This week’s seminar-workshop topics included confidence
and giving presentations. We invited several students to
present the beginning of presentations and posters and created
artificial problems. We then discussed how to work through
the situations, including audience analysis, body language signals
we give and receive, eye contact, audience engagement and
back up plans.
Technical presentations are a key way we demonstrate our
knowledge and skills. It is hard to recover from a weak or
We showed how knowing what to do when things go wrong or
are unexpected is a confidence builder. One follow up question
came, though: How do I remove or relieve my nervousness in
We talked about totally removing nervousness as not really
ever happening even for the most experienced presenters. In
fact it is a good thing. There is level of pressure inducing anxiety
that can set in going from nervousness with higher pressure to
perform. We see it in excellent athletes in competition.
We need to recognize it and understand that there are things
we can do to manage the tension.
Interestingly, I spoke with S. Geddes-Beeching about this
and she provide a terrific reference [listed in comments section]
that led to a helpful link to the work of Hamilton Gregory,
Public speaking for college and career.
Public speaking phobias are among our highest rated fears
and he recommends that they can be managed. To do so, get
help. If the reading and exercises he recommends are not
enough seek out others with whom you can work.
1. identify and confront your worst case scenarios
2. develop your action plans, props and create a nervousness
3. practice your tactic confidently, paying attention to the
audience getting your ideas not focusing on the phobias,
as they will hardly notice.