I thought I would never have to put together another presentation after high school since I was going into computer science. I faked my way through any presentation in high school by simply reading from my paper and hoping my teacher would be kind enough to give me a 70. This strategy seemed to work and I made it to post-secondary, never expecting to write or present anything ever again. But here I am, five years later, and I am required to deliver a presentation to an entire classroom.
I know I need to practice my public speaking skills. It’s never been easy for me to speak in front of an audience bigger than my group of friends. I always pictured myself working in a field where I would never need to know how to present my ideas to a large audience. The words that people would use to describe me were ‘quiet’ and ‘shy’ throughout most of my life.
I have spent almost five years in university now. As I have grown and started to come out of my shell, I am now excited about the possibility of performing in front of an audience and for my audience to be interested in what I have to say.
I want to be someone that has something meaningful to say.
I have started to open my mind to new opportunities and challenges for a very simple reason. I want to continue to grow. Growth comes from pushing yourself past you comfort zone, so you can get experience in new areas and hopefully become comfortable within this new territory.
I had this mentality when I enrolled in this course. I new I would have to speak in front of others and write in various genres. It’s all experience towards a stronger self, almost like a video game, crunching to the next level.
Then comes the TED talk, and I convince myself to embrace it.
To prepare for the TED talk, other than doing research on my topic, I went through an exercise that I’ve used in the past to defeat anxiety.
The idea is to focus on everything that is happening in a very logical and honest sense. You focus on exactly what you are feeling, hearing and seeing. You focus on what you are doing and what others are doing. You focus on your environment and what is happening around you. Then you identify all of these things and force yourself to feel at peace with what is occurring. All you are doing is identifying what is happening and removing any positive or negative labels.
I used this technique, but I applied it to what could be happening while I am in front of the class. Mentally going through all of the possible feelings and occurrences during the presentation helped me prepare for how to respond.
My preparations are complete and it’s time to defeat TED.
When it was finally my time to talk, there was still a bit of anxiety and my heart was racing, but I new this was going to happen. I continued with my research and slowed my speech, and everything seemed to turn out fine. With a solid team at my side, our presentation ran quite well.
In the end, the TED talk was a success and I really enjoyed the feeling of accomplishing something that I wouldn’t usually consider easy.