Do you know that feeling? When you are thinking about the coming session, and those 45 [50/60/90/…] minutes seem like a huge time ‘on stage’? You start to question your own knowledge of the topic you are presenting on, and whether or not the topic is interesting/relevant/useful for the teachers. You are asking yourself a number of ‘what if’ questions (e.g. What if everyone already knows those activities (ideas, tips, resources, etc.)? What if the topic is boring and no-one starts to participate? What if it’s too hard/easy/obvious… What if… ok, you got the point)
My strategies to cope with those feelings have been the following:
- reminding myself that these are feelings not facts (and that such thoughts will come and go)
- starting to prepare earlier rather than later (to have time for several drafts and chatting about the topic with colleagues)
- finding out as much as I can about the audience (and/or thinking how to incorporate this ‘mini-needs-analysis’ into the session)
- balancing ideas and reflections with specific practical activities to be used in class (well, I am not a fan of ‘activity-only’ approach to creating sessions, but I don’t think that a complete ‘activity ban’ from a workshop would work either for teachers attending a conference/TD event; I may be wrong)
- finding a reason to be super excited about the specific session I am preparing for (not to the topic, but to something in the session): it can be an ice-breaking activity, a task to do in groups, a slide, a question, etc. Something that excites me as a presenter would probably/hopefully fire a shot of inspiration in (someone in) the audience
- preparing more rather than less (in that case I will most likely have enough materials for a longer session on a training course in the future)
- related to the point above: rehearse/pilot some tasks that are completely new or were designed for this specific session
- reminding myself about a lot of previous sessions I have done in the past that had positive feedback from the participants (well, one of them was my small professional failure, as I see it now, but that’s based on my perceptions and reflections)
- writing such a blog post (in fact, very reassuring and calming down even at the point of typing this!)
- wondering what else can be done (and when/if a time will (ever)l come that presenting will be a 100% comfortable experience)
Is it ‘stage fright’? Impostor syndrome? Professional Development (side effect)? Something else?
What are some of your strategies to prepare for and feel cool about a coming presentation/conference workshop?
Thank you for reading! 🙂