Ever give a speech or take speech class? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-30-2003, 12:53 PM
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Have you?

I am taking it right now during the summer so I can get it overwith!

I just gave a speech, and I was pretty confident in it, but when I got up there I just became so nervous and shakey...

Anyone have a speech story? Has anyone been so nervous that you've thrown up?

Any suggestions about giving a speech?
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#2 Old 07-30-2003, 01:05 PM
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Here's an excellent organization I'm a member of. Here's their Top Ten Tip List for Public Speaking.

Effective verbal communication is an underrated skill in my opinion. Think about it. You have a great idea that will save the company a ton of money and increase profits by 10%. But you are either 1) to nervous to explain your idea 2)unsure of where to begin 3)to shy to even begin to think about getting up in front of a room full of people and presenting it. Whatever the reason, that one skill you lack will hold you back from whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

Polished verbal communication skills are a neccessity for networking too. I have a tip that always helps me. I typically speak fast; even faster if I get nervous. So, I purposely slow way down when speaking in front of people. I remember to breath evenly. This helps keep the nervous butterfly feeling in check. Also, I can't stress enough-Be Prepared! Have note cards if need be with certain clue words to help you along in your speech. But don't have the speech written word for word or else you'll be tempted to read the note cards. Tape yourself giving the speach. Take notes while you listen and watch the playback. Notice your fidgeting or quirks that distract from your content. You won't need to do this forever; just until you are comfortable speaking and gain a certain style. This will also help you communicate during job interviews as you will be presenting yourself to a prospective employer in the very best light.
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#3 Old 07-30-2003, 01:10 PM
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I took a speech class during the summer a few years ago. It was humiliating at the time, but it ended up being something I needed to do. My heart would race, my face would turn beet red, and I would shake. It was so obvious everyone in the class would start to look at me and I knew they wanted to laugh! So when I knew I was turning red, I would just stop my speech, throw my hands up on my cheeks, and say "I'm turning red, aren't I??!" and they'd all laugh. I started to realize a little humor tends to relieve the stress of it all. The professor, knowing what a problem I had giving speeches, picked me and this other girl to argue back and forth. It turned out to be a lot of fun and again I realized I could make people laugh. The MOST embarrassing part was I was put in this group and we had to do a little thing called "Communication Across the Generations" (that was what the group named it) where we all dressed up in clothing from different decades and talked about what was going on during that time period! I got the 80's! I gave myself some big hair and wore the tackiest clothes. Everyone told me afterwards what a great job I did.

So, really I just learned that I can have total control over the situation if I choose and a little humor never hurts. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Just about everyone gets nervous over it at some point and nobody will look down on you if you do. In the sum of things, a little pointless speech in one class doesn't mean much, so don't ever get worked up about it
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#4 Old 07-30-2003, 01:48 PM
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I had to give oral presentations in high school and I hated it. I have a tendency to talk too fast anyway, but when I get nervous, I'm out of control.

When I was a senior, we got to pick our topic off this big list and then give a 5 minute speech about it. I chose The British Invasion b/c I'm a huge fan of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, et al, and I thought it would be easy to fill up 5 minutes. I did exhaustive research and wrote out a great speech. I even practiced it at home several times and each time it was at least 10 minutes long, so I figured it'd be at least 6 or 7 minutes when I was panicked and talking fast. Wrong. 3 minutes 38 seconds and when I was done, the whole class was staring at me blankly b/c they hadn't understood a word I said. I also had pit stains damn near down to waist. Needless to say, that was the last speech I ever gave.
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#5 Old 07-30-2003, 02:13 PM
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i took a speech class before... it was okay...

