The Thing We Fear More Than Death

-by LillyBelle Deer ’15

I have never been someone who enjoyed oral presentations. Presenting in class always made me anxious, so when Professor Kanaya asked us to speak as a group in front of the board members of the Berger Institute, I was immediately nervous. I didn’t know just how much preparation we would undergo for this presentation, and I was worried that I would my team down. A few weeks before the first presentation, our group got together to make the presentation and sent drafts back and forth to Professor Kanaya. A few days before the presentation we met with her for three hours and ran through what we were going to say until we got it exactly right. She gave us advice about how to make a professional presentation, since the way that we presented ourselves would be more important than in a casual classroom setting. I moved around too much when speaking and my slides had too much text; another team member spoke with a lilt at the end of all her sentences, so it sounded like she was questioning what she was saying.

Going into the presentation I was still a bit nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I would have been without all of this preparation. While listening to my team members talk and during my own portion of the presentation, I realized that we looked and sounded very professional. Our presentation materials were sharp and our speech was concise and hit all the right points. We were able to answer questions with ease and the board seemed to really enjoy our presentation. This experience gave me confidence in my speaking skills and tools to make more powerful and attractive presentation materials.