If you get anxious during public speaking, remember that the audience can’t tell how stressed you are, even if it seems obvious to you. Studies show that you become more confident by simply being aware of this cognitive bias (the Illusion of Transparency).

If you get anxious during public speaking, remember that the audience can’t tell how stressed you are, even if it seems obvious to you. Studies show that you become more confident by simply being aware of this cognitive bias (the Illusion of Transparency).

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  1. This is true. I just took a public speaking class last semester, and we had to record ourselves when we gave the speech so we could critique ourselves. I was extremely nervous giving the speech, but when I watched the recording, I couldn’t tell even though I knew how nervous I was.

  2. Gonna crush some people’s spirits here but I listen to a lot of presentations and also give quite some myself in my professional environment and I’ve definitely seen presentations where to me it was very obvious that the person was very nervous.

    BUT I’ve also done quite some professional trainings on giving good talks, and most importantly, even if I realise someone is really nervous, it doesn’t bother me at all. On the opposite, it helps me – realising that everybody battles this nervousness and almost no one cares 🙂

  3. What really helped me get over public speaking when I was in high school was understanding the reality of the situation. “I’ll only be up in front of the class for 10 mins” “everyone has to do a presentation too ” what also helped was how respectful everyone else was when I gave my presentation.

  4. This is the best tl;dr I could make, [original](https://effectiviology.com/illusion-of-transparency) reduced by 88%. (I’m a bot)
    > "Individuals often believe their internal states are more apparent to others than is actually the case, a phenomenon known as the illusion of transparency. In the domain of public speaking, for example, individuals who are nervous about delivering a public speech believe their nervousness is more apparent to their audience than it actually is.”

    > Summary and conclusionsPeople overestimate how obvious their emotional state is to others, due to a cognitive bias known as the illusion of transparency.

    > The illusion of transparency affects us in a wide range of situations, such as making us believe that when we give a public speech, our nerves are more obvious to the crowd than they are in reality.

    [**Extended Summary**](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/6mv982/if_you_get_anxious_during_public_speaking/) | [FAQ](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/31b9fm/faq_autotldr_bot/ “Version 1.65, ~165554 tl;drs so far.”) | [Feedback](http://np.reddit.com/message/compose?to=%23autotldr “PM’s and comments are monitored, constructive feedback is welcome.”) | *Top* *keywords*: **how**^#1 **more**^#2 **people**^#3 **transparency**^#4 **illusion**^#5

  5. When you can hear and see the paper in my hand shaking like a leaf to where I can’t even read it I’m pretty sure every person in that damn classroom knows I’m about to have a heart attack and die I swear half the class could probably hear my heart beating like a damn bass drum honestly I’m so skinny I could look down and my chest literally was moving like I just ran a mile talk about not being able to tell there stressed my ass that’s total bs

  6. I do small public speaking events several times a year. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade- and yet, I get mighty nervous every time.

    People are surprised to learn that I was nervous, often commenting how confident I appeared. I fake it every time; sometimes I feel like I live by the fake it until I make it creed.

  7. I remember seeing an Apple keynote presentation for maybe the original iPad. One of the guest speakers from EA came out and liked like he was going to literally die from nervousness. I wish I could find that to see again

  8. I had an experience that confirms this for me. About 15 years ago, I was supposed to receive a minor award at a ceremony of about 300 people. Once the ceremony started, I discovered, to my horror, that I was expected to give an acceptance speech – not just a simple “Thank You”, but a 4-5 minute speech about what the award meant to me.

    I am relatively accustomed to speaking in front of large groups, having given presentations, and such, but not entirely comfortable speaking to that many strangers. In this instance, speaking to this group, without any preparation made me extremely nervous. On top of that, the award given right before mine was given posthumously, to the family of one of the hero pilots from United Flight 93, that was crashed on 9/11. (My “achievement” was not anywhere near in a class with others receiving awards that night.)

