Do you ever feel extremely nervous whenever your turn comes to give a presentation in front of the class? Yeah that feeling can be pretty frustrating; it drains so much of your energy by diverting your attention to things that don’t matter; we should rather focus on getting the job done. But fret no more because you’re covered. In a pretty viral thread, Reddit user, u/TapReview asked the community to chime in with some advice and they are definitely worth sharing with y’all.
1. About getting experience
“…I was constantly nervous in any speaking situation. It didn’t matter if it was just an informal presentation to my research group or a big talk at a conference. I stuttered and struggled through every talk.
Over the course of a few years, I did public lectures to hundreds of people, I ran a D&D game, and ended up in a corporate job where, at one point, I found myself giving a talk every day for a month.
Now, I’m completely confident in any public speaking situation. I’ll talk about basically anything in front of any group willing to listen.
I totally sympathize with anyone who finds this advice terrifying but you can’t do better than just getting experience. Find opportunities to talk in a formal context, pick small groups or topics you feel really confident in but struggle through the embarrassment until you don’t care anymore.”
2. “Pretending you don’t care”
“Pretending you don’t care: Steve Kerr the basketball coach recommends a book called The Inner Game of Tennis. Its theory is that your mind applies brakes that impede your performance (physical or other). If you pretend to be someone that is really good at a task/skill, your mind is less likely to apply those brakes. I’ve applied this to public speaking as well. Try to pretend you’re someone comfortable speaking in front of others (I like to pretend I’m the Rock – focused and having energy, just not doing the wrestling theatrics).”
3. About knowing what you’re doing
“For something that I haven’t seen posted yet. Know what you have to say is important. Tell yourself that you know what you are doing, and that other people need to hear what you have to say.
I’ve attended several research conferences, I notice the boomer aged presenters just DGAF and read directly from cards without looking up once. If it helps, it doesn’t really matter if you are a subject matter expert with several dozen peer reviewed papers or a student, I think most people get nervous speaking in front of crowds, just remind yourself that it’s okay.”
4. “…Think of it as an opportunity to get something off your chest…”
6. Gaining insurmountable control
“I just pick one person in the audience to speak to. I pretend that person asked me to explain whatever I’m talking about. It usually helps if the person is already a friend or someone I find attractive.
I find it easy to talk confidently about a particular subject to a friend.
If I choose an attractive audience member I speak like I am on a date (I annunciate more clearly, not afraid to sidetrack to smaller subjects that help explain the broader subject in turn, and I have motivation to impress them).
All of this being said, this does not mean I only make eye contact with the one person.”
7. No one’s perfect
“It helps me thinking that other people (including the audience in front of me) isn’t perfect. So why should they expect me to be so? I am doing my job to my best extent and think myself: deal with it.”