Wednesday, 4 June 2014

We have to talk!

Hey guys!

Well, in general, I never liked having to give a talk. If it was in a group or alone (which was obviousely even worse). When I had to do it at school, I hated it. I was well-prepared, that was not the problem. I think it was the faces which kind of stared at me (which feels much more intense when standing in front of the class, right?). Faces of people who expected me to speak properly, know my topic, be organized and be at least a little bit entertaining. And then there was the thoughts, that if I failed, I would have to be among them till the end of the lesson and make myself look foolish. I thought. Also, there was the teacher who expects even more than the classmates and is about to grade your performance. The teacher who you don't want to be worse-rated by, even though you had been well-prepared.

When I had to step in front of my class and give a talk, I remember forgetting all the words I composed and always having to stare at my presentation or on my sheet of paper to be able to continue with the next sentence. After maybe half of the talk, I normally started hyperventilating. I didn't have to abandon the whole talk but I had to take a little break, suggested by the teacher, to get my normal voice and breath back and to not sound like being about to cry in a second. In front of the whole class. Wonderful. Oh, I don't have to mention the colour of my face, right? Tomatoey red.

I think, those experiences made me really anxious about talking in front of people and I always felt very uncomfortable and insecure.
BUT I have the feeling that since being at uni and having given some group talks (in British and American Studies), I'm calmer and not as insecure. I mean, I'm still not great at presentations and talk in front of people..like talk properly and I still don't love them BUT I think, I'm getting better at it and the hyperventilation has gone. Take baby steps.




Actually I have to give a group talk tomorrow again. To feel good and well-prepared, I did satisfying research, wrote my bullet points on a piece of paper to structure my talk and to not forget something, and I have transferred them on middle-sized file cards. I will now practise my part of the talk once or twice and that's all I can do really. I figured, worrying about forgetting something or getting disorientated during the actual talk makes everything harder and increases the probability of actually failing.

I'm sorry, if I scared you now. That was absolutely not my intention. I just wanted to say, do good research, prepare well, practise your speech and relax. You won't die and it's not the end of the world, even if something goes - let's say - not the way you planned.
Be confident and you'll make it. I believe in you!
Tell me about your experience in the comments :) Do you have any tips on how to improve in giving talks?

Good luck for your next talk (especially to those of you who feel like I do)!!!

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