    In any event, when I got up to speak, my heart was racing, palms sweating, etc., and I felt like I was stammering and stumbling through the entire speech. I sat down feeling horrible about my appearance. About 2 weeks later, they sent me a recording of the event. After watching it, I appeared perfectly relaxed and entirely competent. If I hadn’t lived through it, I would never have believed that I was the least bit nervous.

  9. Or, use it to your advantage and admit your nervousness to your audience. They want to root for someone, find you to have pathos via being pathetic and listen closer.

    Hitler used the whole ‘my throat hurts, you’ll have to forgive me for being so soft-spoken’ routine in the same manner. Another example is Will Rogers and his purposeful failure to successfully accomplish a rope gag twice. He’d make sure to fail, ask his audience for some patience, fail again then plead for mercy and then make the trick work to wild applause.

    So yeah, I’d go the opposite of the life hack and hang a lantern on your problem until you’ve grown out of your failure, then keep the patter. People eat that shit up.

  10. I dont know, i have seen one presentation, where i could clearly see the dude was super nervous, if i start, choking, cleaning sweat of my forehead, hands shaking,i think the audience can read my body language.

  11. Part of my job is giving some sort of presentations in front of an audience. Sometimes its an audience of five sometimes, 100. I speak in front of our most senior management all the way down to junior operators. Even though I’ve been doing this for years, I’m still the same amount of nervous every-single-time. My trick is to notice the feeling and learn to love it. It wasn’t an easy thing to do but once I started to like being nervous in front of a group of people, presentations went much much better.

  12. I can actually relate to this. I used to be a radio DJ, and was always told I spoke too fast, when in my head it sounded perfectly well-paced. When I would speak at a normal pace, it would sound SLOOOOW in my head. But, once I realized I wasn’t going that slow, I began to feel confident when speaking at that pace.

  13. They can tell when my forehead catches fire and I can feel my heartbeat in my neck. Have I not spoken since I’ve been standing up here. You are blowing it. Eyes glued to a sheet of paper in my hand forcing my self to scan the room to seem normal then right back to the paper.

  14. This also works for those occasions when you can’t shower for a week or more. You just gotta keep reminding yourself that other people can’t tell how stink you are.

  15. I’m reading this as I sit alone pro se in my ex-husband’s attorney’s office waiting on mediation for our divorce finalized 10 years ago. Ex is trying to get custody and child support; I needed to read this as I’m representing myself.

  16. This is bullshit.

    I gave speeches at school and was made fun of how nervous I was.

    I also had to give talks in church as a kid and you were graded based on how you presented the information. Super nervous behavior was talked about.

  17. Fake it until you make it. I have to do a lot of public speaking in my job and I was incredibly nervous for the first year or so but I found that confident gestures and moving around would portray confidence even if I felt anything but. Eventually it moved from faking confidence to actual confidence. Practice makes perfect.

    …..also half a beer before to settle the nerves will do the trick too for those close to panic.

  18. My brain laughs at this advice. I don’t think it’s as bad now, but in high school my face would actually twitch just like the weatherman scene from Drake and Josh 😐 I always joke with my girlfriend that if I were to run for president, I would get on stage to give my first public speech and I would start it off by pulling out a gun and blowing my brains out.

  19. LPT: As someone who would have such horrible stage freight as to black out at the beginning of the speech and “wake up” at the end, ask your doctor about lopressor. It really helps keep my heart from running away from me. This keeps my hands from getting freezing cold which usually leads to me shaking like a dog shitting bones which changes my voice and makes me feel like I’m screwing up big time which just compounds the issue.

  20. I’ll try to remember this next time.. when I am not thinking about how the world is spinning and how my brain lacks oxygen and why my hands are sweating and why I feel like my heart is constricting and I see stars

  21. Oh I can tell when someone is stressed out, and it totally hurts me to the core. Maybe it’s reassuring that people think others cannot notice, but come on we’ve all seen speakers that are stressed.

