Nervous? Try These Tips for Speaking Up in Class

There are plenty of students who have absolutely no problems with speaking up in class and asking all kinds of questions or sharing their comments and thoughts. But there are also many students who don’t speak up in class, even if they want to, because they are nervous, scared, shy, or don’t want to be the center of attention. Not speaking up in class could mean you miss out on important class discussions and/or misunderstand something because you are afraid to ask questions. In fact, an article in the University of Washington’s paper, The Daily, talks about why speaking up in class may actually teach you more and help you get more out of your education.

  • Don’t be nervous. Even if it’s hard, try your best to not be nervous. Being nervous may make the situation harder and cause you to stutter, not say what you wanted to say, or draw a blank. While that is okay, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if that happens, try to not think about it too much, and just go for it the next time. Have confidence in what you are saying and don’t apologize for being nervous, as it’s likely that no one even noticed it.
  • Be polite. When speaking up in class, whether it is to ask a question, make a comment, or state your opinion, be sure to speak appropriately. Raise your hand and never interrupt anyone when they are talking. Always respect the comments and opinions of professors and other students, even if you disagree with them. It is okay to disagree with others and state your points, but it is not okay to personally attack or ridicule others for their opinions or thoughts.
  • Speak loudly and clearly. Be sure that when you do raise your hand to add to a discussion, share thoughts, or answer a question, that you speak loud enough for everyone to hear and so that you do not have to repeat yourself. Since the attention will be turned to you, it is also important to keep posture in mind. Sit straight up in your chair, and be sure that your hands aren’t covering your face and mouth so that you may speak clearly.
  • Don’t give up. So you’ve stuttered and went blank before when you’ve spoken up in class. Chances are no one really cared about it as much as you did, so it is important to keep trying. Speaking in front of other people is a legitimate fear and like anything else in life, the more you practice at it, the more comfortable you will become with the action. Keep trying to speak up and don’t let little blunders get the best of you – it will get easier.

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