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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. Since I know firsthand that speech class is difficult for us with Social Anxiety, I decided I'd tell how I earned As in my Speech 101 class and Argumentative Speech Class. My argumentative speech teacher emailed me after my 3rd speech and said, " In my 20 years of teaching, I've never seen someone with anxiety persevere as much as you did today! I am very impressed!"

1) Practice, practice, practice Practice will greatly lessen your anxiety and this is how to effectively practice: 1. Start typing your speech when you get the assignment, so you will have a lot of time to practice. 2. Write flash cards and read them until you feel familiar with your speech. 3. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. 4. Practice speaking to a family member or close friend and ask for constructive criticism. I found that these 4 steps helped me improve tremendously from my 1st speech to my 2nd speech.

2) Tell Your Teacher Inform your teacher through email or during office hours that you have extreme anxiety. More often than not, speech teachers were Communication majors, so they learned to be understanding and kind. Both of my teachers accommodated me a lot. My A.S teacher let me use the podium to put my flash cards on because my hands shook so hard that I couldn't even read my cards when I held them. He also prompted me when I couldn't remember my next point. Let your teacher be your friend.

3) Focus on Your Message Because of my anxiety, I was in a lot of physical pain when I gave my speech. I felt like I had a horrible sunburn, my back ached, and my heart was palpitating rapidly. Also, I felt that it would be so easy to develop brain fog and blank out. However, I used all of my energy to focus on what I was saying, and what I was going to say next. Whenever I felt myself giving into my pain, I quickly looked at my flash cards to keep myself on task. If you feel like you need a nap after your speech, you probably gave it your all.

4) Choose a Subject You Love Choose something that interests you. Don't choose a complex topic just because you think it will impress the teacher. This can lead to embarrassment because you don't have a lot of time to learn the material, you will feel ill-prepared when you give the speech, and you might end up confusing yourself, the audience and the teacher. Speak about what you know and what you care about.

5) Recognize your Weaknesses and Improve During my first speech, I barely practiced, so I was very nervous and unprepared. I didn't make eye contact, my hands shook so much I couldn't read my flash cards, and I froze in front of everyone. Because I'm disciplined, I was able to recover, but it was embarrassing. You will feel tempted to forget about your speech after it happens because you will be embarrassed. However, don't do that. Reflect on what your weaknesses are and how you can improve. That is the only way to do better on your next speech. For my 2nd speech, I practiced and did much better making eye contact and remembering my message. Also, my teacher let me use the podium, so I could glance at my cards. By my 3rd speech, I improved so much that people stood up and applaud me. They came up to me after class and said I had one of the best speeches. That wouldn't have happened if I didn't work on improving my weaknesses.

Hope that will help you all! :) I can honestly say that this was one of my biggest accomplishments thus far and I hope you experience it too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, since I was working as a CNA, I did a persuasive speech on improving nursing homes, and since I was a foster child, I did one on increasing the age of receiving free health care for foster children and my 3rd speech was on legalizing physician assisted suicide in California.
 

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I did all 5 of those and made an A in my public speaking class, so that's good advice. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. I think people should keep in mind that there are a lot of people who hate public speaking, and most of them don't even have anxiety issues. That's how I looked at it. Everyone in here is nervous, what makes them any different? I got told several times by my classmates that it didn't even look like I was nervous when I actually was. How many speeches did you have to do? I had to do an Introductory, Informative, Persuasive, Speech to Entertain, and then a final exam (which was also a speech, but we didn't know what the topic was until day of the exam).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congratz on the A! Yeah. It's true that even those without anxiety struggle with the class, but I think those with anxiety disorder often struggle a lot more. I saw a few people look nervous, but most people didn't seem to worry. The teacher actually filmed our speeches, so I know for a fact I looked nervous during my first and second speech lol

We had 3 speeches, a debate, and a written final. I actually left the room and cried before the debate because I was so scared, but my teacher and partner comforted me, which I greatly appreciated and ended up doing well. Even was able to stand up and give a Point of Information that left the other team stumped!
 

