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What are some ways I can be better at speaking confidently?

Every time I get called on in class or I have to present to the whole class I get really nervous, ESPECIALLY if I have to stand up when I'm doing it!! I tried to speak at home in the mirror to practice because my teacher suggested it but it feels silly. Some of the other students are more proud when they speak in the class even if theyre making things up. Did you ever feel the same and what can I do to become more confident with speaking in front of the whole class? #public-speaking #personal-development #speech-language #confidence #speaking


You can practice at home in front of your mirror. Lana J.

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Punit’s Answer

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Contrary to what others have suggested, I find that practice is only helpful in memorizing lines and how you'll present but it won't prepare you for the unexpected, like a technical glitch or an unexpected question, which is actually what causes the nervousness! I've found that it's most helpful to approach all speaking opportunities with blind confidence. No matter what happens tell yourself you're going to rock it and that nothing else matters. Whenever you stumble, turn it into a laugh or a joke, it helps entertain the audience and get them more engaged around what you're presenting! If you're practicing, train yourself by imagining different scenarios where you are surprised by something and think out how you would respond to that situation. One example would be a technical glitch and handling it by planning a joke jokes about how technology never quite seems to work when you need it to.


What will matter most is what you presented and how you handled any challenges that came about. Don't be afraid of judgement because you're the rockstar on stage. I've presented in front of small groups less than 10, and groups larger than 500 with an additional livestreaming going on and what keeps me confident is that I have the mic and I have the ability to entertain while informing everyone who's listening.


Good luck!


That's brilliant advice, I've done that myself. Making people laugh is one big thing that helped me get better at presentations, and sometimes even made me look forward to it like I was a stand up comedian :p Grace Coote

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Rachael’s Answer

You could join the speech and drama club at your high school. The only thing that makes it easier is practice! Instead of practicing in front of a mirror, you could practice in front of coaches and other students who are interested in improving and enjoying public speaking. If that makes you nervous, try reading allowed or practicing with materials that are interesting to you instead of just your school assignments. At least that way you are having more fun! You could also look out into the community to see if you have a local Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters in a society to practice professional speaking. You could go to some meetings to pick-up tips and maybe even practice in front of others who are trying to improve their public speaking skills.


Hi! I wanted to share a video that has truly helped me become more confident when speaking in crowds.Like you, I was frequently nervous speaking in public. Practice is essential, but try power posing. Hope this helps and the video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc Annie Jean-Baptiste

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Scott’s Answer

Hang in there, Eddie - I know how you feel. One thing that can help a little is to practice in front of your friends or family - anyone that will let you. It's cool to just be honest with someone you trust and say "Hey, I'm a little nervous about this speech I need to give later - would it be cool if I practiced with you before I go up in front of everyone?". I do this at work all the time when I have a presentation to give. I usually grab a friend or two and do a practice run in front of them. Hearing what they have to say will give you some things to work on and make better, which will make you more confident. Also, just having the practice of running through it once or twice before makes it so that you know the material better and you feel better about presenting it. Remember - even professional actors practice! Anyone would be nervous doing a presentation for the first time in front of an audience.


Make sure that by the time you get to your target audience, it isn't your first time doing your speech!


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Jonathan’s Answer

Picture yourself riding a roller coaster and the feelings that go along with those moments before you take off. Adrenaline is rushing, your hands are shaking, butterflies in your stomach, and you start to regret sitting in the front row!


Although practice is the best way to improve, my favorite trick to calm nerves is to verbally tell myself that those are not nerves but feelings of excitement. The same adrenaline rush that scares you before a roller coaster, is what scares you before speaking in public. Next time you are about to speak in class and feel those butterflies, just tell yourself that this is exciting and you are ready to go!


I know this works because I used to be afraid to speak in front of others and now I speak in front of crowds on a daily basis. You don't have to get rid of your nerves.... you just need to change how you interpret those jittery feelings.


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Mia’s Answer

First you must always believe in yourself. People can be critical whether you do something well or not. Speak words of confidence to yourself and trust your judgment. If you have done the necessary prep work i.e. studying the material, research, time and effort into the project, assignment or whatever it might be then do not worry. It is normal to have the "butterflies" or nervousness if not both. That will remind you to stay focus and not to become arrogant or over confident. Trust and believe in yourself!


