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Trouble talking

RISL
Community Member
Hi everyone. I was just wondering if anyone else has difficulties talking in front of others? I get so nervous I muck up my speech and then that makes me more nervous. Does anyone have any advice? Thankyou
8 Replies 8

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Yes I have some ideas mainly ones my introverted wife has benefited from.

  • Ask questions. People loved answering questions about themselves. Their work, family, car etc just stand clear of religion, politics and personal topics.
  • Short statements. People talking about weather. "It was humid yesterday ". 4 words. "I want to travel" people will respond.
  • Try approaching people alone, one person is easier to manage
  • Admit deficiencies. If you stumble in dpeech "sorry I can't express this easily, anyone know what I'm trying to say"
  • Seek out courses that can help.
  • Self praise helps. Instead of feeling bad, praise yourself for trying

I hope that helps.

TonyWK

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi RISL,

I understand that its hard to speak in front of others sometimes especially if its a speech.

One piece of advice would be to practice how to remain calm, if you can do this then you can tap into it anytime you need.

Practice meditation ( this will teach you to be grounded and calm in the moment),

Practice slowing down your breathing.

Practice putting your attention on your breathe when your mind wonders bring your attention back to your breath.

The more calmer we are the more clarity we have.

This all takes practice, after practicing next times you do a speech think back to your calm place when you begin to panic.

After practice it will be there.

Guest_342
Community Member
I like Tony's point about 'admitting deficiencies'. It can be useful to start by saying to the group something like, "I'm a bit nervous", "Public speaking isn't the easiest thing for me, so thanks in advance for your understanding". I think you'd find that the group would be so understanding and perhaps even more warm/welcoming after hearing this very human side to you. After that, perhaps the pressure on you will be much less.

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi RISL,

I think you need to identify, it's because of lack of skills or confidence.

If it's confidence issue and you need to rebuild it, you can try to do it one small step at a time. For example, close your door and try to make a speech in front of the mirror. Then try to make speech in front of your parents of a few friends. Then in front of a very small group of people......

If it's skill issue you can consider relative trainings.

In either case, don't rush, don't put pressure on yourself, and don't give up. Every little progress is worth celebrating.

Mark

Isabella_
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello there

I hope you can take comfort in knowing that even the most seemingly confident people can really struggle with public speaking. Your adrenaline gets high, anxiety starts and your body enters fight or flight mode, your voice shakes, hands tremble, eyes blur. It's a very physical feeling.

I've learned about something called the 'illusion of transparency' which a lot of people feel during public speaking. It's a phenomenon where you believe that the people you're speaking to can tell how anxious you're feeling, can read what you're thinking, which makes your anxiety much worse. In reality, it's an illusion, and 99% of the time, people really don't notice the anxiety you're feeling. Fumbling a line can occur naturally, even politicians do it, it's not necessarily an indicator to others that you're very anxious.

For me, learning about this phenomenon gave me reassurance that indeed it's an irrational thought to believe that people can read your feelings and thoughts, and it's amazing how truely you believe it in the moment. It's easy to feel like our anxiety and nerves are very obvious, and other people are judging us for it. I hope you find peace in knowing that it really isn't as obvious as you may think it is, and challenging that belief may help you to relax a bit more.

I think all in all, depending on the person, speaking and presenting to a crowd it naturally daunting. We care about our presentation, how we come across, what people think of us. The others have given some amazing advice about how to relax yourself, which I've found to be very helpful. I think it does come down to practice, focusing on the people you're speaking to, rather than yourself and what they think of you. It's helped me to realise that I do take interest in other people, and that should be the main thing I focus on, not myself. Sometimes it's easier to put yourself in the position of the listener in the beginning, and you may find it's easier to share about yourself afterwards.

That was a bit of a ramble, I hope I made some sense and maybe helped you in some way.

It's a skill ultimately that you want to improve at, and I have full faith that you'll get there. People care and value your perspective more than you may realise, and I hope you're reassured that your sharing with others is well received, and that your confidence will get better.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi RISL

Something a little outside the square that suddenly comes to mind involves exercising the natural chameleon in you. While a lot of people don't necessarily realise they're acting differently in front of others, in relation to how they normally behave, consciously channeling various aspects of who we are could be one way to practice talking with people.

A few examples that come to mind: Channeling the natural 'detective' in you, you might decide to see if you can detect the nature of a particular person, just out of sheer curiosity. A conversation might begin with you asking someone 'What's your greatest passion?' or 'What do you love doing in your free time?'. If they answer with something along the lines of 'I love getting into nature', you might further investigate whether they're an all 'round natural or nature based person. Maybe you could channel the 'psychologist' in you. Someone might throw you a cue like 'Gee it's noisy in here. I can't stand the noise'. You might question 'How does the noise lead you to feel?'. If they say 'Anxious', could be a further cue to discuss the challenges that come with anxiety. You might find you relate well to each other. If you're a bit of an empath, you might decide to channel the natural 'feeler' in you, seeing if you can get a feel for the emotion/s of the person you're facing. This is also a good way to get a feel for the best person to vibe with in a room. If you're able to get a feel for the room you're in, you could try sensing if someone in it needs you to talk to them or emapthise with them, if they appear a bit down, for example. Allowing yourself to naturally be drawn to the best person to talk with is an option.

Being a shy person, I find the easiest people to talk to are either the most wonderful or the most engaging. With wonderful people being so full of wonder, they'll lead people to talk about pretty much anything naturally fascinating. From 'Do you ever wonder about the nature of reality' through to 'Do you ever wonder what it was that put that politician into power?', being led to naturally wonder is something that can put us at ease. A highly engaging person is typically a great leader in conversation. If they're conscious of being around a shy or socially anxious person, they'll lead conversation out of consideration.

I've found, if I'm struggling, it's often based on me not being around wonder filled engaging people. I'm a gal who has absolutely zero skill when it comes to small talk 🙂

RISL
Community Member
Thankyou all for the good advice 🙂

Amanda2000
Community Member

Hi RISL

Yes I struggle with the same issue. Recently I read about a practical tip that has helped me a lot. Basically don't focus on yourself and approach your speech from the audience's perspective. If you were someone sitting in the audience, what would you like to know (ie. technical content)? What will make you want to listen (ie. the way you present) - I like to throw in some humour to make people laugh which also helps me to relax.