Public Speaking

I would like to take a poll, and see who is comfortable with giving public speeches.

I voted other. It depends upon the audience. I could give a presentation all day to a local business/club that would give money for the robotics team, but if I was giving the same speech in front of my school, a whole different feeling.

Very true.

I tend to freeze right at the beginning, but once I get over that, I’m fine.

Really depends on what I’m presenting. If it’s something I know, and I’m not at all, Extremely comfortable, in really any audience. If I am unsure about all the details, not so much. Still confident, but not so much. A good example, tommorrow are our business week presentations, and I have three presentations on different material and a commercial to announce. Don’t really know the stuff, but I’m still pretty confident. It’s all about the confidence. If you are more secure than your audience is, they hook onto you, and eat right out of your hand.

Depends on my audience.
If they’re people I don’t know, I get slightly uneasy.
If it’s based on an award, I choke somewhat…but I regain my confidence eventually.
If it’s with friends around me, I’m peachy…

It’s just depending on my audience, and how many people too.
If it’s about FIRST, I’d do one in a heartbeat.

I’m pretty comfortable doing public speaking. For one thing, I am currently in a position in my Scout troop that requires me to speak in front of the troop. For another, I have to give quarterly reports in my chemistry class (and in last year’s science class–biology–with the same teacher.) So I got pretty comfortable because I had to. If you aren’t comfortable, start practicing your public speaking, because you’ll need it somewhere!

97% of the time, I rock out at public speaking. It’s only when I get flustered (like having a robot on tether get tangled up) that things get hairy.

(Oddly enough, for all the public speaking I do, I still was a wreck when on the field at Palmetto. So I guess I should add “and not on the floor of the Colonial Center” to the above.)

when I was in the Coast Guard (back in the last millenia) we had to stand 4 hour radio watches, handling distress calls on the marine radio and making regular mariner notice broadcasts.

Some of the guys were very self-conscious and got easily flustered and tongue tied. An older radioman told me a little trick.

The reason you get self conscious is: when you are speaking you are representing yourself. Who’s voice is that? Yours! Who looks like a fool if you screw up? You do!

the trick is: pretend you are someone else. Don’t be you, pretend you are an actor doing a character - pretend you are Batman, or Gilligan, or Andy Taylor, or any other TV or movie character, who just happens to be reading the weather report on the radio to thousands of people, or talking to a room full of people about robotics, or whatever it is you are talking about.

by doing this, it removes your ego one step from whats going on. If you screw up, its not you that goofed, it was the character

it also throws an element of fun into what you are doing - no one else knows that in your mind you ‘are batman’ - so it takes the pressure off, and you enjoy yourself - its like your playing a game or a joke on the audience, and they don’t know it.

It’s easy for me to stand up, in-front of the crowd and give a speech because I can relate to them as my family and I am giving them my slice of the pie ( meaning opinion or story). And also I am taking a public-speaking course next semester, I believe.

Definitely not a fan of it - I do it if I really have to, but I’ll look for someone else. I choked a lot when giving presentations in college, in a room of 15 people who I was friends with. If it’s an “interactive” meeting or presentation with an informal feeling, it’s alright.

If it involves standing in front of a bunch of people, bleh. If I can sit in my chair and present something - much better… more informal… (do that at work usually).

I don’t often speak publicly, and if I do, it’s usually short. It helps to have something to say that I believe needs to be said. This way, I focus on the message and the audience, not myself.

I was thinking that not many people would choose, “Extremely comfortable,” so I was surprised to view the poll results.

I had to take a public speaking class. I found that I’m nervous in the beginning, but then I start to calm down. And yes, it does have to do with how well I understand the material.

I also found that not making direct eye contact helps. But we got points for eye contact, so I found a way to make it look like I was looking at people. If you look toward people in the back, they can’t tell if you’re looking at them or to the side of them. Over them works too.

Babson requires every student fulfill a public speaking requirement in their freshman year. This is fulfilled across all subjects (business and lib arts classes), and in various environments (different audiences, different styles, with and without media etc).

I saw a lot of very smart people struggle with it my freshman year, but my experience doing presentations for 237 allowed me to get acquainted with public speaking before it counted for a grade, and I am very thankful for that opportunity.

I would suggest to any FIRSTers out there who are nervous about speaking to start off easy, and then move up to the harder audiences. Setup some robot presentations to elementary school children - they are the least likely to be critical of a flub or two.

<warning - marketing content!!!>
We are all FIRST’s best spokespeople. It really frustrates me to see people who are well-regarded in FIRST have very little public speaking or conversation skills. These people are in the minority, but when we have the chance to impress an audience, whether it be potential sponsors, students, or anyone - quite simply, not putting our best foot forward leaves us open to shooting ourselves in the foot. Poor speaking affects relationships: with sponsors, participants, just about anyone, and thus it affects opportunity.

I hope that as time progresses we become more selective in who is representing us to the outside audience, but for now, the best way for the FIRST Community to combat this issue is to get as much experience as we can. It’s a necessary evil, but it can be learned…and baby steps are the best way to ease into it. There are lots of tips out there (such as what SciGuy mentioned about eye contact), and it’s a great idea to post them. Good luck!

I am pretty comfortable with speaking to an audience, but there is a little period of nervousness, like 5 mins before I start, but I get over that once I get started.

A good tip would be to project your voice…and like SciGuy said, make eye contact. Also, I find that you should use a level of diction appropriate to your audience…ie if you are presenting to students just getting out of elementary schools, you don’t want to use words too big. Another tip would be to keep a bottle of water with you, just so that you don’t lose your voice.

And if you have been in a band/choir/plays, etc. and have performed in front of an audience, you wouldn’t feel as uncomfortable speaking to them.

My last tip would be: just take it calmly, if you mess up, just pick up where you left off…

Hope this helps; Good Luck to those presenting

I love to public speak! This weekend I am gearing up for a gavel debate on the floor of the Wisconson State Senate in Madison in front of close to 600 people.

If you practice before you speak and run the speech in front of a mirror (it sounds cheesy but it works) you will be fine… you can also watch the foreheads of the people you are speaking to, they think you are looking at their eyes but you really aren’t.


I find that I am nervous, but it doesn’t affect me much. I have a naturally loud voice and my accent isn’t that strong (I hope), so I don’t worry about being heard. However, I do have quite a tendancy to make asides that confuse people, see, I’m very random, like a elementry friend of mine told me that once I dropped a can of soup, and we started talking about nuclear weapons as a result. I don’t actually remember this, but I have no doubt it happened. So, if I’m giving a science presentation it always ends up as a discussion of: nuclear stuff, chem or bioweapons, narcotics, Red vs. Blue, computers, cars, explosives, or any other highly technical or dangerous subject. So, in short, don’t ever ask me to do a science presentation unless you like confusion, but anything else I’m goog on.

Im pretty good at it, as Drum Major…I’m used to being in front of my peers (150 at a time) and a couple thousand people at a game. If I have no idea about the topic my speech is on, Ill get a bit nervous, but I manage.