I'm going to a conference in a few weeks together with some of my postdocs and students. Most of us have been asked by conference organizers to present our works in poster form. But one "unlucky" soul was asked to do an oral presentation. She is terrified and considering not going to the conference, even though it is in beautiful Rome! Who would give up a trip to Rome? I tell you who would! Someone for whom 10 minutes of public speaking feel as pleasant as two hours of tooth drilling at the dentist's office.
Well, I can certainly identify with my student's feelings, as I used to be terrified of public speaking too. Once, just before I was to be introduced for one of the most important presentations that I have ever given, my friend had to come find me hiding in the ladies room. Her pep talk for me was: "you know more about this than anyone else in the room". This clicked with me. I straightened myself up, splashed water on my face and gave a killer presentation. Thanks, Karen!
This made me realize the anxiety was in fact, insecurity. That as long as I was confident about my work and my knowledge of it, I could deliver a great presentation. I talked about this in a recent interview with Career Intelligence for a great article by Robin Madell. Click below to read the whole article which has great tips for managing nerves of public speaking.
Let's talk about what tricks you use to manage your nerves before public speaking. Leave your ideas on the comments section. Perhaps one of them might help my student give a great presentation at the conference in Rome.
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Dr. Luz Claudio is an environmental health scientist, mother and consultant, originally from Puerto Rico. She is a tenured professor of environmental medicine and public health. Luz recently published her first book: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. Dr. Claudio has internship programs and resources for young scientists. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect her employer's views.