I am that clumsy person who loses things. Last week, I apparently lost my new PointlessBlog necklace, which I absolutely adored and has a lot of meaning to me. I have worn it every day since I got it. Somehow, it disappeared, and I cannot seem to find it anywhere, but I have this feeling that it is waiting to be found. For my presentation, I wanted to wear this necklace so badly because I believe that wearing personal things make me more comfortable.
Now on to the real story. So, I had this presentation on Thursday for literary theory. I had to discuss New Historicism in Hamlet. Because I messed up almost every presentation that I have done in my life, I was quite nervous. The former presentations went not speaking loud enough, to several blackouts and some even included panic attacks. Having only started working on the subject intensively two days before the presentation was due, it was not an ideal situation.
Many people think that my nervousness is just something to overcome because almost everyone gets nervous about public speaking. They don’t understand that the obstacle, like the bar in the high jump, differs in height from person to person. In my case, that bar is so high that I’m on the edge of not even trying to do it because I know I will fail anyway. Additionally, all those tips, such as picturing the audience naked and practising in front of a mirror, do not help in my case. However, this week’s presentation was different. I was nervous, did not take my medicine because it is so aggressive and jumped up and down to get this adrenaline out of my body, but I wanted to do this presentation. I knew what I wanted to say. I was open for it. I wanted to get it over with. So I did.
Getting my way through the presentation with only two silences and some unclear explanations, I am one step further into public speaking. However, afterwards, the lecturer suggested getting help. A few days later, I still do not know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it is a good thing. Everyone here at university is helping and encouraging each other to get the best out of everyone. On the other hand, however, I do not know if I want help. I know it would probably be better to do something about it like going to a workshop or whatever, but I am already improving without all this, so I do not see that there is a problem.
Here is my advice for presentations and public speaking:
1. Be open for it. Do not fight against your nerves. You have to want it to happen in order for it to happen.
2. Know what you want to say. You have to know the text, and roughly knowing what you want to say is not good enough. Write everything down in the right order, read it again and again, and it will be fine.
3. Silences are not necessarily bad. Take a moment to breathe, pick up where you left, rephrasing it, and then move on to your next point.
4. Do not think too much about the audience. Do not start staring, change your gaze continuously. It is not scary to look someone in the eyes. Everyone wants you to do well and no one will judge you if you stop speaking for a moment.
5. Speak with a good pace. You cannot always stop a rapid pace, but please, try. The same goes for a slow pace, if you are talking slowly, you are probably hesitating because you do not know what you want to say. Avoid this.
6. Hope for the best.
I gained. I lost. I gained improvement. I lost the battle not being a good enough public speaker. I will be better next time.