Friday, 25 February 2011


I am a quiet person. I sit in corners, I'm happy to watch. I don't say everything I feel, I will stand at the back quite happily. My biggest fear is public speaking. I get nervous when I am in a large group of people and I have to speak. I'm such a different person around my friends, when I feel comfortable, I can chirp in and relax. But people I don't know, and in large amounts? It freaks me out.
I have a presentation to give in a week. I am nervous already. I know my voice always gives me away. I start shaking and mumbling. I get embarrassed, and I stress out and feel worried. There is no reason. I wish I wasn't such a worrier, I wish I could just be calm and not even care about it. I know that I really shouldn't. I say to myself that it doesn't matter. It's not life or death or anything like that. But when I am up there standing in front of a large group of people, I am a massive wreck. I am an introvert. I will speak when I have something to say, but I won't say it if I don't need to. I don't like putting my hand up in class, or asking questions. I'm quite content with everyone else doing that. I don't like the idea that everyone will be looking, and paying attention to me. It gets my heart racing. Even showing work in a tutorial gets me going.
I have no confidence. And you know what? I have totally gone in to the wrong career for that. Being a graphic designer will involve face to face meetings with people I dont know. Presenting a pitch to a group of strangers. Talking about my ideas with confidence, not shaking with nerves. When I think about these things, I wonder what the hell I have got myself in to. I can't imagine doing that. I'm a writer, I guess. I don't like talking on the phone. Email, yes please. Face to face? I don't think so.
I need to work on this. I feel like my confidence has grown in the past year. Not enough, but still a bit. I can do it. I need to try and remember to calm down. I can say to myself not to worry and just relax. But just by saying that, it doesn't make it happen. I wish I could really believe it. It's hindrance. But I'm going to work on it.
Anyone got any advice? How do you build up confidence? Did you use to be shy? How did you overcome the barriers?
<3 Katie


  1. I'm naturally so shy and timid, I remember back in primary school I had to get my mum to tell the teachers I didn't want to be in one of my school plays because I hated the idea of being on stage, even surrounded by 30 other kids. At school I hated being asked a question in class even if I knew the answer and I'm sure I went bright red every time. When I went to Uni and had to start doing presentations in seminars I decided that I'd had enough of dreading them for weeks in advance. I'm not sure how to explain it, or if this could work for everyone, but I literally just started pretending I was confident. I realised that just by acting like I was confident, people started to take me more seriously and the same things I was saying people now listened to more- even though I wasn't doing any more work, my marks went up and I definitely think it was down to this. Through my job I'm based at a different clients almost each week and have to deal with new (and usually rude/difficult!) people daily and I think that the reason I feel confident now is just having to deal with nervous/awkward situations more and more- essentially practice makes perfect.

    I hope some of that makes sense- sorry if it's a bit waffley. And best of luck with your presentation- really hope it goes well for you :) xx

  2. OMG I was just about to post something really similar! I studied architecture, and in a similar way to you it was completely not suited to a shy person like me. We had to do endless presentations, and I adopted a similar method. Eventually I found that it worked. In public speaking at least, I became the confident person I was pretending to be! I also found that practice makes perfect so don't shy away from opportunities to present. I also found it better to just write a structure of a presentation, with enough notes so I don't forget but no full sentences.
    Good luck!

  3. I am such a shy person too. I used to lose my voice for weeks on end when I knew I had a presentation to give.

    I don't really know what changed but I can do it now. I try to keep in mind that everyone is nervous, whether they show it or not,
    and make bullet points of what you want to say. Always bullet points.


  4. noo! be brave, confident and happy with your speaking! I had a theatre audition a couple of days ago, and i spoke to the woman first and she saw i was nervous but as soon as i did my acting i was fine and confident :) Just think nice thoughts and what it will bring you. Maybe you will start feeling confident half way through, but remember when you finish dont shy off embaressed but keep your confident frame of midn!
    hope that helped, check out my blog? btw am following
    Flossie xx

  5. I'm exactly the same. Try and keep calm before the presentation, don't think about it too much and over analyse it!

  6. The only way to get over things like that is with practice - when you do your presentation it won't be anywhere near as bad as you think it will be and so next time it will be a little bit easier and so on. Like someone else said, the way I get over it is to fake confidence - think of someone you know who exudes confidence and is good at public speaking and just pretend to be them! I can absolutely promise that it won't be as bad as you're expecting, and as long as you prepare a rough outline of what you want to say it will be over before you know it and you will be lots better than you are expecting! You will be fine :)

  7. Catching up on blogs, so I'm guessing you already totally wowed them with your presentation at work! However, your post still really resonated with me, because I've struggled with shyness and confidence issues in the past and would definitely love to share some things that were helpful to me.

    I think that forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and gaining new experiences is the biggest and best way to gain confidence and feel less shy. With each time that you realize "oh hey, I totally did that, even though it was scary," you grow and learn, and it makes handling a similar situation easier the next time. This applies universally -- whether for work stuff, dating, traveling, etc. With each little or big moment of stepping out of our comfort zones, we become better prepared for the next time, and it all has such a wonderful snowball effect from there.

    Looks like you're on your way there, by embarking on challenges like this presentation!

  8. Oh, my, Katie! I read this and tought you were portraying me! I know exactly what you're talking about; I'm like that myslef. Right now I feel very bad because I've just moved to the States (from Argentina) to get married and settle down here in California. I think I should be trying to make new friends and get to know my in-laws in depth, but what am I doing? I just stay at home and talk to no one. I still can't work so you can imagine how lonely I am. The worst part is that I don;t mind that; I actually enjoy it.

    Sorry for the rambling, I just needed to say these words. I've just read your latest post; I'm happy to know you did ok in your presentation! ;) Congrats! I'm sure you'll gain more confidence as you keep speaking in public ;). Best luck, girl! :D