treasure asked in Social ScienceSociology · 1 decade ago

Worried to take class that includes public speaking?

I'm enrolled in a college Sociology class that begins next month and i'm absolutely terrified! The syllabus states students are required to participate every class. We also have to do several show and tell activities. I'm so nervous because i'm very shy and i'm not very good at pubic speaking. I have to take the class because the date to drop and receive a refund has passed. Does anyone have any tips on how I can overcome my shyness with public speaking? Thanks

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Diagnose Your Level of Shyness. Are you so shy that you're petrified to talk to anyone? Or are you only shy around people you don't know? It may be beneficial to ask friends their opinions.

    Consider: What Do You Want to Change and Why? Are you bothered by a lack of social skills, not knowing how to have superficial conversations, how to show your feelings, awkward pauses in conversations, and other practical problems? Or do you manage to come across normal and sociable enough, but wish you didn't feel uncomfortable and insecure? And ask yourself how much you really want to change. Not everyone is or needs to be extroverted, lively and wild. Don't compare yourself to people who are your total opposite, or tell yourself that you should be like them. This only makes you feel like you are different and alone, or even inferior, when in fact everyone is somewhere on a continuum of shyness or introversion.

    Put Yourself Out There. This may seem obvious but the best way to meet people is to be in an environment where you can meet people. Go to the Fall Dance at your school and try to meet at least one person by the end of the night.

    Be Approachable. Would somebody with a sour expression on their face or their head down on a desk make you eager to start talking to them? Not likely. Looking at your shoes will get you nowhere and possibly give people the impression you're stuck up. Try a small confident smile and look the person in the eyes.

    Practice Talking. Even though this may sound strange, stand in front of a mirror or close your eyes and imagine yourself talking to someone. Feel free to talk out loud, despite anyone's looks.

    Take "Small Steps." You can't rush yourself into anything - raising expectations too high will only make you more nervous and shy, and then you feel like a failure! Try to make progress in small, easily identifiable steps. This will give you something new to learn every time and you can be proud of every step you've taken. Keep doing things, like having conversations, that are a little scary or hard for you, but not too scary or too hard - this depends on your own level of shyness. As you get used to something, you can take the next step.

    Focus Your Attention Outward, Not on Yourself. This is one of the most important aspects of shyness and social phobia - you probably don't do this on purpose, but you pay a lot of attention to yourself during conversations. This makes you feel self-aware and keeps you in a vicious cycle. In fact, this is part of the reason why some people experience panic attacks after relatively mild anxious moments. Rather than noticing that you are being shy or may have said something embarrassing, try to show interest in other people or the surroundings. You may feel like everyone is watching you, but people are not constantly judging you, it is only that you are doing this yourself. Others are busy doing their own things and talking etc., and are not out to get you.

    Ask Your Friends to Introduce You to Their Friends. Meeting people is a great way to overcome shyness. Although that may sound scatter-brained, it really isn't.

    Showcase Your Talents. For example, if you like art consider painting sets for a play. It will be easier to shine if you feel comfortable. On the other hand, don't be afraid to branch out and discover something new.

    Make Sincere Compliments. No need to be over the top. Some of the greatest conversations started with "I like your shirt. Did you get it at (store name)?"

    Practice. It makes perfect, doesn't it?

    Take a moment to look at yourself. Are you the kind of person who wears dark colors, always has a hood up, or wears dark make-up? In addition to making some people wary of you, this makes you very unapproachable.

    Wear brighter clothes. Brighten up your wardrobe. Go from wearing blacks, reds, and blues to wearing greens, yellows and oranges. Pastels will give you a certain glow.

    Wear brighter make-up. You'd be surprised by how much this helps your appearance, and will get more people talking to you.

    The support of your friends is really important here. Having them introduce you to more people and just having them to fall back on is really nice to look forward to.

    Overcoming your shyness is a big undertaking. Do not expect to be shy one day, and totally outspoken the next. It doesn't work like that. Have patience, and remember, "Rome wasn't built in a day."

