Be a More Confident Public Speaker
How to Be Confident When Reading Out Loud in Class
Every so often, your teacher might like to call on a random student to read out loud in class. This is supposed to ensure that you and your classmates are paying attention and engaging with the material. However, getting up to read can be nerve-wracking, and getting nervous about being put on the spot can actually make you distracted in class (and thus backfire). If you make sure you’re comfortable with the reading beforehand, practice every now and then, and relax your body and brain, you’ll sound cool and confident when you’re inevitably called upon.
Building Confidence Through Preparation
Know you’ll be called upon to read aloud at some point.Written language is the best system humans have ever devised for transmitting knowledge.Naturally, your teachers will want you to show what you’ve learned. In English and Social Studies classes, you do most of your learning by reading—so these are the most common classes to read aloud in.
- However, you can be asked to read something for the class in any subject, even gym. Try to accept this, and prepare for it instead of dreading it.
Do your reading before class.The best way to look prepared is to be prepared. If you’ve read a passage even once, you’ll have a much better grasp of it than someone who’s never looked at it before. Better yet, read the passage through twice, reading quietly to yourself the second time, if you think you might be called on soon.
- Take good notes. You’ll retain information even better once you’ve written it down.
- Look up unfamiliar words. If you’re reading out loud and get stuck on a big word you didn’t know before, it can break your flow and mess up your confidence.
- Similarly, use a pronunciation guide or look up the pronunciation online if you’re unsure how to say a word.
Practice in the mirror.If you have extra time one day, bring your textbook to the nearest reflective surface and read out loud to yourself. You’ll be able to check your own posture, and even practice looking up to make eye contact with yourself.
Practice with a friend.If you have a study buddy, take turns reading important passages to one another. Take breaks to offer constructive feedback. Does your friend not know what to look for? Check in with these questions:
- Was your voice clear enough? Is it the right volume? Did it sound timid or confident?
- Does your body language help you seem more prepared? Are you slouching or standing tall?
- Were there any glaring mistakes (like skipped lines or extremely mispronounced words)?
Don’t expect perfection.Reading out loud can be stressful, and you probably want to do a good job. Still, no one expects you to sound like you’re part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Don’t sweat it if you don’t sound flawless. Just do your best.
Reading with Confidence
Pay attention.In classes that require reading aloud, be alert. If you get called on several times and don’t notice, you’ll start the reading off flustered, which is not what you want. Stay sharp and be ready.
Smile.You will seem prepared and confident if you react promptly. Smiling will hide a look of surprise, if you’re worried about that. Not only that, but smiling will make you feel just a bit more confident—the movement fools your body into thinking it's happy.Also, you probably want to get this over with as fast as possible, so get started fast.
Take a deep breath.Don’t sigh or make a gasping noise. Just make sure you’ve got a nice flow of air coming into your lungs. Stressed-out people tend to breathe more shallowly, but if you do that, your voice will sound choked. If you’re getting scared, try to breathe in for 3 to 5 seconds, then exhale smoothly.
Start reading.Check that you’re at the right place in the book, and go for it. As you keep reading, you will probably feel yourself growing in confidence, which is great! Focus on the words, and check in with yourself every so often.
- Monitor the volume of your voice. Make sure you can hear yourself speaking, but don’t scream.
- Check your speed. Do you tend to talk really fast when you’re nervous, or slow to a drawl? Try to even it out a bit if so.
- You can throw in some emotion if you feel ready to do so (and there’s emotion happening in the text).
Maintain eye contact if possible.You’ll have to look down at the book, of course, but if you feel up for it, looking up at your classmates can make you seem more confident.If you can't handle eye contact, go ahead and focus on the text.
- Read to a friend in class who knows you're nervous. They can nod, smile, and give you other clues to assure you that you're doing a good job.
Sit down.Once you’re all done, you can sit back down. Try not to flop into your chair or heave a sigh of relief, if you can. Just be proud of yourself for accomplishing something you found scary before! Reading out loud is good practice for all kinds of public speaking, and you just did an amazing job with it.
Dealing with Nerves and Mistakes
Loosen up (literally).If you are scared, your body reacts by tensing. Therefore, it makes sense that manually relaxing your tense muscles will make you feel a little less scared. You can roll your shoulders back quickly, but if that doesn't help, adjust your posture using some of these tips.
- Let your arms hang loose at your sides when you stand. If your elbows are stiff for no reason, let them drop naturally so they hang at your sides.
- Relax your neck. People who are scared or panicking pull their heads back, so letting your head float to a more natural position will help.
- Lift your chin. This will make your voice sound more resonant and you seem more confident.
