Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Public Speaking...Terrifying, Yet Thrilling

If you're a writer, chances are somebody is eventually going to ask you to get up in front of a roomful of people and speak. That's just part of it. If you're a writer, chances are the thought of doing that makes you feel a little like this:




So last Thursday night, as I stood in front of a group of young people at my hometown library, I realized it was go time. Speak or stand there... I spoke.



And the more I spoke, the less nervous I felt. The library was excited to have me, after all. I saw four signs from the front door to the room where the event was held. One sign:



And me with the sign:





Another sign:



Have you ever had to speak in public? How do you overcome your fear?

58 comments:

  1. Glad you managed to do it! Not my favorite thing either. I've spoken in front of crowds before though.

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  2. Congrats! Was it fun to talk to your readers?

    I used to be president of a local organization, so had to speak in front of those who came to our programming once a month. I actually liked it.

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  3. I am glad it went well. Prior to grad school I felt the same way, but I had to give so many speeches i grad school that I just became super accustomed to it!

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  4. If I know what I'm talking about and I like it, I could care less. But if say like in stupid university where they gave you some stupid topic that is meaningless to you, yeah, I hate that.

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  5. the funny thing is that those who listen to the speakers usually don't see them as scared and terrified.

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  6. Congratulations Stephanie, you did well...

    I was terrified to speak in public until I took a course in public speaking with the Christopher Leadership Course in Public Speaking and it changed how I viewed myself and knowing my subject inside and out made all the difference in the world.

    Hugs,
    JB

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  7. Yeah, people who are watching the speakers generally don't know. We all assume the people in the audience are focused on us--most of the time they're thinking about themselves. It helps if I can get the audience to interact--NOT always easy with children. Especially in the 8-12 age group. They tend to be shy, so there's an art to bringing them out of their shell. Teachers who become writers are awesome at this part of it!

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  8. Good for you! Make sure those pics go in your scrapbook. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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  9. I spoke once at a poetry reading back in college and it was terrifying, lol. Not something I have any desire to do again :p

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  10. I don't get much chance for public speaking

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  11. Public speaking isn't a problem for me so long as I'm speaking about something I enjoy or something that means something to me. The minute I'm asked to do anything similar to others, I get all weird.

    Example: I stood at the microphone at a local cafe and read one of my themed poems to a room full of writers. But ask a room full of students to introduce themselves and my reaction is quite different. Classroom Introductions

    I think when they put your photo up and introduce you like they did, that's a clear indication that you (and you alone) belong there to give something special about you. It instills confidence, and that would help me feel more poised to speak.

    Notice in conferences, speakers are always introduced by someone else? :)

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  12. You are SO right, Diane. The library was extremely supportive and it makes a big difference. When a place is excited to have you, it makes you feel good and it gets their customers/patrons excited about meeting you, too.

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  13. Before we had an education co-ordinator I had to speak in front of people about credit and budgeting. We went to high schools, other agencies and we did group bankruptcies. At first I was nervous but I thought I will not let fear get the better of me. I took a few deep breathes, remembered to smile and I actually paused at first for about 6 or so seconds before the first words came out. I talked, more or less, from the hip and created sessions geared to the age and what was to be presented. It turned out that it was fun and I could engage people. Some times they were dull as dirt and other times they were good crowds. I can't change the crowds and their style but I could review how to make it more engaging or simply realize that, sometimes, they really didn't want to be there....oh well, I wouldn't let that bother me

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  14. I've been asked to speak at conventions before and the thing that saves me is the fact that the topic was something I was truly passionate about at the time.

    In fact, my Hubzam will tell you there are certain things you NEVER want to ask me about because I will go on and on and on...

    The thing that helps me is to type out an outline in advance. Then I start filling in those key points. I leave the printout laying on my desk and look at it and tweak it repeatedly; then I mentally go through the speech in my brain over and over again. Familiarity negates fear.

    When I worked like a NORMAL PERSON, I had to speak at a national event. When I arrived, I noticed that all the literature stated I was speaking on a different topics than I had been asked to speak on. Believe it or not, I tweaked it on the spot and spoke about the subject listed in their handouts.

    Crazytown...Mayor Cherdo.

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  15. Awesome advice, Cherdo. I wrote out the whole script and didn't follow it at all past the first couple of pages. I knew an outline was better but I didn't trust myself to be able to speak!

    I once was tasked with teaching "Basic PC Skills" to our entire Bureau when I worked for government. That was 100 or so people. We did it in small groups, though, and everyone was sitting at a computer, so it didn't seem as much like public speaking. Plus I was a news anchor at my college TV station. It appears my particular problem is standing in front of a roomful of people staring at me. PowerPoint may be my saving grace--they'd be looking at something besides me. If I ever have to do this at a conference, I'm totally PowerPoint-ing it!

