Building Confidence

The end of another teaching block and the start of 3 weeks off. That makes it sounds like I have nothing to do for a month but my list of work assignments will keep me occupied for a good chunk of my time off.

So, what’s new this week? Surely two weeks into the course and I’ll have stopped being surprised. Wrong. This time I’m struck by the amount of presentations that we do every block and they’re not even assessed, just a casual sharing of ideas while we hold up a brightly colour coded mind map in front of everyone. This style of presenting is starting to sink in and I’ve begun to get less nervous about standing up in front of everyone. It’s also flattering when people turn to you and say ‘you’re good at talking about things, you can be the main speaker,’ and although this gives me a bit of a nervous jolt, it’s nice to know that people think I’m confident enough to take over.

The positive effects of doing so many presentations is making me wish that I’d had more opportunities to present in my degree. In three years I think I did three presentations including my dissertation presentation and every time, I had to go back to basics and remind myself of how to do them so that I didn’t run out of ideas or go off on a tangent! Learning how to speak in front of people would have helped so many people I met during my degree years but with it being a science degree, presentations weren’t at the top of the list of skills to learn. A shame when you realise that you need those skills in everyday life; talking in front of a large group of people is effectively giving a presentation; telling a funny story or getting some sort of emotional reaction is all part of an effective presentation but I’ve only learnt that through this Masters.

I know a lot of people who chose their degree modules based on the fact that they didn’t have to do any presentations, me included. If only I had grasped those opportunities to speak in front of people but I can’t go back, I can only embrace what’s happening in my course now and take all the opportunities I can lay my hands on.

When I watch TED talks I’m in awe of how smooth their delivery is; a lot of practice has obviously gone into sounding as natural as they do and hopefully one day I can be on a par with them.

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