As a core elective, almost every college student will end up having to take a speech course. I dreaded this. I absolutely hate public speaking. I am usually shy and quiet when I’m not with my team or friends, so getting up in front of a bunch of people and talking while everyone’s eyes are on you is very unappealing to me. However, I am happy to tell those of you who share my hatred for public speaking that it is truly not that terrible after all, and it took me until this semester as a freshman in college to discover this.
Part of the reason it took up until now was just because I chose to sign up and get my speech course out of the way for this semester. So after getting enrolled in my speech course I didn’t let it cross my mind once and instead enjoyed my long winter break worry free…until I came back. As I let it sink in-the fact that I’d be taking a speech course where you are assessed and graded on your ability to publically speak in front of a roomful of people, the worry and anxiety starting coming. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given a good amount of speeches in my high school career and have done well on them, but the nerves are just something I can’t fight.
So, how did I go from absolutely hating speeches to hardly minding them at all? Well, the first step was realizing that they really are not that bad-it’s only about 3-10 minutes of your life doing something you’re uncomfortable with. So here are some things that I tell myself to make those minutes as painless an possible (and trust me, they really work):
- Everyone else in the class has to present too. Therefore, they are mostly likely just as nervous as you are, so relax!
- Is everyone really paying close attention? Think about it. How well are you listening to your fellow classmates’ presentations? Sure, you might listen to their introduction and maybe gain some knowledge on parts you find particularly interesting, but you are probably lying if you say that you don’t daydream here or there in the middle of speeches. If you have visual aids, like a power point, you are even safer because everyone will be staring more at that and not you (so try to make your visual pretty interesting!)
- Your teacher knows you are nervous. Teachers are pretty understanding and realize that you are probably nervous during your speeches, so take that into account.
- You know what you’re talking about. Unless you didn’t do the research, then you should be absolutely fine. It’s all in your head, and now you just have to te