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'Do you ever get stage fright?'

  • Comments (4)

There is one aspect of training to be a nurse that never fails to instill me with fear - giving presentations.

According to Jerry Seinfeld, the average person’s greatest fear is speaking in public. This ranked even higher than death which was third on the list.

“So, you’re telling me that at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the coffin than have to stand up and give a eulogy?”.

It’s a strange thought but I know what he means, I also campaign a lot for the environment and I have to give a lot of public speeches. The fear is just terrible.

So why are student nurses expected to be good at public speaking? Will it really help us to be better nurses?

During the course of your training you will be required to give presentations usually lasting around 15 minutes. It is often in front of your peers and often in small groups, but no matter what the circumstances are, no doubt you will be feeling anxious.

How do you tackle the fear of speaking in public? Do you have any tips and advice that could help other student nurses preparing to give presentations?

Let us know.

  • Comments (4)

Readers' comments (4)

  • Personally Ive found the best way to avoid stage fright is being prepared. Know what you're saying and a quick run through never hurts either. I'm usually alright with public speaking mind you, but tend to ramble if I attempt to wing it.

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  • Anonymous

    I have seen people giving talks and I think it is great when they can tell their audience that they are nervous. this can break the ice and help everybody relax.

    I went a Book Festival presentation in my local theatre of an ex next door neighbour who has become a famous London restaurateur presenting her cookbook. She started by saying that it was the first time she had ever been on stage and given a talk and she would either dry up completely or babble on. The audience laughed and she went on to give a very lucid, interesting and relaxed presentation and judging by all the questions and book signings afterwards the audience had warmed towards her.

    I went to a talk on presentation by a well liked and respected an ex-tv presenter who has now started his own school on communications and is author of an excellent book on presentation (in German). Having read his book from which I have made copious notes and recently bought another in English I find all of these useful tools in all aspects of presentations and how to deal with stage fright, what to do with your hands, etc.

    Critically listening to the presentations of others and how they use their technology and on their preparation is also helpful. It is easy to distinguish between the more and the less successful and why.

    Having said all that, you are very fortunate in having this opportunity to practice in front of all your fellow students although I can imagine it is maybe even more daunting in front of your peers. However you are all in the same boat and focusing on your interesting material and sharing your enthusiasm and putting it across to others rather than on yourself and your performance may help. Their feedback, response to your talk and their appraisals will also be invaluable.

    Unfortunately when I was a student we were never had this invaluable opportunity which makes it far more difficult later on if you suddenly find yourself thrown in the deep end regarding your own reactions and unfamiliarity with all the different support materials and equipment.

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  • Adam Roxby

    Hello everyone.

    Thanks for the comments, I'm sorry i haven't had the time to respond. However if you want to see a follow up of this article then head on over to my personal site


    Many thanks

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  • Anonymous

    good breathing and relaxation exercises and the use of the techniques learned may help when delivering a talk, just as they are important singing.

    an open stance, stand tall, shoulders back and chest puffed out shows a speaker who has confidence and may help build inner confidence. showing who is in charge of the situation and material being delivered. steady and well modulated voice, more precise and expansive hand and arm movements to describe something.

    good preparation beforehand and familiarity with all the technical support including lights.

    a more closed and slight stooping stance and figidty hands (and fumbling with notes of equipment) and rather quiet flat voice and tone shows that the speaker is less relaxed giving the audience an impression of defensiveness and maybe impacts negatively on self consciousness and nervousness.

    all easier said than done in such a daunting situation as a large audience, but from observing confident and experienced speakers, may just help. The audience needs to be won over to gain their sympathy. If something goes wrong share it with them rather than trying to hide it! They are all human, normally have a sense of humour, make their fair share of mistakes and can suffer from nerves too!

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