• He speaks in starts and stops. He makes an odd clicking sound as though to mark a break between the end of fleeting thought and the beginning of a segmented sentence. He is nervous, though I don't know why. It makes me anxious.
  • She pauses for open-ended questions. She asks questions in a way that suggests correct answers, but perhaps she's just looking for agreement from us. I feel uncomfortable in the silence that follows one unanswered question, so I reply.
  • She speaks quickly. She yells until her voice is hoarse; it hurts my ears. She speaks with a lot of pronouns. I listen for as long as I can, but almost subconsciously zone her out when her ideas all begin to blend together...
  • She speaks with a lot of "stuff", "and like", "things like that", "you know what I mean?". I lost what she was trying to say.

How do I come across as a public speaker? I listened to myself speak. I projected my voice and tried to speak authoritatively; I noticed that I have a pretty low voice for a girl that barely stands over 5 ft. tall. I spoke very quickly because I get impatient when others around me speak too slowly. Can they understand my words though? Their faces were expressionless. One woman smiled when I made eye contact with her. How nice of her. One man remained stone-faced, as though he was critiquing my every word in his head. I avoided his gaze. I told a few jokes; they laughed. Did I gesture too wildly? I wanted to command their attention to me, I was afraid that I would disappear if I stood too still. I wanted my hands to frame my words -- I admit, I'm self-conscious my English when I speak. Did I smiling enough? I needed to concentrate on my sentences, or else my mouth would run off so quickly that my head cannot keep up. I smiled. Does my smile look fake? I should think of happy thoughts, maybe that will help. 'Stop apologizing,' is what I tell myself instead. Say 'excuse me', it's more ambiguous. Nod. Raise eyebrows. Oops, I said "like". And then I said "rep". Maybe it was OK, there are a lot of high school kids in the crowd. I ended on a faster pace than ever, my ideas now seemed unrelated except for the fact that it's everything that I wanted to squeeze into the end.

They applauded. They thanked me. They went on their way.

Constructive criticisms are appreciated.

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