overcoming public speaking

I have to be honest: I am pretty chuffed with myself. Like super chuffed. Last week, I had to do a group presentation at uni as part of our final magazine project in front of two of my tutors and another group. Aka my worst nightmare. Considering back in my first year at sixth form I stood up to read some stuff out with another girl in my English class and ended up crying and running out the room, I was pretty worried about this one. We had known since we started the course back in September that a presentation would eventually come up, and I had been dreading it all year. I get all the horrible physical effects: face = beetroot, pits = Niagara Falls, legs = jelly. Not to mention feeling like you’re going to faint, cry and possibly pee yourself all at the same time. I’m not even exaggerating. I know logically that presentations are no big deal, but my pesky fight or flight instincts go into overdrive when I have all eyes on me. And I know I’m not alone, millions of people out there get nervous when speaking in front of a group. It’s natural (yet annoying). I really feel for anyone who gets anxious and has to face a presentation. Because it’s hard. Even the word presentation makes me a bit sweaty.

But I DID IT. It’s a revelation. Get the cake.

I am over the moon at how smooth it went, I even managed to make it seem quite professional, too. I remained relatively calm, and successfully delivered my small speech about my virtual reality article (which you’ll find in the Portfolio section of this site). If you had have told me a year ago that I was going to speak aloud in a presentation at university I would have scoffed at you and possibly told you to piss off.

One of the major things that aided in things not going completely tits up was that the day prior to the dreaded performance we did a casual rehearsal in our studio which is where the presentation was going to take place. I cannot emphasise enough just how important run-throughs are. A successful rehearsal not only gives you a confidence boost on the day but it also means that you’ve effectively done it already, just without the spectators. This means that knowing where to stand and when to say your bit is crystal clear in your head, so you have something familiar to work with on the day. However brief, practice is pretty much essential if you want a presentation or any kind of performance to run smoothly. It seems obvious, but it’s a huge step people always seem to skip. So I am very grateful that my group also saw sense in doing a quick run through so that we were all comfortable. The fact that we had rehearsed not only helped keep our nerves at bay but it also meant that we knew what we were doing. And I think this showed, considering our feedback from our tutors was entirely congratulatory and highly positive.

It wasn’t a massive presentation, nor does it really affect our overall project grading, but it went well. It went fab, in fact. And that’s what matters, because it was an enormous confidence boost for me. Whilst some people find public speaking comes naturally to them, for those of us who are a little more self-conscious overcoming a presentation is a big deal. And if you go for it, that should be celebrated. Each little hurdle helps you grow and that’s what this life thing is all about. So this presentation went well and I’m proud of myself for that. To some it may be nothing, but to me it’s an achievement. Woop woop.

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