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  16. Toastmasters is an organization that gives people a place to practice public speaking. They have chapters across the US (and internationally).

    Yvonne

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  17. Look at how great and confidant you look! <3

    I hate public speaking so I would have been terrified but it sounds like you did so well and I am sure it helps to know that all those people were there to see you, well, maybe not, that might have made me even more anxious LOL!

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  18. Yeah for you! You did it! :) Love the pictures and I am glad to hear it got easier as you talked.

    I have had to speak in public about writing on two different occasions. I found both stressful beforehand- but better as the events went on. I do feel lucky though because I have a co-author- so both times she was up there with me. That helped me A LOT.

    Congrats!

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  19. Good for you for doing so! I think it does come easier with time. I avoid public speaking at all costs :)

    I bet your presentation was well received :)

    betty

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  20. Way cool and congratulations.

    Yes, I've done a ton of public speaking over the years. I'm always nervous, but I don't let that stop me. Being prepared is the key.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  21. I always have butterflies but once I begin I settle in and all is well. Good for you!

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  22. Yay! This is exactly like my experience giving a talk at my library recently. I was so nervous, but then once I started it was fun. Congrats!

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  23. Woot! Glad you got to do some public speaking. It looks like it was a fun event.

    Public speaking terrifies me, but I'll do it. You can usually gauge my level of fear by the size of my smile. If I'm full-on grinning, I'm probably scared witless.

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  24. I refuse. Years ago, my boss asked me to give a presentation, more a training class, since I was what he called a Savant in our field. I said no. Shocking, you might think. He tried to then say it might affect my bonus. I said, you gotta go what you gotta do. (It didn't) I offered to train each person one on one. But no way in hades am I getting up in front of a room of people. Nope.

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  25. I cringe at the thought of having to do it. Yikes!

    But I'm so glad it went well for you, so awesome!

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  26. Yay for you! I HATE doing this. I always feel sick to my stomach. Everyone tells me that I never look nervous, but I'm usually sweating bullets on the inside (and the outside--I wear dark colors to camouflage). It's weird since I'm a teacher and I have to stand up in front of kids all of the time (although I don't really enjoy that either), but there's something about presenting to a group of people who don't know you...

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  27. I'm usually somewhat shy but for some odd reason I like holding a public speech. And I talked about this with people who are the centerpoint of any social event and they hate public speaking.

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  28. I learned to get over the stage fright a few years ago. Well, not entirely. I still worry that something terrible will happen while I'm speaking to a group, but so far I've fooled them. They think I actually know what I'm talking about.

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  29. Great job! Looks like you had fun, despite some initial nerves.

    I have to do a lot of public speaking in my job - go in front of a bunch of doctors. My biggest group had to be about 500 people, which actually wasn't too bad since I couldn't see them from stage.

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  30. I hate having to speak in public. But if it were for books...I think I could survive it! =) And very cute dress, btw.

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  31. I spent a good part of my career training in front of groups of people, so public speaking isn't terrifying. I do get terribly nervous before - even if it's something I've done time and time again. The more I can get my audience involved, the better. I always take a bag of silly gifts or candies to toss out to those who will speak or answer a question or offer an opinion. I used to use the image of a chocolate kiss in my notes to remind me to find some reason to get them to join in. You look VERY comfortable!

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  32. I go along with Pat Hatt on this one. If it's a subject I'm prepared to speak about, I have no fear. If it's something I have no interest in, that's different.

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  33. You look beautiful with your sign. I was in debate and forensics in high school. It doesn't bother me at all to jabber away in front of people. I'll even talk about subjects of which I have absolutely no knowledge. I considered minoring in speech in college but changed my mind. I didn't need it. So if you're nervous, go back to high school and join the debate team.

    Love,
    Janie

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  34. Congratulations. A supportive audience - and organiser - makes all the difference.
    I can speak about things I am passionate about but mostly would rather (much rather) be a wall flower.

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  35. Congrats!

    I HATE talking in public. I get so nervous.

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  36. How fun and exciting. I have to admit, speaking in front of others (when I finally publish a book) terrifies me! Glad it got better as you got going. :) That is good news!

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  37. I had to do something for my church in my teens and while there was some initial nerves I got over it because I knew I was doing something important and praising God. Best of luck Steph and rock out public speaking.

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  38. Hi Stephanie,

    You said it, my friend. And you spoke in front of an audience. Indeed, one of the most anxiety inducing things one can do.

