Public speaking: What made me a new me?

Anxiety. Shyness. Fear. All are the feelings I usually confront whenever I need to speak out. Almost 3 years ago, I was desperately interrupted by my English tutor because I was so nervous, uttering something people could not understand: “Take a deep breath before you start again, Linh. It’s totally fine here.” However, I can confidently say that’s no longer me, and I’m really different this year.

So, how do I get over all of these and get on TV shows, stages, presentations, workshops and so on?

In mid-2020, I got a chance to join a TV show for university students – En Vang Hoc Duong. I wasn’t a good competitor, but at the end of the day, I’m proud to have been a good learner, learning through my own observation. I was highly impressed by a girl from the very first moment she was on stage. It was not because of her content but her appearance. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not talking about a beauty queen but about a person who knew how to appear classy on stage with all the settings and gorgeous outfits. That experience changed me totally. I put more effort into my appearance when I speak in front of a crowd.

New me after 5 years of public speaking and geting on stage,

In April 2021, I joined my university’s Student Research Conference. My teammate and I had to present and discuss our research project. Perhaps I was the least worried member in my team when representing the whole team and answering tons of questions from the judges. We were praised by the chairman for giving a catchy and excellent talk. Upon reflection, I wondered what made me so confident. The answer is my belief, specifically in the content of my talk. This belief made me stronger, overcoming the inevitable nervousness and focusing more on my presentation.

During the time of online study, a lot of my courses required students to give a presentation, either in groups or individually. Admittedly, I couldn’t focus as expected, and sometimes, I even couldn’t recall what had been presented. Then, I realised that some of my friends talked so fast, even non-stop, making it hard to process the information. The lesson is to give intentional pauses for myself and the audience to ensure that everything is on the right track.

I don’t have any research evidence to show you regarding public speaking. What I can actually share are my personal stories. Every experience in my life teaches me something. I hope that my sharing can somehow give you a better start in your own stage. Finally, have a sweet lunar new year with your loved ones!

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