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rockfan's avatar

NSFW: Do you have any tips for someone with social anxiety pulling through a class presentation?

Asked by rockfan (7243points) 1 month ago from iPhone

I’m taking a human sexuality class, and for our midterm we have to do a power point presentation on sexual disorders. We drew from a hat and I got premature ejaculation.

What’s even more anxiety provoking is that my teacher is requiring us to use real pictures in our presentation.

If this had been a project on anything else, I’d still have social anxiety, but this makes it even worse.

Are there any tips you guys can give on how to pull through this? I’m already done with the PowerPoint and I know the information backwards and forwards.

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36 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Just try to have fun, you’re not going to get over social anxiety but you can learn to roll with it. Just try to think of just how comic it is that you are up in front of a group of people taIking about penises. Try to see how uncomfortable you can make them while staying in the assigned boundaries of your speech. I got over my fear of public speaking by taking a sales job which was nothing but that. After a while you can simply start faking it and the anxiety is greatly attenuated or even gone. I’m a terrible salesman but I can be a great bullshitter when I really need to be thanks to that summer job.

Jeruba's avatar

Why don’t you try to see how well you can put everyone else at ease while you talk about this subject?

You won’t be the only one who has an uncomfortable topic. What would help you relax as a listener? (Hint: It probably won’t be any kind of mockery, sarcasm, or ridicule.) If you can try to be calm and matter-of-fact about it, the same way you would be if you were talking about, say, treating a sprained ankle or following a healthy diet, you’ll probably be fine.

Yeahright's avatar

Breathing always lowers any anxiety I might have. Just take a deep breath and exhale all the air. Do this as many times throughout the presentation. Before-during and after.
Think that they do not know the content of your presentation, they are learning from it. So you have certain control on how and when things are said.
Do not stare at the screen more than you have to, quickly point at your picture and then redirect your eyes and focus on your audience.
Be matter of factly about it, after all it is about sexual disorders.

kritiper's avatar

Consider this: It’s the thought of getting up there that is far worse than actually being up there. You’ll be fine!

LornaLove's avatar

I really hate speaking in front of an audience. I often found it helpful to actually say I am nervous. Immediately people would soften and be supportive, which helps.
It could be relevant to the topic, for e.g. you could start off saying that a lot of people might find this embarrassing, or uncomfortable to talk about, as do you, but you are here to do your best, kind of a thing.
Always keep in mind the start is the worst part, it gets easier after about a minute.

rockfan's avatar

I think I may have mentioned this before, but last year my comparative religion class had to do a presentation about holocaust survivors, and in my group someone who already sounded like and looked like Brad Pitt, did an impression of his character from Inglorious Basterds while doing the presentation. I thought he was just treating it as a joke, but because of your responses to my question, I’m beginning to think it was his coping mechanism to get over stage fright

janbb's avatar

How about using some humor with pictures of vocanos or garden hoses? Would that help?

rockfan's avatar

That’s a funny idea!

zenvelo's avatar

Approaching it with humor will get the information across while putting everyone at ease.

For instance, “boys spend their teenage years masturbating as furiously fast as possible, and then when they are finally with a girl, they get told Whoa! Slow down”

have some pictures of stop watch. run a clip of Usain Bolt sprinting 100 meters in less than ten seconds.

and let people know it happens to everyone when they first start out. Take a clip from episode 1 of The Deuce where the teenage boys get a hooker and the one boy comes almost instantaneously.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Fake it til you make it dude! Slap a smile on, shoulders back, chest out, confident stance.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

It also sometimes helps me to pretend that someone is paying me to do the presentation so I have to just get through it and do a good job to get paid.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Keep in mind that it’s only temporary too.

I have to say, I got a good laugh reading the “details” part. I suppose this will be a sort of immersion therapy…

I bet you’ll do fine. Then, it’ll be behind you.

Good luck.

Peace n love.

LornaLove's avatar

I love @janbb s idea! That would be so funny and break the ice.

Jeruba's avatar

Isn’t the point of the presentation to convey some useful information and show your mastery of the subject? Getting people to laugh at a disorder sounds counterproductive to me. Take the instructor’s manner and style for your model. Be the only person in your class who doesn’t think making fun of the subject is a great idea, and see what happens.

Besides, being a comedian requires a whole other set of skills. And if your jokes fall flat, will that make you feel more comfortable?

Ok, that’s just my thought.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Regarding the subject manner: dress in a Doctors lab coat.
Talk to your Doctor on how to present and he/she may be invaluable in giving you materials to use.
Worth a try.
By the way : The lab coat immediately conveys a Professional Manner. Try a Costume as a Doctor to obtain this look.
Good Luck.

chyna's avatar

I disagree with him wearing a doctor coat. He will be made fun of.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@chyna
Not if he explains himself first.
State that if he were a Doctor…...

