Again I feel uncomfortable when I say wise words or give advice but my own way is as follows:
- Establish rapport with your audience. People are then more forgiving. If the audience is small use names or be a bit personal. You want your audience to listen to you so your first bang is talk about yourself a bit. If I buy something such as a receiver and it doesn't work I go back to the shop but I try first to read the shop assistant's name badge before talking to him/her. They are usually more helpful.
- In face-to-face meetings use mirroring particularly with difficult people.
- When there is a difficult or an embarrassing question you can always say I will come back to you later. PM is a way for an online moderator.
2. As an online moderator (btw a difficult job) you can't use your body because you are not in a video-conference. I have noticed you already use emoticons which is a way of establishing rapport. In addition your audience is multicultural so you need cultural skills. But you are already based in China and I am sure you are aware of it. Politeness, indirect answers.... You have got them all and there is nothing to add.
Dr. J.I., I also agree with your tips, they might be helpful. I can also suggest a wonderful method that I have used myself many times and that proved highly effective. Here we treat the problem from the other end: we don't play down the role of other people, but rather boost our own significance. The method is borrowed by me from NLP and adopted for personal use.
1. Remember a very good teacher whom you admired when you were a student. Lesley should remember a very self-confident teacher!
2. Now you should make a film about the teacher in your imagination. The picture must be bright and clear. You should see the person giving a lesson in their confident way. You should hear the sounds, the intonation, watch the mimicry.
The period of making the film should be pretty long. The film should run in your head for some time, perhaps a couple of days.
3. Now you can substitute the "actor" for yourself. When you see yourself in the film, you should feel elation, it must be a resourceful condition. Now it is you who is giving a lesson and you enjoy that, enjoy your confidence!
4. Now just "jump" into the film, associate yourself with the actress. You are not watching from the outside, you are there in the film. That is you see only the audience just like you see it in reality. Now some feelings will appear and you will enjoy that.
5. The exercise is over, you are ready to face the real audience. And believe me, you will feel quite different! ;)
Morpheus: your answer was so professional it was easy to find out. I am not a psychotherapist. I am a university lecturer but I read a lot about psychology. I was often sceptical of some psychotherapists' professional skills here in Germany. I mean psychotherapy developed particularly in the area related to social issues such as shyness, SAD and depersonalisation not a long time ago. They started to understand a bit more after 1995. I think CBT is successful but cannot be the only way. Maybe it is genetic to a certain degree. We need to stop the vicious circle of avoidance, embarassmentand, shyness ... This is what you called reframing the problem. As far as NLP is concerned it is still not established but we need to find out more before rejecting or accepting sth. The film idea is really great. BTW people who suffer from depersonalisation are said to be in a kind of film. I would love to go on discussing these issues with you but I think we need a special forum or we can email each other. Thanks again. It is great to have you here.
Bianca you mention two important points:
1. Talking faster and faster betrays lack of self-confidence..slow down and speak up. I also remember reading that he put pebbles in his mouth to slow him down when speaking too fast. Do you mind...pebbles??
Now I know more about the pebbles.
2. "Don't look into the eyes of the people ahead of you, but somewhere further back" Could you explain what you mean here? It sounds very interesting.
I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post a reply to my question. These have all been very interesting and helpful to me. From what you have all said I can see that my lack of confidence is something that I can perhaps overcome with time and practice. I know that there are lots of self-help books on the market which explain more in-depth some of the ideas that people here have described here so I think I might take a trip to my local bookshop to see what I can find.
Somebody once told me that the best thing to do when I feel hesitant about something is 'don't think about it, just do it' and I am sure that once I did it, I would be fine after a little while. Most often the thought of something is far scarier than the reality (in my mind anyway!)
Once again, thank you for all your replies. I appreciate your comments very much.
p.s. Morpheus, yes, I do have a strict father!
You are absolutely not the only shy person to wonder about this. I used to be in the running for World's Worst Public Speaker--but one day in my senior year of college, I had a sort of epiphany: the women I was talking to were just students like me, and there was no reason to be afraid of them. It's not that different with your students. They want you to succeed. If you really win their hearts, they'll follow you almost anywhere and forgive you every mistake you make.
That said, there are a few strategies you can try to help with your nerves.
-As others have already said, don't think about how you appear; concentrate on your students and on what you're saying.
-You've said that you feel comfortable working one-on-one with people. Try choosing one student in your audience and speaking only to him or her for a few sentences. Really focus, so the others just "drop out" of your attention for a few seconds. Then choose someone else... and so on.
-Practice. Enlist a friend or family member to just sit and listen to you. It really does help. Be prepared, though: this may not happen to you, but when I did this for the first time, I felt like a total idiot. :-D
-Don't lose hope. It truly does get better.
I wish you the best. Overcoming shyness can be quite hard at first, but the rewards are worth it.