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Grace’s Answer

Hi Eddie, when I was a student (which wasn't very long ago btw) I had to do quite a few presentations in class. In the beginning I was very nervous and it showed in my voice and shaking hands, which only made it worse! But over time I improved, and I think this is something that you should keep in mind. The experience you're having now of speaking in front of the class is brilliant, preparing you for whatever career you might have ahead of you, so don't expect to be an expert just yet. Instead try not to get ahead of yourself, don't expect too much of yourself either! Each time you do this you get a little bit more used to standing up to speak in public, even if it doesn't feel like it.


Here's my specific advice: first, remember that when you speak in class, you're speaking to students who are in the exact same position than you - they are your equals. You don't need to impress them and you don't need to worry about what they think. They aren't judges or interviewers, so keep that in mind and it will help you relax.
Second, practising in front of the mirror is not silly AT ALL! It's a great way to practice, and an even better way is to use members of your family as guinea pigs. Practice your talks in front of one or more members of your family and you'll feel more prepared for speaking in front of people, as well as having a better idea of how you will feel when you do the talk in front of others.
Third, and most importantly, know what it is you're talking about. If you have confidence in what you're saying, and if you know it inside and out, you don't have anything to worry about. Now I don't mean know what you're saying word for word. What I mean is know the concept, the general idea or message of what you're saying. You don't have to repeat something you've prepared word for word, you just have to get the message across. Revising a speech or similar is a bad idea, because if you forget your words, you might freeze up and panic. Prepare your topic, prepare your points, but don't worry about the exact wording. As someone has already mentioned, using cards with key words for each point you make is a brilliant tool, and only takes a quick glance down to jog your memory and keep you going.


Don't worry, you have nothing to be nervous about when you speak in public. They're just people, don't forget that! Imagine you're speaking to a friend about something, and then extend the concept to each person in the room. Either way, you will get better over time, and the fact that you've posted here shows you really want to, so if you want it enough you can do it (as cheesy as that sounds). Good luck!


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Joe’s Answer

Practice makes perfect. Its always good to practice your speech on friends and family who will be objective and give solid feedback. It also helps to use a recording voice, and recite your words to be played back later. This helps you hear your tempo and often times will help determine areas of redundancy.


I often write out my speech, and then cut it in half. This helps drill down to the main points, you can always add on a particular topic if you find that a specific area gets a stronger response from your audience.


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Geoffrey’s Answer

Great advice all around from Rachel, Jonathan and Punit.


Practicing your speech / presentation at home, looking for additional opportunities to speak in public and having confidence in yourself ('act as if' / 'fake it til you make it') will definitely help.


Somewhat random question for you, but have you seen the Google Nexus 7 Ad where the student is preparing for a speech in class (http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7qCq/google-nexus-7-speech)?


The student in that commercial is a good example - he practices at home, uses online resources to gather tips / tricks and researches (watches) famous speakers to learn from them. If you are looking to be inspired by examples of strong public speakers, I'd recommend checking out the TED Talks website (http://www.ted.com/talks)...lots of great examples there.


One last piece of advice, I'd also recommend that, when preparing for your speech / presentation, don't try to memorize every line word-for-word. Rather, have note cards with you that outline (bullet points) the main messages that you want to deliver, or the few key lines that you want to say in each section of your speech / presentation. That way, you can spend more time looking up at the audience, sounding more natural, as opposed to reading your speech from a sheet of paper in front of the class...which can make you sound a bit monotone (it's also not as interesting for those listening to you). If you know the subject matter, if you've practiced several times and know the main points you want to make, you'll be well on your way to a successful speech.


Hope this helps!


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Mario’s Answer

Confidence is an inside out process. It comes from within! It takes practice within you! Breathing deep is essential and pausing is crucial. Pausing allows thought!


Small bits of confidence builders.
Start giving presentations to one person. Then two and increase it! Confidence is built from within!


The eaiest two ways to practice.
1. Film your self with a cell phone giving a speech.
2. Take an acting class.



