Public Speaking (FEAR)

This past Saturday SLIS had a Ph.D. Forum for all Ph.D. students to present their research and ideas to each other along side faculty members.  It is meant as a friendly environment, hoping to provide Ph.D. students with practice speaking in front of others regarding their research and ideas as well as answering questions from the audience.  The room seats probably 40, and there were probably 20+ in attendance.

I presented an exploratory study I conducted using web content analysis techniques examining confessional websites.  It was interesting work I did for a class last spring.  I was happy with my work and spent quite a bit of time fine-tuning the presentation.  I also had quite a bit of help from my advisor.  He worked closely with me explaining why I needed to explain certain points and why I needed to use certain language.

Well, I totally bombed my presentation!   I got through it (barely), but the delivery was disgusting.  I worked myself up so much, I ended up turning a 20 minute presentation into a 10 presentation.   I made eye contact with the audience all of maybe 5 times.   I ended up going up there and reading my script.  Other than fainting or pissing myself, reading a script in front of the audience is probably the worst mistake one can make.

I’ve thought about it all weekend I’m very, very angry.  Although I am completely aware that public speaking is a fear shared by a high percentage of humans, it is irrational and ridiculous and I can’t believe I fall into the category.  I’ve been researching some notes on public speaking fears and I ‘ve come across a few that weren’t out to make money:

http://www.help4nonprofits.com/NP_Mktg_FearofPublicSpeaking_Article.htm#
http://www.stresscure.com/jobstress/speak.html

I agreed with the items mentioned in both articles and I have similar irrational beliefs.   I also did some research on groups/clubs in the area I might be able to join to improve my public speaking skillset.  There is a group, Toastmasters International (http://www.toastmasters.org/), that has a few clubs at IU that I have sent enquiries to join.   I’m also thinking of acting.  I was in drama and performed a few shows in grade school and junior high, so perhap that would also work.

I’m going to get a video copy of my presentation and I’m going to post it here so you see how bad I really was last Saturday.  It will be embarrasing for me, but I’m willing to face this so that it might help myself and others see that it isn’t just them… it is a bunch of us!

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