Think positively.If you feel nervous or fluttery and relaxing your body isn’t helping, try to comfort yourself with encouraging thoughts. Positive self-talk can power you through hard times, so try to concentrate on what you will find most comforting. If you have a mantra that you repeat when you’re stressed, think of that.Otherwise, try these thoughts.
- Picture your classmates as friends from preschool. This will make you feel safer and friendly.
- Remember that no one knows how nervous you are but you.
- Remind yourself that if you do a decent job, you may not be called again for some time because the teacher sees how well you do and moves on to other students who need more practice.
Work through mistakes.No one is perfect, and sometimes embarrassing things happen, even if you've prepared to read. Remember that no one is flawless, and do your best to fix the problem. In many cases, no one will even notice that you did something wrong.
- If you mess up a word, or make another small error, it's okay to go back and correct yourself.
- If you've made another, more time-consuming mistake (like repeating a whole line), push forward as soon as you notice the problem.
- If your body betrays you, and you sneeze or feel your voice crack, try not to make a big deal out of it. Quickly excuse yourself (if you need to) and get back to the material.
Laugh it off.In the worst case scenario, others might laugh at your mistakes. If you hear laughter and you feel comfortable enough to laugh at yourself, go for it. If not, smile your most patient smile and wait until everyone's done.Keep your face as blank as possible, and your poise will be more memorable than whatever small mistake you made.
Don't mention it.It's a blessing that your reading in class will probably not be the most interesting part of anyone's day, including your own. If you don't want to talk about your performance, that's okay--you don't have to bring it up as a topic of conversation. Just do your best to move on with your day.
- If anyone brings it up or tries to tease you, and you don't want to talk about it, switch the conversation to something easier. "I thought that reading would never be over, just like that video series we're watching in Spanish! How many more episodes could there be?"
QuestionHow do I prevent myself from shaking when I am nervous?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBreathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and breathe out for four seconds. Calm your mind, and focus on your breathing rather than any possible bad outcome of the situation.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when my teacher calls on me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStand up instantly without fear or trembling, take a deep breath, read slowly and calmly and read out loud.Thanks!
QuestionWhen reading out loud in class my heart rate spikes and I have a shortness of breath. How do I overcome this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPractice reading out loud around your friends and family until you are more comfortable.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if I'm reading in front of the entire school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBefore you get on stage, find your friends in the audience. Then read as if you were practicing for them.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if other kids tease me for my poor reading skills?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSimply ignore them. A big part of being able to read out loud is to have confidence, and if you let critics shatter your confidence, your speaking skills will not improve. Keep on trying and be proud of yourself for your reading achievements.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I not get embarrassed in front of someone I like?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's hard, but try to stay as relaxed as possible! You may make mistakes, but if you can play them off with serenity and/or humor, then that's even more impressive than never making mistakes at all.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my hands starts shaking and my heart races while asking a question in public?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust breathe in and out for 4 seconds, and focus on your breathing. Remember that everyone gets nervous, and that one question, even if badly asked, will not dictate how anyone views you. Practice speaking at home in front of friends and family to help you feel better about it. Try speaking in front of strangers on the street, who don't know you well enough to judge you at all. Practice your material, whatever it is, until you feel more confident about your words.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have a problem with a word?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you accidentally say a word wrong, try to cough it off and say the word again. If you don't know how to pronounce a word, just try your best. If you have time to prepare, go to Google and look up the word's definition, then click the volume icon. It should say it out loud -- listen to it and practice saying it over and over.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my teacher gives negative comments while I am reading?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake those comments and use them to get better. If it truly bothers you, tell your parents, who can arrange to meet with the teacher to discuss.Thanks!
QuestionCan practicing out loud with other classmates help my confidence?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
I start laughing when I try to read out loud in class. What should I do?
How can I be confident if I stutter?
I can read well in a low yet audible voice. So when I start reading teachers usually ask me to read a bit more louder.this cause my voice to crack and result in poor performance. What do I do?
- Always be prepared.
- If you're called first, don't worry about it. The sooner you start, the sooner it's over with.
- Imagine that you are in a different place that you feel relaxed to be in. Then try to block out your surroundings, and focus on what you are reading.
Video: How to NOT Get Nervous Speaking in Front of People
Irregular Periods Explained: The Most Common Reasons Your Period IsMIA
15 Best Dressing Combinations with White Shirt for Men
Three-weekly rubbish bin collection to be rolled out in these areas – is yours one of them
Does this mean that UK students are getting brainier
Diksi SpringSummer 2013 Collection
7 Things He Wishes Hed Known Before You Got Married
Mom With Alzheimers Comes Back to Her Son When She Plays the Guitar
The New Hot Trend of Ukrainian Embroidery
18 Gifts to Make Any Mom’s Life So Much Easier
How to Make Water Gel
How to Kill Time in College