Thinking Out Loud (13)

Hello! Sadly, this is the last blog post before we depart for the States tomorrow. Our last day was well-spent; we finished out our final presentations, had a closing lunch with CAPA, and went to the Ed Sheeran concert (amazing). Without further ado, onto the topic of presentations…

Even for the most extraverted people, public speaking can still be tough. This is certainly the case for me, as presenting in front of a group has always been a source of discomfort. Similar to my interviewing skills, my presentation abilities are somewhat inconsistent; I have given plenty of great speeches and presentations, but I have also had my fair share of total failures in both. As this trend continues, I have recently been able to identify the circumstances under which I tend to perform better, and I am working to incorporate the proper preparation techniques into each unique presentation situation. My personal goal is to eventually have the ability to express my thoughts and ideas in front of a group with the same confidence and ease I have when talking to a small group and when writing.

If I am giving a presentation on a subject on which I am well-versed, a project I have worked on thoroughly, or a story about something I experienced, I am typically able to speak confidently with a natural delivery and projection. My main downfall in presentations and interviews is that I lose focus when my nerves get in the way; even if I have discussed the ideas of the presentation in a small group and rehearsed it thoroughly, I tend to lose track of my thoughts when I get up in front of everyone. This has happened to me for interviews and presentations I prepared the most for and on topics I experienced firsthand. This proves that it’s not derived from a lack of preparation or understanding, but a lack of confidence. Knowing this, I have come to embrace opportunities to present and interview. I know that I may be uncomfortable, but in the long run, having more experiences to draw from will help me continue to identify the factors that positively or negatively influence my presentation.

For the Plus3 presentation, I surprised myself with my performance. Even though I visited the Pearse Lyons Distillery and conducted additional research on the topic, I was concerned that I would draw a blank, and I was nervous beforehand because of it. I am glad I was able to speak sensibly about the social and technological factors and the company’s application to the Pitt Business majors. Moving forward, I will remember that despite being given a lot of information on Pearse Lyons Distillery as a business, our group was able to generate a thorough PEST Analysis and an interesting presentation— going along with the theme of Plus3 Ireland, we successfully worked in ambiguity!

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