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When I talk, my brain stops working - (Oct/24/2012 )

I am not a good public speaker and I attribute this to a symptom I have-- when I talk, my brain virtually stops thinking and refuses to prepare the next sentences and deliver them to my lips. This makes Impromptu speech very hard for me. When I need give a talk, I have to basically momorize all sentences I am going to say. Anyone has the same problem and how to overcome it?


i know exactly how you feel! the only solution is a good preparation of your talk and most important, training, training, training, training. maybe you can start with a small audience, 2-3 people of your group, then increase the number. worked for me.


If you are talking about scientific presentation, Knowing work we do and reasoning for many trivial points beforehand gives you edge to talk. Scientific talk is bit tricky one we often could not get away talking philosophy as there are top notch there which are already in field for several years. If you are very sure of all your work result and no doubts, it should not be a problem. And again you have to make yourself to face situation of presentation again and again even if you fail and create bad impression. I suppose nobody talk at first place and got huge applause, Its practice after-all.


Thank you guys! I appreciate your encouragement. Definitely, practice makes perfect. The problem is even in conversation, I tend to have the problem.


If Person is more into lonely life and more into science or special activity he has probably less chance of understanding and conversing topic of general interest. For starting any conversation backup data is most important source, even to come things from subconscious mind this data is needed. Such person should be more into social life then. Giving time to extra curriculum activity, reading some non-academic interest stuff should help.

Please note I'm not judging.


Are you me? It is absolutely necessary that I remember exactly what I'm going to say, verbatim, or I'm disastrous in a presentation. Also, when I have to discuss a figure in a paper, impromptu, I'll just stare at the picture and nothing will register - and I get so confused. It's definitely a form of anxiety, but I've not figured out what to do about it.


I didn't have problem in the speaking alone, but when I looked around at the audience, because my brain gets stalled by too much inputs. So I throw away all those presenting recomendations about audience interactions and for several times, I was just presenting stuff to myself, dived into topic and block out everything else. That allowed me to be able to present at all.
But the more I'm getting experienced this gets more automatic, my mind now registers the audience during my talk on some kind of low-level, so I'm barely aware of that, but I have access to that information, but it doesn't negatively affect my thought-flow. So yeah, again, training can't be bad.


I tend to get tongue tied if I stick to presenting in strictly scientific terms. What I mean is, if I speak how I write (using the most correct and complex terms for things), it feels unnatural and dry. Remember you are up there to tell the story of your research, so you need to be able to engage your audience.

When I give presentations, I try to use the least complicated or "jargon-ish" terms I can, especially as I appreciate that as an audience member. Most people viewing your presentation will not be experts in your field, so you don't want to risk losing them. I'm not at all suggesting "dumbing down", just explaining things clearly without excessive use of jargon.

Definitely practice helps too. Take EVERY opportunity to give presentations, even if it is only to your own lab. Turn your normal lab meeting presentation into a more formal one, as a chance to practice. Encourage your colleagues to give you feedback. When you find out what you are doing well, it will give you confidence for the parts you struggle with.

I don't know if this is any help to you, but just my 2 cents worth!


I really appreciate your useful tips and encouragement. Another interesting thing is I feel I can do better presenting others' work in journal club than presenting my own research. I guess that is how "telling a story" makes a difference. When I do journal club, I can "tell" a story, but not so good at telling my own story.


Maybe the reason is (if you are a newbee) that you don't have your "own" story yet. It takes time before you get in the subject you do enough that you feel confident in it. And once you do, you'll feel confident about it and confident about presenting it. Some people call it a problem you can present something you are uncertain of, but what kind of problem really, you just can't fake the confidence when you don't have it.