to first graders, third graders on a volunteer basis. They sit in rapt attention. They can't WAIT to ask you a question. They LOVE you. It doesn't matter what you say at all. it's new, its different, it's not their teacher. This gives a sound collection in your gut of multiple speaking events that are wholly positive. Also, the schools love having speakers come in, so there are lots of opportunities. I graduated to middle schoolers and high schoolers, and gained even more memories of success.

    The other is in remembering that almost everyone in the audience knows they would be nervous, too, and so, you're peers - even the high level management audience. The very few people who are not nervous about public speaking usually know they have a rare luck and they don't hold your nervousness against you anyway. So there might be only 1 single person in a whole room of 200 that is actually judgey - and you don't need their shit.


    So now when I speak in front of adults, I have a large trove of positive confident feelings in my gut as well as a front-level certainty that my audience is as human as me (and is probably glad they do not have to speak) and they will easily forgive any flubs. Which gives me confidence.

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