  1. Think of a good speech.

  2. Choose an audience.

  3. Research your topic.

  4. Write the speech.

  5. Rehearse in front of a camera.

  6. Rehearsing in front of two people.

  7. Rehearsing in front of many!


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Jonas L.’s Answer

Very simple steps to becoming a better public speaker: know your audience (people need to know you value them and that you have something valuable for them), define and expand your bandwidth (read everything to diversify your information base, watch public speakers, find a mentor), research, write, and publish findings (blog).


Volunteer somewhere you can talk to small groups. I learned public speaking through rapping, coaching, and managing volunteers.


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Caroline’s Answer

Just remember you know yourself better than anyone. Everyone should have confidence especially when you are really into something like a new game a new discovery and you want to keep talking about it you are confident. When unsure of something is usually when someone begins to feel unconfident because it is something new but look at it as a new experience anyone can learn anything if you want to.


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Jonah’s Answer

Hi Eddie,


The answers here have some great stuff already, so not sure how much else I can add! But one thing I would encourage you to remember is this: even the best presenters get nervous! If you're nervous, it means that you really care about the presentation you're about to give. One tip I might add is to record yourself giving the presentation. Listen or watch it and see what your reaction is, so that you can make adjustments as needed.


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NA’s Answer

Hello Eddie,


I would strongly recommend taking advantage of any public speaking and performing opportunities available to you. Someone in this thread mentioned joining the Drama class, which can help with being more natural in terms of improv, but you can also look into a local toastmasters club, that can help specifically with public speaking and presenting portion. If you don't have a toastmasters club at your school or your community, why not be the one to start one? If you are also into poetry or music, talk with your events team about upcoming poetry slams or talent shows, and practice your craft with your peers. Best of luck.


-Christian Ramos


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Ines’s Answer

I get nervous, too. It's all about being prepared. I do my best when 1) I feel like I know my stuff, 2) I've written down what I want to say, and 3) I've practiced, practiced, practiced. When you're in class, take a moment to do some PREP: paraphrase the question, pause then give your Position (1 sentence), give the Reason for your position (2-3 sentences), state your Evidence (using data or an example), then restate your Position.


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Vandana’s Answer

Simple formula:
1. Prepare / Memorize a 3 mins speech. (Start with a startling fact and end with a quote)
2. Deliver it to 17 different audience groups


The 18th delivery is the real confident YOU!


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Kate’s Answer

When you’re in class, say something within the first few minutes to get used to the sound of your voice. Usually the pressure to speak builds the longer you wait to say something, so saying something right away, even something small, gets this initial nervousness out of the way. It could even be just saying hello to your classmates when you walk in the room. If you have a presentation, practice it so many times that you could give it without notes. You can do this on your own out loud or in front of a family member or close friend. If you find your voice is shaky, try increasing your volume. A louder voice sounds more confident. I would recommend signing up for a local storytelling, improv or drama class to build your public-speaking skills in a fun, lighthearted way. You can also watch Ted Talks on YouTube and emulate the speakers you like. Hope this helps!

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Anandan’s Answer

Keep it simple, understand the subject that has to be presented and practice and do a dry run of the presentation and relax before presentation.
And Go for it. Even any mistakes happens, keep moving with your presentation and bring to closure.

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Rickey’s Answer

Hey Eddie,

Don't get down about your feeling for public speaking as everyone has had those same feelings when they have to do speeches.
I've found that practicing in an empty room and imagining my audience is the best way for me to practice and I've really gotten great results from doing this. First, it forces me to practice my speech a few times so that when I get up in front of people, I feel more confident and my speech is more natural when I'm ready to deliver the speech.

Also, it helps a lot when you know the material you're speaking about because it gives you a natural confidence in knowing your subject matter.

Lastly, I always seem to do better when expect to do well before I give speeches because I've found that when I expect the best I usually get it and when I expect the worst, then sometimes I get that too.

So practice a few times until you feel good about your speech, stay positive and expect to do well because you can!


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Aaron’s Answer

Hey Eddie,
Don't sweat it - many professionals get nervous when public speaking - I still do. By far the biggest help for me was ToastMasters (http://www.toastmasters.org/). Find yourself a nearby ToastMasters club and stick to it. There's a process so trust the process.


Apart from that, it's all about practice. The more often you find yourself in front of a crowd, the more comfortable you'll be. Some people say to memorize your lines word for word, some people say remember only key words - but that's all secondary to feeling comfortable vocalizing in front of crowds. Also, pay attention to how your body reacts once you're in front of people (warmth in your face, pressure in your chest, etc). Notice it, but don't react to it by getting more nervous. So many people let their physiological reaction get the best of them and it's a vicious cycle. Just push through that.