    The more you got into it, the less the nerves. Kudos to you.

    I have done my fair share of public speaking. I will tell the audience that I'm nervous and please be patient with me. The verbalisation of our feelings is powerful and the anxiety subsided. The audience related to what I stated. We bonded, I made gentle eye contact. We laughed and smiled.

    Another ice breaker when public speaking is to tell folks to be seated like they were giving you a standing ovation :)

    Nice going, Stephanie.

    Gary

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  39. Very cool and congrats! I hope I get to experience something as "scary" as that, someday :)

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  40. Well, if you count a classroom...

    Glad it went well. I'm sure you were a hit.

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  41. Well, first off...if I were as young and beautiful as you, I would gladly stand in front of ANYone and speak....:)
    Congrats to you for being chosen to be their speaker.
    You must be smart and a good writer...so you have nothing to be nervous about.
    xo

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  42. Well, first off...if I were as young and beautiful as you, I would gladly stand in front of ANYone and speak....:)
    Congrats to you for being chosen to be their speaker.
    You must be smart and a good writer...so you have nothing to be nervous about.
    xo

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  43. Well, first off...if I were as young and beautiful as you, I would gladly stand in front of ANYone and speak....:)
    Congrats to you for being chosen to be their speaker.
    You must be smart and a good writer...so you have nothing to be nervous about.
    xo

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  44. Good for your Stephanie.

    Being an introvert, I was never comfortable talking to groups of people. But with each job that I had, it became more of a requirement. Now since I have to teach people daily, I knew that I needed to get better.

    The key for me is to be prepared. Not that I want to sound canned, but that I have done the research, have a plan, and have practiced. The more I do it, the less stressful it becomes.

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  45. Stephanie, I used to be extremely shy but I forced myself to open up .. I even talked in front of over 100 people and then I sang in front of a large group. I'm still a little nervous but I always pull it off and get comfortable ♡

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  46. It's good to hear the event went well. I'm nervous at first and then ease into it. Before I know it, time's flying.

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  47. Congratulations! Public speaking terrifies me. I've forced myself to participate in workshops that had me read in front of a group of people. I was lucky I didn't faint! It didn't help my nervousness at all.

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  48. I am so bad with public speaking because I am a natural fast talker, but I try anyways.

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  49. I do all right with small groups of readers. That is fun. Bring in a Mic, and I'm feeling queasy.


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  50. When my short film first starting going to film festivals, I had to participate in the Q&A afterwards, and I was terrified. But the people were always so nice and enthusiastic that it got easier. Still not something I look forward to, but now I don't feel like I should carry a barf bucket with me on stage. ;-)

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  51. I had to sing in public a few times (but this was when I was younger, so I wasn't that bothered) a few plays in high school (which although still nervous, totally different when you're playing a part, right?). My worse though, was my Welsh exams, and though I knew what I was saying and everything, still terrifying. Hope you had fun! :)

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  52. I used to speak at my alma mater at least once a year. I'm a bit of a ham, so I actually really like public speaking. I do get a little nervous before I go on, but I'm mostly excited.

    If you think about it, being asked to speak means people actually want to hear what you have to say. It's flattering.

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  53. Hi--back from a two week vacation and trying to catch up! I appreciate so much you keeping up with me. I feel a real pull to start writing again, and will keep you posted. As for public speaking, my husband and I used to own a Private Investigations/Security company & school and I was asked to speak to my writer's group on that subject. The title was something like "Magnum P.I. It Isn't!" :-) I spoke about how boring, mundane and un-romantic it all was compared to what you see on TV, in movies and particularly in books. Yes, I know, you're thinking I probably should have used our experiences to come up with a book, anyway, and, yes, I did start one at one time. :-) But being a PI wasn't what I would have chosen to do, and in many ways I regret it, so I didn't feel like it was "me." Still, getting back to the talk in front of the group, I had my note cards ready, I was nervous, but once I got started, I knew these people were interested in me and my subject, and I just took on a conversational tone, and went with it. I quickly relaxed. Good for you speaking at the library! Hope there is much more of that in your future!

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  54. How exciting! I've had to speak in front of people for work, but if given a choice, I'd rather work the Power Point :)

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  55. I'm sure you did well. For me, the following lowers my anxiety level: (1) Preparation (The more prepared I am, the less anxious I am), and (2)At least ten minutes of my SpirFit mental practice and prayer before the talk.

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  56. I bet you had lots of fun once you got going. I was a teacher for a short while once upon a time and I was nervous before the first class every day. It went away once I was in the thick of things.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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