I can still remember doing anything and everything possible to get out of a presentation in high school. I hated them. Walking up to the front of the room was the worst. I could feel my face turning red with every step. My voice would get caught in my throat, my words would get lost in my head and time seemed to slow down. I didn’t matter that I would practice the presentations over and over; the day of was always horrible.
Then in college I had to take a public speaking class to graduate. I decided to just get the class over with right away first semester, but I was scared out of my mind. We each had to pull together about four different types of presentations throughout the course of the semester and I’m pretty sure the first one was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. Our professor counted and announced the number of times you said “um” or “like” and I was horrified with myself. Have a heart, lady! But you know what? Each presentation got better.
It’s been eight years since that class and now I give presentations for hundreds of families throughout the year for my job. I run training sessions for co-workers and I’ve provided educational workshops for various professionals. In fact, last week alone I gave 4 presentations, each 1 hour long,.. and I liked it. It’s weird how things can change like that, isn’t it?
Over time I’ve learned how to project my voice and I’ve drastically cut down on my filler words (like those pesky “ums” and “likes”). I’ve learned how to properly transition from one topic to the next and I’ve even started building PowerPoint & Keynote presentations to be used for large events across my office. It’s funny how something I spent so long trying to get out of ended up being one of my strongest professional skills. Growing up is funny like that.
PS- 7 tips to rock a solid speech (and where I found the above photo)