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How do you handle situations when you stumble, how do you recover? If I make a mistake during my presentation I start panicking and go blank. How about Q&As, I guess you try to cover all the questions that will likely be asked, but how do you deal with unexpected questions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How do you handle situations when you stumble, how do you recover? If I make a mistake during my presentation I start panicking and go blank. How about Q&As, I guess you try to cover all the questions that will likely be asked, but how do you deal with unexpected questions?
Since i wasn't training to be a professional speaker in my speech class, I didn't really focus my energy on being "graceful" when I stumbled on a word, but just calm and collected. Therefore, what I would do was stop when I realized my mistake, smile or giggle, and correct what I said. So for example, I'd say it like this " so the next thing I did..." And then I'd smile or giggle and say," sorry, I mean, the next thing the FOSTER KIDS did...", and I'd emphasize on the word I was correcting, so the audience would understand why I corrected myself.

Honestly, everyone makes mistakes, so no one's going to make fun of you. Just focus on correcting your mistake, rather than dwelling on it.

As for unexpected questions, what I did was brainstorm possible questions the weekend before I spoke, typed them up and gave appropriate answers. I was able to answer most of the questions, but when there was a question I was unsure of, I simply answered," I'm sorry. I actually can't answer that question right now and would need to do more research to answer it." And move on to the next.
 

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Since i wasn't training to be a professional speaker in my speech class, I didn't really focus my energy on being "graceful" when I stumbled on a word, but just calm and collected. Therefore, what I would do was stop when I realized my mistake, smile or giggle, and correct what I said. So for example, I'd say it like this " so the next thing I did..." And then I'd smile or giggle and say," sorry, I mean, the next thing the FOSTER KIDS did...", and I'd emphasize on the word I was correcting, so the audience would understand why I corrected myself.

Honestly, everyone makes mistakes, so no one's going to make fun of you. Just focus on correcting your mistake, rather than dwelling on it.

As for unexpected questions, what I did was brainstorm possible questions the weekend before I spoke, typed them up and gave appropriate answers. I was able to answer most of the questions, but when there was a question I was unsure of, I simply answered," I'm sorry. I actually can't answer that question right now and would need to do more research to answer it." And move on to the next.
That's really amazing to regain your composure like that, I've had a few really bad experiences with presentations in the past that resulted from me stumbling and then not being able to recover. It's strange because I would have my notes in front of me and know what to say, but my anxiety would shoot through the roof and there would be a break between my thoughts and what I want to say. I will take your suggestions to heart, this is something I would like to overcome. It's really reassuring you've been able to overcome this obstacle, it gives me a bit of hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's really amazing to regain your composure like that, I've had a few really bad experiences with presentations in the past that resulted from me stumbling and then not being able to recover. It's strange because I would have my notes in front of me and know what to say, but my anxiety would shoot through the roof and there would be a break between my thoughts and what I want to say. I will take your suggestions to heart, this is something I would like to overcome. It's really reassuring you've been able to overcome this obstacle, it gives me a bit of hope.
Yeah. It's very hard to think when your anxiety gets to a certain point, because then you can't think clearly. Whenever you catch yourself starting to say to yourself, "Oh no! I'm starting to feel anxious", that's when you have to stop yourself and think, "No! I need to focus on (your speech subject)" and look at your cards, and really FOCUS on finding where you left off; eliminating everything from your mind, except your speech. Since I focused so hard, I was super exhausted after all my speeches, and rested in the library after my class lol

Glad that this thread was enlightening and inspiring for you though! I'm sure you can do it as well, because I'm far from perfect and I was able to do it by giving 100% of my energy, from both body and mind.
 

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You're my idol.

This is really good advice! I have an English seminar in like two weeks so I'll put these to good use or at least try, thanks! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You're my idol.

