Posted by: unlikelygrad | January 29, 2010

Panic is your friend. Really.

When I was first notified that my seminar was being moved up to Feb 9, I panicked. So much so that I went home, called my husband, and ranted (and cried) for an hour and a half. The panic has subsided somewhat but I am still on edge about this whole seminar thing.

Luckily, I am not new to this whole speaking thing. I know from experience that I almost always panic before I give a presentation–even one I’ve given half a dozen times before. (The panic might be less after the third or fourth time, but it’s still there to some degree.)

There have been a few instances where I haven’t had serious anxiety about an upcoming presentation, and in all cases I’ve ended up doing a terrible job. When I panic in advance, things seem to go smoothly. Thus, I assume that fear is my body’s/brain’s way of telling me that I’d better prepare as much as possible. And so I practice, practice, practice: when I teach people about giving presentations (yes, this is one of the things I’ve taught in the past) I say that you should always practice your entire speech, out loud, at least five times before the actual event.

The good thing for me is that, while I have intense stage fright up until the moment I begin any presentation, once I get going I calm down considerably. I’ve had evaluators tell me I sound like a seasoned pro who’s taught the class/given the workshop/whatever before, even if it’s my very first time. I guess I hide my uneasiness well. All that practice pays off!

Practice run #4 of my seminar will be today, for my advisor. For something as critical as this I’m shooting for 10 times through before the “real thing”.

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