  22. My uncle gave me some incredible advice when it comes to public speaking:

    When you’re a member of the audience you don’t feel like a whole bunch of people, you’re just one person listening to a speaker, like a one on one conversation. So when you’re in front of others speaking, it’s exactly the same, it’s just a one on one conversation.

  23. I can’t hide the fact my head and neck go bright red like a beacon. And then when I know I’m going red it just makes me redder and I can’t stop it!

    If there’s a lifehack for suppressing that redness or even preventing it in the first place then I’m all ears!

  24. It really does work. I’ve been complimented on how confident I was when inside I was terrified. You just have to act normal on the outside and no one will ever know.

  25. Normal people will accept you being nervous, since that is totally normal. Haters gonna hate.
    Doesn’t matter what you do, nothing will change the opinion of those two groups. Nothing! And ffs if you care about what haters think, you have more serious issues than being nervous at public speeches…

  26. If you are sweaty, shaky, trembling, and stuttering, I (an audience member) sure as hell *am* gonna know you’re uncomfortable. You can’t hide every tick. Not all at once.

  27. My trick is, and it doesn’t work all of the time because it’s not always viable, but if you can hold a conversation with an audience member before hand, try to keep it going right up until you speak, then try to just transition that convo into the speech.

  28. I do lots of public speaking for all sized groups. The key is to pause, breath and collect your thoughts. It’s actually much better for the listener if you pause rather than to rush through your material. It’s really that simple- every time you feel tripped up, nervous or lose your train of thought – just pause for 1 or 2 seconds. If you are comfortable pausing – the audience will be comfortable too- Maintaining eye contact and good body language of course. If you need more than 2 seconds, pause and take a few steps toward the other side of the room and continue from there.

    TL/DR- the key to public speaking is working with the energy of the room and the only way to do it well is to occasionally pause and collect yourself.

  29. I don’t think this is true at all? If you’re the type to get stressed during public speaking, typically you will have obvious tells like stuttering, shuffling on your feet, playing with your hands, a higher pitched voice, etc.

    Unless you’re the type of person that acts completely normal during times of extreme stress, it should be pretty obvious that you’re stressed.

  30. Took a Public Com class and had to give speeches. Best thing I did because even though I’m very extroverted and have no shame. Formally getting up in front of your peers is always anxiety inducing.

    What I learned. What studies showed that after 90 seconds you will level out and be fine and get into the swing of things.

    So nail the opening and kill the speech

  31. Bull. Last team meeting we had a woman talking in front of the whole company. Her hands were shaking and her voice was cracking. However, we all like each other at my company, and she still did a great job. So while we noticed, everyone had nothing but words of encouragement for her afterwards.

  32. Almost true.
    They can tell by looking at the visual cues.

    I was watching someone give a speech and thought to myself “wow they’re nailing this, if be nervous af”

    Then I saw his hands white and shaking as they clutched the paper he was reading from with the jaw strength of a crocodile.

    And then I though “Oh shit, it’s hard to tell if someone’s nervous” (per op)

  33. When doing public speaking, I imagine the audience members naked, sitting down on toilet seats.

    My mom used to tell me in grade school before any declamation, that I should always remember that these audience members poop, urinate and pass gas too and the habit developed from that.

    Making listeners seem more vulnerable than yourself seems to work for me.

  34. I learned this real fast after someone complimented me after. I felt nervous and stumbly as shit but from that point on I realized it was all in my head. Now I lead meetings with 50+ people, half of which are high ranking. Bottom line, it’s true.

  35. Most people don’t actually care what you’re saying or even paying attention. This is especially true in high school and college. Even if they are instructed to take notes for class credit, most people are only listening for key points to write down and don’t even pay attention to the actual person.

  36. One of the things that helped me with my confidence is realizing at the end of the day no one really cares. Instead of taking this as depression I took it with seeing it like playing a multiplayer game but doing everything solo.

