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Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I have to give a 15 minute long presentation in front of the class next next Friday. (30th). It's been set for quite a long time and I had been meaning to talk to my tutor about it but I just put it to the back of my head.
I'm a REALLY shy person so much so that I blush at any sort of public speaking and it's not a cute blush it's a full face tomato run out the room kinda blush. I honestly feel like I can't do this presentation. I know everyone in my class and it's quite small (about 12 people) yet I'm still so shy. I'm scared about talking to my tutor about it because

a) She might be mad at me for not having come to her sooner
b) She'll just do the age ole' 'try it and see'.

I REALLY don't think I can do this. Speaking for 1 minute is difficult enough but for 15 mins when all the attention is focussed on me? No wayyyyy.

Not really sure what I'm asking...I guess have you been able to get out of anything because of shyness?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok, deep breath.

    First off, everyone gets shy and nervous. It's natural when you're in a situation where people are watching you. But what makes the difference is how you deal with the shyness.

    Second of all, you're silly for letting this go for so long. You should've contacted your tutor and let them know the situation.

    Talks are nerve racking, but honestly, no one is out there wanting you to fail. You have good and interesting information that they want to hear, and you should look at in in terms that you're doing people a favour by being there.

    There are things you can do to help you out. Bach's herbal remedy was always the first thing my ex-girlfriend took when she was doing music recitals, and it helped her loads. Get some and read the instructions, and try and see how that works.

    Have a printed copy of what you're going to say word-by-word. Yes, it means writing an essay (15 minutes = circa 3000 words), but it'll save you're bacon when you're in front of people and you don't know what to say. Make it large type (14 - 16 point), and bold the points which are most importand (quotes, parts where the style changes, numbered points etc). Practise, practise, practise. In front of a mirror, in front of a few friends, out loud. Speak at a normal pace. If you speed through it you'll finish with 10 mins to go and nothing to fill it. Do it so you know it in your head.

    Make a handout. By giving people something to read you'll distract them from looking at you. The same goes for having a powerpoint (or OHDs, but they can be fiddly when you're putting them on the OHP).

    Remember, it's only 15 minutes. Out of the entire course of your life, it's not that much really. The ratio of speaking in front of people: not speaking in front of people is tiny.

    Don't worry if you blush. Tbh, people will think more of you if you refuse to let your shyness get the better of you and go for it. Each successful presentation builds your confidence and helps you do a better one the next time.

    Shyness is not an excuse to get out of anything, cause then everyone would be doing it. You could just not go, but then that totally defeats the purpose of this part of your education...

    Good luck :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the advice. I'll have a go at the herbal remedy. So far I have a powerpoint presentation and also plans for a handout. I could practice in front of family/friends but I know when it comes to the real thing that won't really help. I get the whole deal..shakes, sweaty palms..I even find it difficult to walk.

    Before my go I might go the loo and pretend to do a really long poo.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I honestly know it's difficult, but please don't crap out of it (no pun intended :) You'll only be doing yourself a disservice if you don't attempt it. I'm not sure what your plans are for future employment, but generally having presentation skills are a real boon to employers. Try the essay and read it out plan. It's a pain to write it, but then it's all there and you just have to read it out. Almost all the conferences I've been to in America have their presenters doing this, and this is university professors I'm talking about. It's a good way of getting an intelligent point over without stumbling over the whole 'what am I gonna say now?' problem that you're probably worried about.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks. I'll definitely give it a go. Just have a bad image of me running out in tears or something as equally lame. I'll try all of the prep tips you've given.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Talks are horrible, but they are so good when you nail them :) Don't try and deny your feelings, but instead don't let them win over you. It's normal to be nervous, but it's silly to deny that you feel nervous. If you want some more advice, let me know. Good luck :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aww I really do feel for you! Presentations were my worst nightmare at Uni and I am still not keen on them. The thing you have to remember is that everyone will be feeling the same, even if they have not said so, they will be nervous. The best thing to do is make sure you are really prepared, make sure you know your topic inside out. If you know what you're talking about it will make it a much more pleasant experience as you will be more self assured.

    Try and break the discussion up into sections, if you can get some sort of video that you could show for 3 mins, discuss for 2 mins, thats already one quarter of your presentation done. You then need 5 mins at the end for questions and conclusion and that just leaves you with the 5 min introduction. You should use hand outs as this will detract from you.

    Another thing to remember is that once you're up there talking it really won't seem as bad, it is always worse in your mind. I have actually had hypnosis for fear of presentations and found that it really helped me to prepare my body language and my approach. Perhaps it worth its worth considering?

    A note on body language and approach, you are in the driving seat as so to speak, everyone will have to listen to you and watch your presentation, the last thing you want to be worrying about is how you look. Make sure you wear something you feel good in, do your hair, wear nice shoes etc.

    Another thing that I would do is practice, line up all your teddy bears if need be and practice, you could even record yourself and see what improvements you can make, when you feel confident enough maybe ask a couple of friends to come and watch. I know this is all time consuming stuff but this is where your confidence will come from.

    Finally, try and imagine what sort of questions you might come up against, if your group is anything like mine the students will all be fairly quiet but the tutor will have a couple up her sleeve so just try to bear that in mind.

    Good Luck!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    See if you can stand behind a pedestal or something like that that you can hold on to. This will help to give you a sense of security, and also prevent you doing any nervous gestures with your hands.

    Really although this might seem like a daunting task, you are only talking to people. If it's anything like most classes, they won't be *that* intent on listening either, because they will either have their own presentations to think about, or will just be daydreaming. They are not sitting about waiting for you to slip up.

    Relax, take deep breaths, pace yourself.

    You may find it hard, but it is worth doing, because you're going to have to present things later in your life, more than likely, so you may as well get this one out of the way, and deal with it in a situation where it doesn't matter so much, because, say, your job and mortgage doesn't depend on it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    not read all this ^^^^ but my mate had a little panic attack 10 mins before he was gonna do his one. he ran away and phoned the teacher the next day.

    medium length story short.....he didnt have to do it, and just handed in what he was gonna say/his plan on paper.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    When I was in school, I was the shyest person. I had mild social phobia and anxiety related IBS. When we had to give talks to the class, I'd cry, run out and become totally consumed by it.
    4/5 years down the line and I'm fine giving presentations, I even enjoy them a little! What I've found is that by giving in to it, you'll never be free of it.

    You need to just do it. Take a deep breath and work through the shyness. It's so so hard and I know you're thinking I don't know how hard it is, but I do. I really do.

    It's helpful to have something to hold, like a pen, or a pointer. Or something to stand in front of. Like someone else said, handouts are a perfect way to distract people.

    And at the beginning, don't be afraid to tell people you're nervous. Tell them you're a little nervous and to bare with you, and they'll understand - everyone gets nervous.

    And speak slowly. The most obvious thing to do would be to say it all quickly, but believe me, it'll be more embarrassing if you speed through it and then you get asked questions at the end because you went to fast.

    So, deep breaths, Bach's Rescue Remedy and a prop, and you should do really well. Good Luck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know exactly what you mean. Being a designer, I have to give powerpoint presentations to a class of thirty or so explaining my work on a regular basis.

    I always worry about how I'll come accross, particularly when I'm always first to go up (silly alphabetical system!). It's always been fine though, on the last event I received a lot of praise!

    The key is to act like there's only a few people there. There's no point getting worked up about it, people are probably just glad that they're not in your position - or worrying how they're going to construct their talk.

    Good luck!
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