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Any sage advice on this greatly appreciated. I have to give a 4-5 minute speech in front of 1,000 people and I've never done this before. The thought of it fills me with mild terror but it has to be done. The context is the world premiere of a feature-length documentary film I've made at a film festival in Melbourne. I have to introduce the film. The content of what I'm going to say isn't the problem, it's the...fear of public speaking, Glossophobia it's called and I got a bad case of it right here. Any advice most appreciated.

 

 

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PigFish   

... spend 4 minutes saying how comfortable you feel behind the camera but not in front of it. Talk about what you know and pretend the best looking lady in the house just asked for your autograph and is actually interested in what you are talking about. Spend 1 minute thanking all the people that helped you.

Best of luck on the speech. -Piggy

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Self-deprecating humor is the best defense! :2thumbs:

Other than that, practice in front of live folks as much as you can.  You'd be surprised at how doing it in front of your wife (hmmm, that kinda came out wrong . . . :P ) will trigger many of those same phobia.  The more you experience that, the more adapted you'll become to it.  Invite friends over for cigars; introduce the film, etc.

In the moment always:  1.  Take a deep breath,  2. Deliberately, and I mean this super seriously, deliberately pause.  And more than once too!  Not only does it give you time to collect your wits, but dramatic pauses are almost more important than the spoken word.  My Dad used to be able to recite "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and would have the room on the edge of their seats just by the way he would insert a pause.  Pause, and slightly longer than you think necessary, and don't be afraid to look at the audience or, for greater effect, first the audience, then the screen (even if blank), then back to the audience.  It will be great fun, unexpected and memorable.  5 minutes will fly by to you.  Good luck! :cigar: 

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Share your passion for the project. Tell them how you became interested in the subject and how you got started with the film. Sincere passion comes through. Talk to them as though you were talking with a few of your most supportive family & friends. Just talk. Don't 'give a speech'. Its very important to position yourself in front of the microphone properly. Make sure people can hear you. Not too close, not too far from the mic. Your mouth about a full thumb length away. - If you talk your passion, the time will go too quickly before you've said all you can say. Time to show your film. Maybe open it up to questions afterwards.
Go get em ! Have fun & savor the whole experience


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25 minutes ago, Williamos said:

 

Any sage advice on this greatly appreciated. I have to give a 4-5 minute speech in front of 1,000 people and I've never done this before. The thought of it fills me with mild terror but it has to be done. The context is the world premiere of a feature-length documentary film I've made at a film festival in Melbourne. I have to introduce the film. The content of what I'm going to say isn't the problem, it's the...fear of public speaking, Glossophobia it's called and I got a bad case of it right here. Any advice most appreciated.

I agree with the above.

However don't feel like you're giving a speech. You're not. You're talking to people about what you're passionate about - film making, making documentaries, and your documentary. Once you start getting into talking about what you love you'll end up running over time and you won't even know it!

Take some bullet point notes to keep you on track if you like.

Good luck, let us know how you go!

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Do everything people recommend in this thread.  Then also ask your doctor for beta blockers.  Seriously

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Hi there,

I have a phobia of writing in public. It made studying law and practising as a solicitor pretty bloody hard I'll tell you that much. 

Funnily enough, I've never really been too concerned about public speaking. I do get incredibly nervous, but I just reassure myself that almost everyone is nervous about public speaking. This is why I have the phobia of writing in public. I feel like people will think I'm weird. It's amazing how kind people are though. I've never been judged negatively. 

If I were you I'd write what I was going to say and practice it in front of someone. 4-5 minutes is not a lot of time so you'll want to make sure you say everything you want. Also, make sure you speak slowly. And just tell them you're nervous. EVERYONE will understand. 

Cheers and good luck. 

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First of all, congrats on the film. When it comes to public speaking, it seems like there are only 2 categories, those who are comfortable with it and those who aren't. There isn't much in between. I happen to fall under category 1. I've always been comfortable speaking publicly, and it's not something I had to practice- so when friends would ask me for advice I honestly didn't have much. But after thinking about it, I was able to develop a list of things that I do and have been able to pass that info on when asked. Here's the advice I give when asked:
-Don't try to be something you're not. If you're not a funny person, don't try to tell a bunch of jokes. You're already out of your comfort zone, don't add another layer of difficulty.
-Start talking, as soon as possible. 99% of the anxiety you experience is leading up to the speech. Once you start, it's all downhill.
-Giving a speech is a lot like telling a story, or sharing an experience with a friend- In the sense that there is a beginning, middle and an end. Try to organize the key points chronologically if possible.
-I like to use bullet points, instead of paragraphs. Build a story around each point (beginning, middle, end) it helps the speech seem more organic, and not "rehearsed".
-I then tell them about the worst speech I've ever witnessed. The valedictorian at my college graduation bombed. I don't know if she dropped her notes, or froze or what. But halfway in she fumbled and couldn't recover. She then started crying. She tried to collect her thoughts, and start over. Cried again. Ended up walking off the stage. So if you can make it through without crying and bailing, you've done better than a college valedictorian.