the things i found that helped was:

realize that everyone else hearing the speech is in the same exact boat as you. theyre nervous, even if they seem confident

use lots of visual aids, it gets the attention off you

if youre allowed to choose your topics, choose topics that you feel very strongly about, and research a lot... and then remember, you know more about your topic than they do

for the eye contact thing, dont look at any person... just pick a spot in the back of the room to look at

i got an A in my speech class, so i must have done something right

for my topics i choose: veganism, dog fighting/pitbulls, and animal testing... so it was easy to be passionate

there was a guy in my class who did a speech on 'how to eat free and drink for little in new orleans' it was really funny, and he was terrible giving speechs, but his topic material and visual aids made up for it

he went around and researched dollar drink specials and bars that give out free rice and beans and then made up a meal plan

during my dogfighting/pitbull speech (which was one of my first ones) i brought in my rescued pitbull as my visual aid... he really helped get thru that one (whenever i got nervous i looked at him and petted his head) it didnt matter though, because who can focus on a speech when there was an adorable 80 pound puppy in the room

so anyway, dont worry about being nervous or sounding shakey... youll get better

and remember, everyone else in the class feels the same exact way

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#6 Old 07-30-2003, 02:15 PM
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I floored the class with my speech on the Jeffrey Dahmer murders, it was unlike anything else in the class and landed me an A. My classmates were a bit scared of me after that though.
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#7 Old 07-30-2003, 03:43 PM
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I've given many speeches in many classes before.. and i took speech & debate in high school, which rather shocked most everyone that knew me - as i'm so quiet. I'm also gonna have to take a speech class with my current degree program..

Oddly enough, I generally don't have problems giving a speech, so long as i know what i'm talking about and i practice what i'm gonna say beforehand. I'm still nervous, but i generally make it through just fine. If i don't know my material all that well, I'll use note cards if i can... though then i'm usually extremely nervous and then i'm doing a pretty poor job overall regardless..

Sometimes pretending that people are bored and aren't really paying attention to what i'm saying helps as well.
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#8 Old 07-30-2003, 04:12 PM
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I personally like speaking in public and I loved speech class. I think I'm just weird though.

I have an excellent speech class story though!! And totally relevant to this board, too

Okay, I took it at the end of sophomore year, and for our final, we could do a speech on whatever topic we wanted, but it had to be rather long and incorporate all these things. Anyway, my friend Lucas and I decided to do one together, and we did it on the evils of factory farming (haha, HIS idea, not mine! ). There was this kid in our class who gave me and Lucas crap for the entire semester (really hated us for some reason o_o), and during our speech he kept making snide comments: "Mmmm, bacon!" "I could really go for a nice juicy steak right now!" "Ooh, omelettes!", etc. Near the end of the speech, Lucas mentioned how he doesn't eat factory farmed meat (raises his own), and I mentioned how I don't eat meat at all (it was before I was vegan, though), and when our speech was over (it was VERY well received, btw) and we sat down, he was over in his seat saying in a mocking tone "Oh, I don't eat meat and I think I'm so much better than everyone else and--" at which point the teacher cut him off: "Colin, LEAVE NOW."

It rocked
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#9 Old 08-01-2003, 12:10 AM
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i had to do a monologe from steel magnolias for my socail's class. you can imagine what the was like
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#10 Old 08-01-2003, 12:18 AM
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FWIW... I used to give tons of presentations at information security conferences and trade shows and client presentations and stuff. I loved it, and still love it. It's a performance - a chance to show off. When I knew my shiznit and came prepared, I always delivered a kick ass speech with two side items and cornbread. So I guess this is my nutshell advice:

Prepare like hell. Practice. RECORD YOURSELF! That is the single best thing you can do to prepare, I think.

Realize that people want to see you do well! VERY few people actually WANT to see a bad presentation! They're on your team and they're routing for YOU!

Always start off with a joke. Just make sure it's funny. What? You're not funny? Steal a joke (or story or quote).
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#11 Old 08-01-2003, 01:14 AM
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I have to give speeches in public. I learned it by doing with lots of mistakes. Take away message: practice will get you further.

I learned quite a bit in a speech course. Another take away message: your idea of a speech class is great!

Another take away message: the listener should have a take away message at the end of a speech.