Best of luck,
Aaron


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Rickey’s Answer

Hey Eddie,

Don't get down about your feeling for public speaking as everyone has had those same feelings when they have to do speeches.
I've found that practicing in an empty room and imagining my audience is the best way for me to practice and I've really gotten great results from doing this. First, it forces me to practice my speech a few times so that when I get up in front of people, I feel more confident and my speech is more natural when I'm ready to deliver the speech.

Also, it helps a lot when you know the material you're speaking about because it gives you a natural confidence in knowing your subject matter.

Lastly, I always seem to do better when expect to do well before I give speeches because I've found that when I expect the best I usually get it and when I expect the worst, then sometimes I get that too.

So practice a few times until you feel good about your speech, stay positive and expect to do well because you can!


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Neil’s Answer

Does your school have a forensics (speech and debate) team? I joined mine and the constant practice eventually makes you a very confident speaker! If not, take every opportunity you can to stand up and speak in front of people.


I think part of the reason people get nervous when speaking is that it's a rare occasion, so it stands out in memory. If you practice constantly, every new opportunity becomes just another of many experiences speaking publicly, and the fear response goes away. If you get really good at it, it can even become an experience that you look forward to, like a chance to show off your skill. Long story short, practice!


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Gaurav’s Answer

Eddie,


Here are a few simple tips that might help:
1. Smile
2. Use hand gestures while speaking
3. Focus on speaking slower


People often mirror the emotions of those they are interacting with. Therefore, if you are smiling it is more likely that those you speak to will smile back. This will always boost confidence as I am sure you find it easier to speak to people who are smiling at you.


Hand gestures help take the focus off your eyes and onto your hands. This will help when you feel too many people are looking directly into your eyes.


Speaking slower is extremely important because it allows you time to think and makes you sound clearer.


There are many more things you can do but I would start with these 3 and see how they work for you!


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Loni’s Answer

I still struggle with this. One of the things that has helped me is just to talk to people more openly in general. When you are recess or hanging out with your friends try to be the one who strikes up a conversation. When you are in public make it a point to say hello to people you make eye contact with. Working on being more social will help you be comfortable in your own skin in front of an audience. Good Luck!


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Sergio’s Answer

Hello,


I would suggest taking a public speaking course at a community college or at your university. This will force you to speak in front of a audience and work through any issues you are having.


Practice makes perfect, do as much research and learn as much as you can in order to gain more confidence.


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Gloria’s Answer

I used to get really nervous in front of groups too. I think the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll become with it. Practice is good, but make sure you're practicing in front of other people! Just be confident that you know the material, take a deep breath, and respond with what you know. For presentations or anything where you have to prepare a speech in advance, I would recommend listing out bullet points of key items you want to talk about rather than trying to memorize something word for word. That way your speech flows more naturally and you have fewer things to remember.


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Shreya’s Answer

I agree with the other comments about Speech & Debate Club or Toastmasters. I used to be really nervous about public speaking but I am a lot more comfortable now. It's just a matter of practice. The more you do it, the less nervous you will be. Or at least, you'll learn to ignore the fear.


The nice thing about Toastmasters is that it's such a friendly environment. Everyone is there to learn, no matter what their level of expertise. Nobody judges you for messing up. Everyone is encouraging and helpful.


The most important thing is to take the pressure off yourself. Every time you go up to speak, just remind yourself that you don't have to be perfect. Even if you mess up, it's okay. Because every time you do it, you're slowly but surely getting better.


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Clark’s Answer

I would highly suggest joining an organization such as Toastmasters. There are local chapters all over the place. The best way to get better at speaking is to practice.


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Prashanth’s Answer

You can join Toastmasters. They are a group whose mission is to help people become better speakers and communicators. I'll be honest with you. You maybe be very good at what you do, but you cant speak about it well unless you have spent a good amount of time and thought into figuring out what you are going to say. Steve Jobs looked so natural and flawless in his presentations... But if often took him days/weeks of practice to get it just right.
So practice well. It seems so easy when others do it, but it doesnt come so easy.


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