LDRSHIP's avatar

My biggest tip and what works for me is prep,prep, and PREP!

When I prepare and plan my brief and presentation I feel confindent and my mind is more at ease since I KNOW what I am talking about, I have a mini script in my mind.It is more for reference as remembering every word and line doesn’t work for me. I am more focused on conveying the message and idea.

You said you know it backwards and forwards but have you laid it out mentally in your mind piece by piece? Made sense of it? What if someone else was briefing your presentation to you? How would you want it presented and talked so it made sense? Remember this presentation isn’t for you, its for everyone else.

Sometimes I will practice going over it out loud while driving or in the mirror. Try recording yourself (seriously do it) or have a friend or however many give you a quick critique or at least just watch you. Just having a person or more can change the atmosphere even if it is just practicing.

Not sure if this is “frowned upon” pretty normal where I work but I sometimes would have flash cards with bullet points or lines written down. For me this triggers memories for what I want to discuss in case my brain wanders off. I try not to read verbatim from the slide show or cards if you can avoid it. If you have to though do it and move on. Don’t get all discombobulated about it and start making um sounds. Execute and move on. Also make sure the cards are in order and synchronized to your presentation so you’re not fumbling through them.

Typically glancing down at the card or a brief glance at the next slide and taking a natural pause to catch myself and also look around room make eye contact briefly and continue speaking. This helps me at times keep my rhythm if you will or just give me a chance to relax more. Give yourself a chance to breath. Natural pauses are a good thing.

However, all that said if you do start messing up just keep going don’t let any little or big moment overwhelm you. Keep it going and finish. Worse case scenario you goof up or forget something. Give’em what you know and NEXT SLIDE.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Suck it up and just do it. The next one will be easier. Stage fright is not mental illness.

rockfan's avatar

@MollyMcGuire I have social anxiety disorder, along with a fear of public speaking. “Suck it up and just do it” is extremely unhelpful advice.

Jeruba's avatar

When is your presentation, @rockfan? Be sure to come back and tell us what you did and how it went.

I gave you the same advice I would give my son. I agree that the essential thing is to be thoroughly prepared. Nothing gives me more confidence than that, and I hate to speak before a group. I rehearse repeatedly, both alone and in front of somebody. But you said you know the material completely, so I didn’t mention that.

Someone with a flashy presentation will win applause, but I hope your instructor can see past that to the substance.

rockfan's avatar

It’s on the sixth. And in three weeks I have another presentation about the pull out method of birth control :/

I also have to talk about “outer course”. And my teacher said we’re required to have pictures of it, like dry humping. I have a sneaking suspicion that she enjoys embarsssing students lol

janbb's avatar

@rockfan This does seem like she is putting you all in tough situations.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@rockfan . With all due respect, are you sure that this career path is appropriate, given your anxiety issues? I’m not sure I understand the need for repeated public presentation about such subject matter…

rockfan's avatar

It’s an elective course I chose to get my credits

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Well. That was an interesting choice… School is full of things like public presentation. So, I guess your probably going to have to get accustomed to it anyway…

rockfan's avatar

Unfortunately my anxiety about this is getting worse. Honestly, I might not even be able to physically give the presentation, l’ll be shaking and stuttering too much

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@rockfan The advice I gave is the best advice you received. This is life. Do it and you might bomb but the next time won’t be as bad. Or ask for pity and sympathy and never ever move from the spot where you stand right now.

chyna's avatar

Would it help to pretend your audience is all of us Fluther friends?

rockfan's avatar

@MollyMcGuire

I hate to presume anything, but it seems that you have a hard time understanding the anxiety that people with social anxiety/phobia go through. So no, I don’t think your advice was the best.

It’s like telling someone with agoraphobia to “suck it up and go outside.”

Today I made accommodations with my professor, and she mentioned that if I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack during the presentation, she’ll still give me a passing grade.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. I have had to go to the ER on the way to work before. I just wanted to go to work. A bad panic attack, out of nowhere, had me completely debilitated. I was shaking violently, hyperventilating, and disoriented. I’ve had to go to the hospital three times, since my first attack about four years ago.

Prior to my first attack, I may not have been very sympathetic.

rockfan's avatar

And notice that I said “physically.” Rationally, I realize that doing the presentation is easy. But somehow my brain just doesn’t know this.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I get it. It sucks…

janbb's avatar

I have always had that too so I get it. My 7th grade teacher let me do oral reports to him alone in the teacher’s room.

I teach literature sometimes and I still get miserable the night before. Like I’m gonna really screw up and my life will be invalidated.

I’m glad you talked to the teacher. Maybe it will help to know you will pass whatever.

rockfan's avatar

Presentations were postponed a bit, I finally did mine this morning. Didn’t go so well, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Good for you. Now it’s behind you.

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