This is really good advice! I have an English seminar in like two weeks so I'll put these to good use or at least try, thanks! :)
Aw, thank you! I figured this would be a good thread since presenting in front of people is really hard for us with social anxiety. Good luck on your English Seminar!!
 

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Hey Hailey!
I'm the same guy who complimented you on your expressive face, good use of gestures and the structure of your talk on your youtube channel. I didn't know you had speech classes when I posted that message.
But that doesn't take away any of the shine of my compliment, to the contrary,
I admire you for getting up on stage despite your SA, that's very brave of you.

That's sheer dedication and commitment to improving yourself. Keep it up! That mindset will help you achieve great things in life.


I'm wondering if you are able to enjoy giving speeches to a certain extend now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey Hailey!
I'm the same guy who complimented you on your expressive face, good use of gestures and the structure of your talk on your youtube channel. I didn't know you had speech classes when I posted that message.
But that doesn't take away any of the shine of my compliment, to the contrary,
I admire you for getting up on stage despite your SA, that's very brave of you.

That's sheer dedication and commitment to improving yourself. Keep it up! That mindset will help you achieve great things in life.

I'm wondering if you are able to enjoy giving speeches to a certain extend now?
Nice to hear from you again! :) Yeah, I took a speech class as a requirement for general education and a debating speech class for a logic credit. Thanks for the compliments! I do enjoy making youtube videos, but I think I'd still get anxiety giving a speech in front of people. I have a dream to speak at schools about social anxiety though, so perhaps I'll practice at Toastmasters :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh my gosh I remember this! And I remember that English seminar. Got the highest mark in the class! Yay! :boogie Haha, but to be fair, I found out that we could record it beforehand.

But this really did help me on my second one, no doubt. Got a B! Apparently I looked down at my palm cards too much and didn't gesture enough (both debatable!) but apart from that, your advice helped me heaps! Especially the 3rd step. I never told my teacher about the anxiety but I felt like he'd caught on throughout the year. But thank you so much!

I can't believe I didn't say congratulations before either. Congratulations on your speeches and coming so far! Hope you're still doing well. :)
Congrats on getting the highest mark in the class! Wow! That's a major achievement! And congratz on your 2nd speech. I had trouble looking at the cards too much too when I first did my speech. I think it's natural at first. I'm glad the advice helped you a lot! :) You're very welcome!

And thank you! Haven't had to do speeches since then, but I'm much more comfortable doing youtube videos :)
 

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I was so so scared of taking a speech class at my high school not only because i'm shy, but also because I heard that the speech teacher graded very very harsh. I asked my counselor whether she would accept speech credits from an online course. Of course she said no, but my friends and I took the class anyways and she somehow let us! It's good to have good friends who are sociable so they would persuade the counselor for me :D

On a side note, people in my class also took online gym!! What the heck how is this even possible yet allowable??
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was so so scared of taking a speech class at my high school not only because i'm shy, but also because I heard that the speech teacher graded very very harsh. I asked my counselor whether she would accept speech credits from an online course. Of course she said no, but my friends and I took the class anyways and she somehow let us! It's good to have good friends who are sociable so they would persuade the counselor for me :D

On a side note, people in my class also took online gym!! What the heck how is this even possible yet allowable??
Taking gym online sounds very strange. I'm not quite sure how that could even be possible, let alone allowable lol
 

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Taking gym online sounds very strange. I'm not quite sure how that could even be possible, let alone allowable lol
I know that's hard to believe but people at my school like the top ranked students cheat the system to boost and secure their ranks. I know the kid at number 2 right now who played tennis for like less than a semester on weekends, and he didn't have to take any gym classes in the 4 years of high school. So this basically allowed him to take more advanced classes to try to be number 1.

Pretty much this competition thing going on forced me to take speech over the summer. (not just b/c i'm shy and all that) For the online gym, I have no idea what the heck they even do. From what I heard though, you learn some vocabulary and then measure heart rate pulses after you finish exercising. I mean people can just lie about these things, but apparently they get away with it.
 
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