The challenge with public speaking is that the experience can either can take your breath away or leave the audience breath taken.
I find it ironic how through my life I have always been in love with performance arts yet the hours before I perform to an audience I experience the highest feelings of stress, anxiety, nervousness and what could be considered as internal suffering. Today, I was ready to take on the challenge of presenting my own TED TALK in the PAC and this time it was even more important for me to give my best to serve the audience and share a connection with them through out.
My major concern was the length and forgetting all the points I wanted to cover, I was terrified of blanking out. As I sat down as a member of the audience I was, at first, concentrating in my feelings. I was not thinking about the message I was about to deliver or even enjoying the other "innovators" presentations but instead I was concentrating on the hundreds of things that could go wrong. FIRST MISTAKE.
Thankfully I noticed that this was not going to help me a few minutes before and by seeing the others on stage sharing their own ideas, experiences and personal stories I felt not only proud but enlightened to share my own.
I learned that the audience CAN be judgmental but people DO value when some one has the courage to stand in a stage and share what they feel. I learned about the importance of recognizing before you begin that if the supporting people who come to see you are there it is for a reason and you have a responsibility to make an impact in them.
The second my name was called from the podium my heart started thundering but that moment when I was standing in the stage, with the mike in one hand and the clicker on the other I remembered that even if I failed the whole Academy was there for support. That one idea allowed me to focus my energy and start strongly. I felt that for my first formal talking experience of the year I did have a better control of my tone, nerves and even pronunciation through out.
To be honest I do not think this was the best presentation that I could have given. In fact, even though my friends who where there in the audience congratulated me after I was over I couldn't really feel completely satisfied. It shocked me how I was so incredibly motivated that even id I would not get school credit for doing it I really wanted to GO BACK and try again. Yes, I could have been more confident, I could have not skipped two important sections of my talk , I could have been more natural thus more connected with my audience but this are skills I am willing to improve.
Taking a note card with me was something I was not costumed to. I had already practiced the night before without one in front of my mother and the talk had been fluid. An hour before the presentations I quickly wrote the main key points in a card only because I saw that some of my classmates where also doing it. Here's the catch: I had the ability to own the talk but I didn't trust y self enough to go out without that additional support. My goal for the next time I speak in public will be utilizing the media as a guide and leaving the paper because that automatically sets limits and make you doubt your own ability to pull through.
In a more positive note, the highlight for me was the moment I confronted the audience directly and was able to lock eye contact with more than three viewers. In the outside picture this could not have seemed like a lot but internally I felt a conversation connection as I was no longer looking outwards for my ideas but letting them be heard. This skill of nerve management utilizing the audience effect to turn their energy in advantage to stimulate your performance comes with practice, practice more practice and perseverance.
Overall, I cannot explain how proud I was at the end not only for the work i individually did but because of the amazing deep topics that where touched by my peers, the ability of many to overcome their fears and the huge improvement I could see in our english from our starting point this semester. Good job IA!
My ted talk "Changing my Stance" on the progression of "standing out" through my Personal experiences will be uploaded soon and through this I'm hoping to reach and have a positive impact on a greater audience because you never know who's ways you will run into and how many people you will inspire.