Last Thursday, we finally finished our ted talk and presented the talk to our classmates. It was quite a relief after the two-week anxious preparation.
It has been about two years since last time I did a presentation in front of the class. But that time, I did it alone. I was not worried about the draft when I did speeches in my high school, because when I wrote the draft, I was the person who determine the theme, the content, and the voice of the speech. The speech was not forced to contain references or supporting data. It was free to deliver my own thoughts, and show my understanding of the topic as long as the length did not exceed 5 minutes. After the draft is done, it needed to be reviewed by a English teacher. The teacher would evaluate my words and taught me how to improve the draft. The English teacher would also assign some of my classmate to ask some questions related to my presentation. Finally, my speech would be graded and take account into my final grade in the English course.
What is different in the ted talk is that, we actually need to perform as a team. Each one of us is assigned to a specific topic respect to a general idea of the use of algorithm in our daily life. Our first step was to work individually, completing our parts in topics including shopping, security and etc. Before the rehearsal, we had meetings gathering our portions and arranging their order in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of algorithms. However, the performance did not go well on the rehearsal. It was clear that my part was a big reason for the failure of our rehearsal. One reason was that, in my part, the speech contains some words like interest rate and fiscal policy, which were too technical for people who were not familiar with finance. The other reason was the graphs in the powerpoint I used. Not considering the size of the labels in the graph, I made the labels too small for the audience to see and even a little bit distractive. Also, although our topics were all about using algorithms, they are disconnected. So, after the rehearsal, we arranged group meetings to change some of the topics so that the whole speech would be coherent. Instead of talking about finance and sports, we chose the topic in public health, which is more related to all of us.
At the time we were finally going to start our ted talk, I suddenly became nervous and anxious, worrying about forgetting my words and making mistakes. Even though I spend plenty of time practicing speaking and trying to include hand gestures in the talk, my hands got wet and my heart rate increased rapidly like I could hear the beats. Luckily, I finished my part successfully (ignoring my trembling voice), and my teammates did extremely well.
The thing I learnt from the ted talk was not only the techniques of giving a speech, but also the importance of cooperation. Preparing this 20-minute speech, it is a task for us to determine the topics and arrange the order of the talk. If my part does not fit the whole, I would better change my theme to be more consistent with the others’. It is also a challenge to set up a group meeting in the period of midterms. So we need to find the time when everyone is available. Therefore, although more preparation and cooperation are needed for a group presentation, It is still an excellent way of improving our communication skills of delivering the ideas and persuading the audience.