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
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#12 Old 08-01-2003, 04:13 AM
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I fear it more than death. My last speech was in 7th grade speech class...after that I always somehow managed to get out of them.

muppetcow, your story is my worst nightmare come to life!
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#13 Old 08-01-2003, 10:28 AM
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I have a lisp and suffer from stage frieght I hate giving speeches and I hate having to do drama too
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#14 Old 08-01-2003, 10:49 AM
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The first shift I worked at an amusement park I didn't say a word over the microphone (was meant to be doing so to tell people the "rules" for the ride). But in a couple of days I was fine; I loved that job.... operating a ride and entertaining people by being silly or singing over the microphone. I also did a lot of crowd-control there which meant public speaking (no microphone) to very large groups. None of it involved actual prepared "speeches"; just the basic ideas and then I put it all together as I went along.

However, in social settings I rarely speak, and giving speeches to classes I'm always a nervous wreck (and I never sound enthusiastic, just real deadpan, which people love to point out).
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#15 Old 08-01-2003, 11:47 AM
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i give lots of public speeches. At first, they're tough. when i started with Jr Toastmasters when i was twelve, i was really nervous.

by the time i got to high school, no problem.

now, i speak in public constantly. with practice it becomes much easier!
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#16 Old 08-01-2003, 11:50 AM
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ps, re jokes: my father uses visual aids--he likes to use cartoons (particularly the far side).
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#17 Old 08-01-2003, 11:57 AM
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I get so nervous every time I have to talk in front of people. I'm MUCH better at singing in front of an audience. I have to give a presentation a week from today, and of course I'm nervous, but it just makes it worse that I really don't have much solid data and I have to rely on pretty pictures and background information. No one told me back in high school that being a scientist involved any public speaking!!! hehe
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#18 Old 08-01-2003, 12:18 PM
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The more you do it, the easier it gets. When I began public speaking, I got so nervous that I could bearly even speak or see staight, much less "think-on-my-feet." Now, after a speech class and a few years of practice, it's become very easy. I speak in front of groups about 30 - 40 times annually and don't mind it at all.

The best classroom speech we did was to over-act a prescribed role of extreme happiness or anger. We got to choose which role we would take. If you didn't act it out dramatically enough (according to your classmates and the instructor), you had to do it again. Ultimately, everyone in the class had to "make a fool out of themselves". It was toward the end of the course, so we all had some speaking experience. I hated it at the time, but it did the most, by far, for getting rid of nervousness! When I look back, it was actually a lot of fun!

Ultimately though, mileage is what's needed most.
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#19 Old 08-01-2003, 03:48 PM
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michael_veggie - heh, that's kind of funny, because i have a lisp too, but i still love public speaking, and i do drama willingly because i love acting and just kind of have the entertainer thing going -- lisp and all! hee.
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#20 Old 08-01-2003, 05:31 PM
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Originally posted by mushroom

I fear it more than death. My last speech was in 7th grade speech class...after that I always somehow managed to get out of them.

muppetcow, your story is my worst nightmare come to life!

I'm the same way. The last time I spoke in front of a crowd was in 9th grade. After that I did everything in my power to get out of it, even being such an as*hole as to make my friend do a debate by himself that was supposed to be a two against two thing. By the time I was a senior I had such a problem with it that I even hated reading out loud in class, and in my second semester I had Econ. and, just my luck, we had to read out loud in class. I spent the next month or so not bringing my book and waking up sick every morning from worrying. I ended up finishing at night school because I only needed a half credit of that Econ. to graduate. I'm glad I did it. I got to stay home in the day while everyone else was in school, and I only had to go to class three times a week. Plus, I had about 3-4 weeks off before the night class even started.


I probably would've done the same thing, except I also wouldn't have been able to keep my voice from shaking. God, my voice would shake horribly when I had to do something like that, and I know the people had to have noticed. And once it would do that that's all I could hear. It was like my mind would almost shut down completely and I couldn't even comprehend what I was reading, just that my voice was shaking.
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