“…and our next speaker is…”

Slowly but surely, my first oral presentation at a national conference (and not an intra-departmental seminar) approaches. What I feel on the eve of the presentation?

  • Fear (not bad)
  • Excitement (ok..)
  • Confidence (gonna show them what I am made of)

But really, I was thinking to myself, it’s just a lecture, right? What’s the big deal?
The point that makes this thing so intense is the fact that I haven’t done such a task thus far. When you do your first experiment on the bench, you take it for granted that it might flop. When you lecture in front of professionals in your field, however, being “caught” making mistakes can be VERY unpleasant and embarrassing. It can happen, though. However, sometimes you don’t have any choice but to jump to the water and hope for the best.
I have been working on this 20 minutes lecture for almost two weeks, rehearsing for over 5 times, twice in front of my group members. Today, for example, the rehearsal was good but not smooth enough. Couple of things I need to remember:

  • Breathe
  • Talk slower
  • Be brief
  • Maintain eye contact across the room
  • Enjoy!

Have any ideas of your own how give a great lecture?


2 comments on ““…and our next speaker is…”

  1. Make sure you tell a nice story without too many details so that people don’t have to be experts to understand.

    Show confidence, and if you can be funny, it would be great.
    Don’t forget that most people are stressed but it is not so obvious.
    Good luck and enjoy

    • Hey Nikos,
      That’s good advice! Thanks.
      “Make sure you tell a nice story without too many details so that people don’t have to be experts to understand” is so right. Many ppl make the mistake of shoving all their doings into 20 minute talk, rushing through 100 slides, barely breading when all they need to do is to tell a simple story, just as you said.
      Have a great day!

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