Is it time to give up? Reflection on Oral Presentation #Blogpost #5

I have a dream! And that dream is to walk out from a presentation/speech/performance being satisfied, thinking “I nailed it!” or “If I could go back and do it again I would not do anything differently”.

Monday the 5th of November 2012 was not the day for this dream to come through. Rushing from class after today’s presentation on our research project “Where is the Babyboom?” I felt anxious and empthy. To use a metaphor: I did not sink the ship but I did not help to win the war either, with other words, I did not sell our concept with entusiasm and a persuasive argumentation but probably said enough relevant things to pass the assignment.

After almost 15 years in school and endless number of presentations I have started to doubt that you can become a good speaker through practice? Is it a gift certain people were born with and the rest of us is just jealous? Our team’s preparations were accurate. We practised several times on different occasions, planned positioning, transistions and phase. We recorded and analysed all team members, gave feedback and made sure everyone was comfortable with their part. Unfortunately none of us could get along with the clicker (wireless remote used to change power point slide) during the actual presentation.

What makes me anxious about this topic is that I want to be a good speaker, I need to be a good speaker. Becuase I am aware that I am not the brightest star in the sky when it comes to programming and the pure technical part of my education. But I have always told myself I will be able to stand out from all the nerds (apologises for stereotyping) in the engineering industry by being a girl, having social intelligence and an outgoing personality. I do not think I will get very far if I can not even stay enthusiastic for five minutes and persuade 15 classmates that our proposal is fantastic.

Nevertheless, I will not give up!
“Fake it ’til you make it.
Fake it ’til you become it.”
– Amy Cuddy


15 thoughts on “Is it time to give up? Reflection on Oral Presentation #Blogpost #5

  1. Hi Sofie,

    You did very well yesterday! I could tell that you did not memorize word-to-word which means that you really understood your part. ๐Ÿ™‚ You also maintained eye contact very well. What I love most was the story-telling part. If you showed some enthusiasm (bright, sparkling eyes and smile and faster pace), your presentation would have been perfect.
    Well, I must admit that I am not a natural-born speaker either and I do wonder whether public speaking is something innate or something you can master through practice. However, I think Amy Cuddy’s suggestion is definitely worth to try. Good luck!

    *LOVE the picture!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • sosinasia says:

      Thank you for the feedback Teresa. Focusing on staying calm and appear relaxed actually made me lose the enthusiasm, something I definitely need to work on. It will be me and my mirror practising for my next presentation ๐Ÿ™‚
      Again thanks for your input.

  2. Zhuang Wei says:

    Sofie! When I look back at the video clip, you looks great in your shirt, especially the cute small tie. Desipte what Brad said in class about your pace, I personally like your style of presentation. You are a natural presenter, clear pronunciation and very accurate pauses in between your sentences and words, that is exactly what I should improve on!

  3. Maxime says:

    Hi Sofie ! DO NOT GIVE UP! You are very rude with your performance! I think that as every speaker you have your strength and your weaknesses. I would like to seem serene like you during the presentation. Indeed, you say what you have to say very calmly and we have the feeling that you know very well your topic! That is a good point!

    Nevertheless, this strength has its weakness: you could seem more enthusiastic. If you manage to do this, your speech will be more convincing! I am sure that you can dot that and for that you can follow Amy Cuddy’s rule until being both quite and enthusiastic.

    Be optimistic!

    • sosinasia says:

      Hi Maxime, I am actually picturing you doing all this body gestures when reading this post. A lot of dedication as usal, thank you for that, I really appreciate it.

      I think you have a very good point which I have not considered, I act so hard to appear relaxed and not nervous, so instead it comes out as being almost too casua and nonchalant. I guess my acting skills are better than I thought :p

  4. Maple Lai says:

    HI hi Sofie!

    Love that picture of you! Personally, I love the way you presented, very comfortable and very light. It’s very easy to listen to you. Your pace, your gestures. Like what Tasha said, it was good that you did not memorized the speech word for word. Furthermore, you smile every time you are presenting and that’s a very important thing I feel.

    Don’t be discouraged in any way because we may lack in some ways, but we gain it back through another aspect. I’m a strong believer of that.

    And don’t worry, your presentation skills are good! So, don’t give up and all the best!


  5. Tasha says:

    Hey Sofie!

    I like your topic a lot because it is a problem which I can relate to. Many of my friends have that mindset of finding a stable job first before getting married and having babies. You did a good job for your presentation, you slowed down you pace which is good because I was able to follow what you were saying. You were confident and despite the problem with the clicker, you were still able to carry on from there smoothly. Though, I think that you looked a little bit too serious, except for your story telling part. So, I guess i would suggest that you smile more and vary your tone a little bit. However, perhaps it is a cultural thing? I am not sure because Iโ€™ve never been to Sweden before. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Oh! By the way, I like your outfit. Professional-looking with a touch of cute-ness with that black bow tie thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • sosinasia says:

      Thank you Tasha, for very kind words and useful feedback.
      I think it might have a little bit to do with culture, from my experience Swedish people tend to be quite serious and strict when it comes to buisness arrangements.
      What I need to learn is to adapt to the situation and make my presentation more suitable for that particular situation. Practice make profession (hopefully) ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Serene says:

    Hi Sofie!

    I think we have mentioned in class, but I must say, you looked really calm and comfortable while you were speaking.
    I once read that the tone and pace at which you speak can affect the message you are trying to send to your audience. I am not too sure how true this is, but perhaps, you might want to speak slightly faster. This may give the audience the impression that this is an issue that has to be dealt with urgently.
    You did quite well overall. Of course, some of us may be born with a talent to speak. The rest of us just need more practice. Who knows, with more practice, we may even outshine those with a talent to speak?

  7. Renick Lee says:

    Hi Sofie,

    I’m not sure how many will discredit my comment as being unuseful but I stand by my opinion that your presentation style was excellent. One of the best.

    I know that this may spark controversy but I really relish the formal and impartial tone in such a presentation. Some people can pull of the dramatic or motivational or inspirational theatrics but really often for others it is so easy to see through the act and that would fall apart for me.

    So I’m not sure how others would react to this comment but for me I just feel that your tone was formal period, not solemn, not lacking a smile, not lacking enthusiasm. It gave me the feeling that you were not emotionally compromised and that you took a step back, considered everything, both sides of the argument before coming back in to give your instructions and solution.

    Good job.

    • sosinasia says:

      Hi Renick,
      Maybe you should come for an internship in Sweden? You would like the presentation style at least.

      It makes me very happy to hear your opinion, because what you are describing is what I initially tried to accomplish. I guess I need a bit more practise to get the rest of the room to feel like you did.

      Thank you!

  8. Renick says:

    Hi Sofie,

    I would love to come for an internship in Sweden so set me up.

    I guess I have some Swedish in me and thus it takes one to notice one. I really think most people should have felt the same way as I did.


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