Public speaking is possibly one of the most common fears. If your friend has issues with public speaking they are not alone, but of course people can be affected more than others. It can be quite crippling for some people.
Some of the suggestions you can make to your friend to help them include:
- Offer to let them rehearse in front of you. Suggest this will be good practise and you’d like to hear the presentation. Rehearsal can help them go on autopilot when they get stuck, and to get the timing right
- Suggest that they have some unobtrusive cards to jot down a few points that they can refer to if they get stuck.
- Suggest they wear something comfortable so that they can feel relaxed.
- Sometimes your friend may be worried about blushing, if so, you can suggest they wear a high neck shirt etc that covers more skin.
- Remind them that people are more interested in thinking about the information they are hearing than thinking about the person delivering it.
Dealing with questions from the audience/tutor/group members
Some people can ask difficult questions and if your friend is worried about this there are some key tips.
- Thank the questioner for the question, praise the question.
- Try and agree with some element of the question.
- Avoid getting defensive and don’t argue with the questioner.
- If you don’t know the answer to the question, say you don’t have that info at your fingertips at the moment but that you can find that out for them. If they are a stranger suggest catching up with them after the session to get their details. It may also be that you haven’t investigated this aspect as part of your study, and so this is a legitimate response to the questioner, and to say we may investigate this at a later date.