I do a lot of public speaking in my profession and what you're feeling is so common...and understandable. I can't tell you how many times I've been 20 or 30 minutes into a speech and have been convinced that someone in the front row thinks I'm an idiot because they have a scowl or seem annoyed. I laugh at that now because, on more than one occasion, the very people I thought were bored came up front after the presentations to compliment me. I try to remember that when I assume someone isn't enjoying whatever I'm talking about. Some people will enjoy it and some won't. I have to keep telling myself that and focus on my enthusiasm for my topic.
Also, even though flubs happen, those of us prone to anxiety or perfectionism tend to dwell on the mistakes rather than the successes. I once had a group of students in an undergrad Italian class snicker when I pronounced a literary character's name in Italian (the character was Italian..and we were in Italy for goodness sake!). They really rattled me and I started going back and forth between the English and Italian pronounciation when the name came up. I decided I wasn't going to give in to a bad audience again. I try to focus on the people who are contstructive and DO want to hear what I'm talking about.
Years later, I was on a group panel and looked down into the audience where a board member had opened a copy of USA Today and was reading it (his face was covered as he held it up directly in front of himself). Really?!? We were only a few minutes in at that point and he kept the paper up there the ENTIRE time. I was able to laugh at such bad manners and I realized it was about him, not those of us on the panel. Because so many people are intimidated by public speaking, I promise you that even if you had a glitch here or there, they were probably sympathizing with you and thinking about how nervous they get when they have to speak in front of a group. The people who wish you well are the ones who matter.
The most important thing is that you got up there and gave your presentation, so congratulations on seeing it through even though you were scared!
Edited by: VIVID8264 at: 2/7/2011 (21:40)
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