Best of luck to you.


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OB1   

I used to talk so quick at first that I'd lose my breath. I've learned to pace my breathing with deeper breaths and it helps keep me from talking fast and it calms me down.

I also like to have water with me so I can sip and slow my talking speed.


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The way auditoriums tend to be lit, you are probably going to get up there and not be able to really make out anyone. Because of the spot lighting, it will just look like a big black room to you. Get going before your eyes adjust and by the time you can see anything will already be in the groove of giving the speech. From there you can let the adrenaline carry you through the rest. 4-5 minutes isn't very long. By the time you can tell you aren't in an empty room, you'll be almost done. Hell, if its really bad for you, glance into a spot to contract your pupils and keep going.

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rob   

I used to be nervous about it....  and found that the more I did it, the less it scared me. Now I can speak comfortably without a problem.

if I had to go back and give myself advice, I would say - know what you are talking about and be certain that you are an expert in the field. The audience don't know you are uncomfortable.

Being that you know what you are talking about - you just need to go up there like you've done it 100 times before.

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I just get nervous and sweat a lot. I find though if i am infront of a class/group of people and sitting down and talking im fine. So if you can lean on a table or something instead of standing infront of a pedestal then i'd do that. Also apparently there's a link between eating/drinking and speaking. If you can chew gum or take a few sips of water while talking then you can try that.

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Fuzz   

Being passionate about a subject makes it a helluva lot easier to get up and speak before a large group. As others have said, take your time and don't rush. Pause to collect your thoughts (or for effect as some have said), as it is better than um-ing and ah-ing. Don't stare out into the dark. If you can, pick out individual people in the audience and speak as if you were only talking to them. Easier to talk to a few people, than to an audience of 1000. Keep things simple. Carry nothing but flash cards if you need them. Relax. Don't stand like a statue, but also try not to talk with your hands. It can be distracting. Most importantly, don't worry about making a fool of yourself. People with a wider audience than yours, make fools of themselves everyday, and the world keeps turning. Just enjoy yourself and have some fun.

I remember back in my old company, I was given the opportunity to take classes on public speaking and personal development. Each week we had to write a 4-5 minute speech to present to the class (about 50 people), and our fellow students would critique our speech. Our final assessment speech was to be 15-20 minutes and be presented in front of over 200 people, including several senior executives. I decided my topic was of course on Cuban cigars. Apparently, I gave such a good speech that I was told by one of the execs that he wanted to go out a get a cigar, even though he is strongly opposed to smoking. I credit it to being passionate about the subject and not caring that I may make a mistake.

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I tend to get nervous in public speaking sometimes, too. What works for me is genuinely not giving a f*ck. Which is hard, but achievable.

I spend as much time as it takes beforehand fully and vividly projecting the worst case scenario, then looking at it and realizing - so what? It can't be that bad. I'm not gonna lose my job or my family. No one is gonna die. Whatever the worst possibility is, is OK.

So then I can just go talk and not give a damn. 

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99call   
8 hours ago, Williamos said:

. The content of what I'm going to say isn't the problem, it's the...fear of public speaking,

 

HHHmm, I would argue this is a slightly conflicting statement. As in my personal experience the two are weaved together.  Being an expert doesn't necessarily guarantee you the ability to communicate that. 

I find the key to success is visualisation, (much like what sportsmen talk about). If you visualise how you would like it to go i.e. 

- To be cogent, clear, audible

- To give genuine insight, to deliver the expert knowledge you have been employed to give

- To engage, and let the audience add value, through their involvement

- To show something of yourself, your humour, personality allow the audience to feel comfortable with you. If you confess your human, and nervous, people and generally pretty caring and also have empathy, this might create a rapport etc

I think through these points, one realises there are things you can do to prepare, and to ensure you have all to tools at your desposal, when you take the stage. 

Also, in terms of minimising undue fears, mentally read back to yourself all the daunting things you've achieved in your life, and you'll realise standing on a stage, in front of people who are 99% probably want to hear what you have to say. is actually not that daunting. In short you've overcome much greater odd already.

I find picking a few people out in the crowd to talk at, very useful. they may look at you as if to say "why are you talking at ME" but, it just acts as kind of acts as anchors of normality. By doing this, your not manically gazing over a whole crowd, your just intently engaging three to four individuals. BUT, to the crowd it will appear your engaging everyone. (Ha! just make sure those three people aren't sat next to one another)

The worst public speakers, are tenuous Woody Allen types, who get flustered. This often happens because they have a versed complex essay in their head (or on paper), but the reality is, you don't have to have to say a great deal. If it's power point based? often the images are you're prompts, and you know what you want to say. Difficulty comes when you make it too timed, too ridged/rehearsed. 

Lastly, confidence is something you can decide to have. Many will tell you they just are confident people, but the truth is sometimes the only difference is a touch of arrogance. I'm personally not an arrogant person, and am not fond of people who are. Later in life, with things like public speaking (and similar to yourself having apprehension about it) I basically just said to myself "bugger this!!!, this IS going to go well, I'm going to ace this"..........and it just does. 