    When talking in your "boisterous voice" don't be extremely loud. You may give someone the wrong impression or come across as obnoxious.

    hope this helps :)

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  • 4 years ago

    I don't know your level of shyness, but I'm kind of in the same boat as you. I think everyone gets a little nervous when speaking in front of people, mainly because they want what they are saying to be accepted and appreciated. After all, there's a lot of work that goes into preparing a presentation! If you watch President Obama speak you will see how often he "umms" and remains silent for a moment. He's thinking about what to say, the same as any other public speaker. If you aren't a fan of his, watch other public speakers who are considered to be good and see how they speak. You'll probably notice the same thing. If not, you are probably watching an informercial. One thing that makes public speaking a lot easier is knowing your stuff. Another way to look at it is your level of confidence. If I ask you about something you are confident about, say how is one of your close friends doing, talking about that is easy. If I ask you about the political relations between Sri Lanka and South Africa, you, like most people, would have a real hard time saying anything. As with anything, there are people who excel at some things but just average in others. It's fair to say that all any fair-minded persons asks is that you do your best. In the case of public speaking, I think it's to prepare what you are going to say and know what you are saying. Also, if you have a friend in class, work out an arrangement to be each other's "eyes." What I mean by this is to look for a pair of eyes that you know are listening to you and think you're doing fine. Don't stare at them, just go back to them when you get nervous. And return the favor to them if they need your help.

  • First of all, you won't be doing any public speaking right away. A lot of professors like to have students introduce themselves on the first class. Think of 2-3 things to say about yourself and be ready. You can probably do it from your seat.

    Just due to time constraints, you will probably doing some work in groups, so you won't have to do much actual speaking.

    Hopefully you will get to know many of the people in the class, which will make it easier for you to speak around them.

    The easiest way to speak publicly when you are nervous is to be overly prepared. Know exactly what you are going to say and practice it aloud at home. You can't just read over it or say it in your head. You need to practice it aloud so that you get used to hearing your own voice.

    Remember, this won't be a large group. It will be a small group of people you will get to know. It will be good practice for the future.

  • 1 decade ago

    The worst thing you can do if you are not fond of public speaking is think too much about it. Try and relax and you'll be fine. Remember that A LOT of people no matter what it seems like, have the jitters when it comes to speaking in public. I bet even people like President Obama do every once in a while. The key is projecting that you ARE confident( not overly confident ofcourse) and comfortable. The trouble comes when you think too much and besides, the audience are just human like you. What's the worst that could happen? Stay calm and you'll be ok. :)

    All the best! xo

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  • lol
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Only advice: go with the flow

    You will have day/s when u wanna run away and hide somewhere till the semester is over....But trust me if u just show up in every class and do ur homework u will be fine

    If I can do it anyone can

    Even ur teacher knows that no matter how outgoing a student is, most of the people are scared to death when it comes to public speaking.. IT'S A FACT


    Don't skip class/es EVER

    Trust me u will be fine

  • Rachel
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Find ways to practice now, the public speaking I mean.

    Karaoke, without being drunk, is a good way to loosen up being in front of people and having to talk/sing.

    You could sing at church.

    Go to the public library and offer to read books to groups of children or people who can't read.

    If you're in a big city find one of those places where people go to share their poems or writings. Not sure if you can only share your own stuff or if you can read things that you find interesting.

    Good luck, you can do it. Everyone who's gone to college has had to do public speaking of some kind, you'll be ok.

  • 1 decade ago

    Isn't that what the class if for, to "teach" you these skills. Everyone will be nervous, just remember that is why you are going to the class to get more comfortable speaking in public so in the future it will be a useful job skill. Use it as a learning experience!

  • mark r
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The best way to overcome your fear of public speaking in the beginning is to make sure what you have to say is so valuable that no one will notice that your are nervous.

    Everybody is nervous in the beginning, but confidence comes over time as you learn that people respect you for trying (and producing) while you are nervous, and will respect what you say more than how you say long as it is valuable to your audience.

    Practice naked in front of a mirror. You will feel so stupid, that speaking clothed in front of an audience will be a no brainer. It works.

  • 1 decade ago

    listen. do you know how many other kids in that class that are freaking out too. you will see that a lot of them are going to be just as nervous if not more than you. i took a public speaking class few semesters ago and most of the students sucked. two student walked out during a speech bc of nerves. one kid threw up. you'll be okay.... as long as you dont throw up. lol

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm terrible at this as well, my heart beats fast and i get all sweaty. The only way to overcome this is ignore it. Overtime as you speak more and more you will become more comfortable in this position. I think this is certainly an experience that will help you succeed with jobs you might have in the future unless you plan to be mime or something.

  • I used to be really shy and 'd blush if more than one person looked at me at the same time (yup, it was that bad) so it really bugged me coz like nearly every kid I wanted to be a famous actress/singer and duh, I had a problem. So, I started randomly shouting stuff and ignoring looks (still blushed but pretended I didn't notice) and when other people did stuff in public i would think "hey, I'm not bothered if they do something -like run in circles- because I don't know!" <- not very helpful but I began to carefully think what must be going through their minds and what was going through mine (whatever they did didn't give them a bad name in my mind) and over about 2 weeks I suddenly overcame it and now I;'m not bothered what people think

    soz it's so long


    Source(s): experience
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