Agony Aunt Agatha #6

Sometimes I need to give a speech in front of the school, but i’m really not good at public speaking. I freak out whenever it comes to speaking in front of a group of people. How do I overcome this?

There are hundreds of different claimed solutions out there to help with the fear of public speaking, but let’s start with the basics: building confidence. Most of it is in the mentality: convincing yourself that you can do it, and reminding yourself that, truthfully, realistically, it’s not the end of the world even if something somehow does go wrong. Try to reason why it is you are afraid. Confront that fear and remind yourself that, while it is unlikely to happen, even if it does, so long as you are able to go on with what you are saying, so long as you are ready to laugh at yourself if necessary and move on, nothing can stand in your way. You did your best. Taking steady deep breaths for a minute or so beforehand or giving yourself encouraging pep talks or mantras to repeat to yourself can also help you to calm down and lower your adrenaline levels. Also, it really helps to be prepared. Be sure to also practice well beforehand so that you can be more sure of yourself; it will not only help you deliver your speech smoothly, but will help to build confidence. Practice in front of your family or friends beforehand if necessary. Sometimes, apathy is another way to help you too! That is to say, you try to make yourself psychologically trivialise whatever speech you’re going to make and tell yourself that realistically, this speech isn’t gonna change anything and it’s just a drop in the ocean of life. Lastly, remember that the audience is there to listen to you! Embrace it. We’re not telling you to picture everybody naked, but remember that everyone out there is your friend. They want to hear you. Besides these, there are many more tips you can find out from your teachers (especially PW teachers) and the Internet, including small physical exercises or psychological tricks to help you, so be sure to look around if you can! All the best, I believe in you!

 

I’m socially awkward and don’t know where to start when I’m in a group of people. How do I start interacting with them?

Start getting comfortable with small talk. It’s usually a good way to break the ice, and hopefully get things growing from there. Don’t let any negative thoughts pop into your head when you are interacting them. (Such as “Am i saying the right thing? Should I start to talk now?) It is always a mental battle before you open your mouth and your first words pop out (which may not be the smartest of things). So push all of such thoughts to the back of your head and follow your instincts. Perhaps starting with simple common topics such as playing the same mobile game or sharing the same favourite food may potentially be a conversation starter. There are hundreds of conversation starter suggestions you can find on the Internet at your disposal to browse. Try to imagine someone asking you the same question, and think of how easily you might respond. You can always try directing a question from a broad topic at one person, on the opposite side of the circle, that will hopefully strike up the interest of others and have more people join in!

 

If it is a group of people that you have never met before, an easy conversation starter is always to inquire about the basic information, such as name, school, family etc. Something relevant to what is going on at the current time. It always gets easier when you find a common ground and build on that. Don’t let the conversation stop there, though. Always have a comment, remark, question, or pleasant opinion to share afterwards to keep the conversation going, such as, ‘Oh, I’ve heard your school is really good at sports!’ or ‘You have a really interesting name, what does it mean?’ At the same time, make sure to keep it casual and easy, and to read well into others’ responses to see if they like where the conversation is going. Try to keep the talking 50-50, and invite others to keep the conversation going! Give prompts where necessary, and be encouraging and friendly.

 

However, it is important to get a good group of friends that you can easily mix around with and are comfortable with. If you do feel socially awkward with the group, it may be a sign that you cannot easily relate to their chosen topic of conversation or connect to them, and you should probably find other groups that share the same tastes. Don’t worry, there will always be people out there who you will be able to bond well with! Just don’t be afraid to look for them, and you will find them.

 

I really like this person but I genuinely don’t think I stand a chance. He’s so good at everything and I heard that he might like someone else. What should I do?

First and foremost, remind yourself that just because you like someone, it does not entitle you to a similar interest on their part. It is not expected that someone will like you back, just because you like them. At the same time, don’t demean or belittle yourself. You have your own strengths and talents, and you deserve someone that readily recognizes that about you and appreciates you just the way you are. Don’t count yourself out just because you think he might be ‘out of your league’.

 

You can’t stop yourself from liking someone, but you also can’t stop someone from liking someone else. You also should not be expecting anything unrealistic, nor should you disregard the commitments and risks you should know by now that comes with having a relationship at this age. However, at the same time, there is nothing stopping you from trying. There is nothing stopping you from trying to get closer to him, and to at least for now, build up your rapport as friends. Get to know him a little better, establish yourself in his life, and see where your chances really lie and if this is what you really want. Don’t be discouraged simply because he may like someone else (unless he is already in a relationship with them; don’t be a homewrecker!) and don’t put him on a pedestal just because you admire his talents. He’s human, just like you, and probably, he’d like to get to know you too so long as you bring out the best in yourself and try to be his friend! Don’t expect too much, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a chance. Always keep your priorities in mind. I wish you the best of luck.

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