Many people are afraid to speak in front of an audience; some hate it because they get nervous about saying the wrong thing. During a group presentation about SWOT analysis for British Airways, my team and I presented in front of our class; I was the last one to present by concluding what my colleagues had just presented. This was not supposed to be the case since I wanted to be the coordinator, but with my shy nature, I decided to abandon that role and choose to do research and write the conclusion. The group did exceptionally; especially during the preparation period, group collaboration was fully optimized, with everyone chipping in his or her contribution. Each person was required to fill a test on the role they were comfortable playing and the work was delegated according to everyone's preference, although my choice was not what I preferred. Public speaking has always been challenging for me, am not the type to stand in front of an audience and do a presentation, no matter how many time I do a presentation am always nervous and shy. This paper is a reflection on my experience and ways to improve my skills.
In the presentation, we did well in organization and info. However for my part, I have a long way to go, firstly I need to speak fluently and clearly, during the presentation I was speaking very fast due to the problem with my grammar and accent as well. This lowered by audibility and the audience could barely understand me. Secondly, my sentence structures were not polished well to describe precisely what I meant to say often resulting in misinterpretation. Thirdly, my presentation skill was not sufficient since I avoided eye contact with the audience, or even interacting with the audience to capture their attention. However, I think I had positive feedback in regards to teamwork; the main problem is language obstacles and my shy nature to express myself vividly in front of a large group of people.
Nervousness is a huge issue during public speaking, my nervousness during my presentation, resulted in me leaving out some crucial part and not elaborating my points clearly to be understood by the class. The behavior can be solved with experience; every presentation gets better with time. Also, a little rehearsal before presentation would have helped in relieving most of the tension. The delivery process is crucial to the success of a presentation; this could have been better if my voice was a bit clearer, louder, slower and variant. The primary solution is to practice more (McCarthy 2002).
According to Mantzoukas and Jasper, (2004) reflective practice is vital in developing professionalism in any field, it is a positive impact on one's development. He also states that it is essential to learn from other professions who have recognized the importance of reflections and made steps towards improving their presentation skills. Some of the ways suggested in applying self-reflection is converting theory to practice. In my case I need to be more critical and vigilant about my presentation skills and what hinders me from expressing self in front of an audience, after reflecting on my weakness, I put all the solution to practice, some the ways I would do this is by dividing the practice part into five sections. One section is to record my experience (the presentation experience) initially; the second section is to record feedback from my group how they feel about my presentation, during preparation period and presentation. The third is to record feedback from the class, their opinion about my presentation, fourth section to record feedback from my instructor or professor and the final section for the overall reflection upon the feedback and for subsequent action planning (White et al., 2014).
During the whole process, I will be asking for a recommendation on how I can improve my presentation skills. All these feedback placed together provides an adequate solution to help improve my skills. According to Theobald, (2016), more practice will lead to a gradual change in my personality giving me more confidence. Therefore, I plan to do more presentations in the future where I will take the leading role, secondly, practice more on my grammatical structure and improve on the clarity of my accent. Thirdly correct more feedback and recommendation after each presentation and fourthly, improve my presentation skills such as body language, speaking more clearly, maintaining eye contact and engaging the audience in my presentation. Lastly, repeat this process all over until am satisfied.
Mantzoukas, S., and Jasper, M. (2004). Reflective Practise and Daily Ward Reality: A Convert Poer Game. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 13, pp.925-33.
McCarthy, P. (2002). Presentation Skills: The Essential Guide for Students. pp.5-24.
Theobald, T. (2016). Develop your presentation skills.
White, P., Laxton, J. and Brooke, R. (2014). Reflection: Importance, theory, and practice. Reflection BAA Article, pp.1-11.
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