The very best of luck, but I don't think you'll be grand.   And if it does turn to poop, you'll just be one of the 99% of people that have given a less than amazing piece of public speaking. myself included.

 

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99call   
8 minutes ago, Nekhyludov said:

I tend to get nervous in public speaking sometimes, too. What works for me is genuinely not giving a f*ck. Which is hard, but achievable.

I spend as much time as it takes beforehand fully and vividly projecting the worst case scenario, then looking at it and realizing - so what? It can't be that bad. I'm not gonna lose my job or my family. No one is gonna die. Whatever the worst possibility is, is OK.

So then I can just go talk and not give a damn. 

I like this............a lot,     Hats off dude!   so true

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Blazer   

I always used to practice in front of the mirror before giving a speech. It not only helped me get down what I wanted to say, but also helped me to understand what I looked like when delivering the information, which is as important as the words you are delivering. Focus on your facial expressions and hand/arm gestures and use them as well as voice inflection to communicate the most important points in your talk. I always preferred having either a note card with bullet points of topics I wanted to cover rather than having a fully written speech. One thing I've found about public speaking is that most people are nervous about it, whether they admit it or not, and most audiences recognize how nerve racking it can be up there. Just be professional, make a strong effort and your audience will appreciate your speech! Good Luck!

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garbandz   

 Just remember, you are the expert, you enjoy reaching out to others, and if you imagine your audience sitting there in their knickers, it will be much easier.

 

Unless you are addressing a nudist colony...............:moon:

There is your "ice breaker", make it an opening joke............;)

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mi000ke   

Some good advice above on how to give/construct a speech, but that may not specifically address stage fright. (by the way, one of the things I do to relieve my own tension is to engage the audience early on with a question - "By a show of hands,  how many ....?"   and then have a humorous response prepared.)   In your case, I think some solid self-affirmation is called for.  

Keep in mind that the attendees want to be there to hear you speak and to watch your film.  They want to be there. They are predisposed to liking you, interested in what you have to say, and want you to succeed. Remember this!  Repeat: They like you and are interested in you and your film.  So  relax - you are speaking to 1000 of your closest friends!   

Best of luck!

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soutso   

Being nervous just means that you care. That is a great start.

There was a comment earlier about doing it in front of your wife. (Lol) That is actually a great start but go little further with it. Deliver your speech to someone you know but deliver it in an exaggerated and almost silly manner. Kind of like the late, Steve Irwin but on steroids. Get out of your comfort zone. Really ham it up in any way you can. 

You will feel foolish at first but very quickly, you will get used to it. It's amazing how quickly you will adapt. You will be out of your comfort zone and just that little bit stronger to take them on, on your big day.

Best of luck and please keep us updated of your success. 

 

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The group in front of you arrived because they want to be there and see what you have to offer.

You do not have to speak for 4-5 minutes, which is a very long time.

Welcome. Where, when and perhaps how a fun unexpected thing happened.

In my family, a couple of us give public speeches every now and then so I can relate, brother.

Best of luck and congratulations!

CB

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El Hoze   

Some good advice. I have to speak in front of large groups frequently. I always think to myself that I have nothing but upside. I personally don't remember "bad" presentations, but I do remember and make note of good ones. I assume my audience is much the same way. 

Also, and this is a personal thing, I don't prepare a script or overly prepare. I kinda know what I want to say because I do this stuff all day... but kinda just wing it. It keeps me more relaxed that way. (Though others may find the opposite) 

Lastly, there's a reason you're the guy in the front of 1,000 people. People clearly value what you have to say and you've already earned a level of everyones respect simply by being the guy up there.  No need to change anything now! 

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83Nation   

First thing to remember, you sound worse in your head than in the crowd! Second, speed is the issue most people have because when you get nervous, you will naturally talk faster. Take some deep breaths and relax yourself. Personally, I would start with a joke about crowd sourcing advice from FOH on public speaking to engage the audience and show them that you're human before getting into something you are obviously passionate about.


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First thing to remember, you sound worse in your head than in the crowd! Second, speed is the issue most people have because when you get nervous, you will naturally talk faster. Take some deep breaths and relax yourself. Personally, I would start with a joke about crowd sourcing advice from FOH on public speaking to engage the audience and show them that you're human before getting into something you are obviously passionate about.


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I like that idea, starting off with how the advice from FOH took the edge off my fear of giving this speech! Thanks all for some lovely ideas. I'm going to keep it simple and mainly thank the appropriate people, bookending with a simple anecdote. Things are complicated somewhat by the very recent death of the subject of the film. I do need to convey the right sense of gravitas.

Here's a link to the gig at hand:
http://miff.com.au/program/film/miff-closing-night-gala-the-documentary-of-dr-g-yunupingus-life

Thanks again FOH. I'll let you know how I go.




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