  37. I like to look around at most people not giving a shit during other’s presentations. So when I go up there I know most aren’t even paying attention let alone judging me or whatever. Also the people that are paying attention do care and it’s more like having a conversation with them.

  38. Yeah, the audience can tell.

    However I tell students and co-workers one key tip that wasn’t around when I started talking in public.

    No body cares because they are all in thier phone.

  39. This is completely untrue. As a former teacher who evaluated people’s ability to present you can pretty well instantaneously tell when someone is anxious

  40. I didn’t know this was an official thing, but it describes how i basically have managed to keep my shit together as an adult. It’s kinda like “fake it till you make it” ( pretend like your confident and maybe you’ll become confident), but it’s more specifically that I’ve learned to put on a poker face. No one knows that I’m twisted in knots. It’s so effective that now i have to work it back, to ensure that i don’t come off as either overconfident or disinterested/aloof – so that new angle just adds to the anxiety that simmers beneath the surface. Some day maybe I’ll learn to emote like a normal person – is that’s even a thing.

  41. Actual LPT: The audience will know if you’re anxious or nervous but they don’t care. I’m not in the audience because I care if you get nervous or anxious or not, I’m in it because I’m interested in what you have to say or present, if you’re anxious it just means you actually care about doing a good job which is great. Make sure you’ve channeled that energy into making the best presentation/lecture/tutorial/sales pitch you can.

    In my experience addressing the actual reason for anxiety during public speaking is more useful, if you’ve got good content. No one will pay attention to the signs of anxiety.

  42. I dunno, when I’m public speaking I stutter and sweat profusely. If the audience doesn’t notice that then they also aren’t listening to what I’m saying.

  43. Along these same lines one of my favorite theatre directors always told us that if you mess up during a show just keep going. The vast majority of the audience won’t know you messed up or it won’t be as obvious to them as it is to you and if you keep going they will forget. Same thing applies to any public speaking.

  44. Haven’t read the whole thread but came here to suggest… the people coming to hear you are actually rooting for you. People don’t spend their time or money hoping to hear someone suck. They came because they are interested in what you have to share/say. Think about it, in reality their being there physically shows/proves that they are rooting for you.

  45. I’ve never understood the fear of public speaking. My voice is a joy, why wouldn’t everyone want to hear it? Speaking to large groups is the easiest, quickest way I can improve the world and substantially better people’s lives.

  46. No, i believe they know, simply because when I get nervous my speaking ability becomes next to non, I talk too fast or don’t pronounce the word correctly

  47. One of my tricks for public speaking is to tell the audience I’m nervous. This takes pressure off me if I make a mistake.

    Also, after speaking in front of audiences of tons of different sizes, you then learn what mistakes you can potentially make (forgetting your place, long pauses, mistakes in the content) you realize that the audience isn’t going to blame you personally for that stuff. Your pants aren’t going to mystically disappear.

    Lastly, fear of fear itself is a real thing. A close friend can’t speak in public because she’s too scared she will cry, and even the thought of public speaking makes her cry. That’s a bit too self-fulfilling prophecy for me. If you can remember the audience isn’t there for you (moms aside) you really can’t mess up.

  48. From my experience, the audience doesn’t care how nervous you are unless you make it obvious. So if you go in and are like “IDGAF”, then you’ll do just fine.

  49. I took a speech class in college. During my first speech, I was super nervous. Shaking, sweating, voice trembling. It was awful. The professor recorded us from the control room in the back, would record notes and pointers as we spoke, then would show us the video. After my speech, what seemed like hours, I went into the control room and he showed me the recording. In the recording I looked fine, normal, confident. Even my voice sounded fine. Then the video ended. It was like 4 minutes. That’s it? That was nothing. Got a B on the assignment. Ended up getting an A in the class. After that, I’ve been fine with public speaking.

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