Social Question

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Have you ever wanted the world to open up after giving a talk?

Asked by TheProfoundPorcupine (2512 points ) October 29th, 2012

Public speaking is something I do not like, but I had to give various presentations at university since they did form part of my degree. I know some people love it and can easily do it, but I hated it so what are your horror stories about doing a speech or presentation?

For me it would be my last presentation at university where I had to give a talk about a certain project and review it whilst then coming to a conclusion as to whether or not you agreed with their theories. I spent almost 10 minutes doing what could only be described as a character assassination of the guy who was in charge of the project. I ripped into him with gusto and made a mockery of his conclusions and finished feeling really proud of myself.

That was until my lecturer took great delight in telling me that the guy I had just laughed at was actually the external examiner for my degree so he would be marking the written version of my talk and this was just as scathing about him!! In other words I did not die on stage with the talk, but I did die straight after it.

So what public speaking horror stories do you have?

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6 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I am absolutely terrified of public speaking. To such a degree, I literally have panic attacks. I lose track of what I am saying, I look weird and I feel like everyone is looking at me like I am mad. I avoid at all costs. It’s said to be part of The Social Phobia disorder. I am fine in other situations. Although if I am honest I do suffer anxieties with different things. Which I was never aware of. Like going out, meeting new people or groups or crowds. But I have mastered it so, no one can tell. I think a lot of my aggressive behavior comes from anxiety with people.

I only know all this since I watched a documentary on it recently.

I must comment and say you write very well for a dead person? Not sure though, what you meant by expect the world to open up?

Yes I expect great cheers and things loll.

flutherother's avatar

I feel a bit like this when speaking in public.

Judi's avatar

I was called in last minuet to do the role with the most lines in a play I had participated in before, but never had more than a few lines. That year, every night was a different show. I knew where the scene was supposed to go, and I was supposed to be ordering people around, but I really didn’t memorize my lines well enough.

Mariah's avatar

Oh lordy, what a funny story. XD Not funny to you at the time, but I hope it’s funny to you in hindsight!

I’m getting lots more comfortable with public speaking because my job requires me to do it three times a week! I tutor differential equations, but it’s not typical one-on-one tutoring (unless just one student happens to show up, which does happen fairly often), it’s group tutoring. The day before tests I always get enormous groups.

I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I don’t get nervous and embarrassed if I make a math mistake up on the board in front of them. Sometimes when I’m talking out loud at the same time as writing I just write completely weird stuff that’s completely different from what I meant to write.

Anyhow, the professor who taught the differential equations class last term was very strict, and would give very little partial credit on problems even if you just made a small mistake somewhere in the middle of your 30 line long solution, which of course had the kids in a frustrated frenzy and they were usually not in good moods when they came to see me. Any time I made a mistake up on the board they would start shouting “no credit for you!” I had to laugh about that but it made me feel pretty silly too.

bookish1's avatar

In my three years of grad school, I’ve found that I do very differently depending on the audience. I am totally fine holding the floor in front of a room full of undergrads. I could talk their ears off. It’s quite a different matter, though, when I have to sound intelligent in front of brilliant and possibly sexy professors! Then, I talk a mile a minute out of nervousness, second guess everything I say, and mentally kick myself afterwards. Similarly, if it’s an interview committee, and they are experts in my field, I’m likely to be nervous as well; however, recently, I had to present a grant proposal to a committee of people who were outsiders to my field, and I charmed the pants off them!

Ron_C's avatar

I’ve been doing occasional public speaking for the last 40 years. I don’t think that I’m particularly good but my subjects were interesting so the response is usually pretty good. I was especially gratified when my advanced science student took on the task of programming a robot in machine language. The public speaking part came when I presented the proposal to purchase a robot kit for the school with the provision that I and a math teacher would put it together and design a class to teach the students about programming. This was in the 70’s so the “advanced” computer we used was an Apple II and the students needed to learn about programming language from scratch starting with binary and octal based numbers. It was a great and gratifying year for me and, I hope, the students.

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