Well this has been quite a busy few weeks for us all. Settling back into university, adjusting to an increased work load, taking on extra hours at and then those dreaded applications for vacation schemes and open days! Never mind, I am sure the hard work will pay off in the end. I hope all are well, and my apologise for not keeping in touch recently!
On the bright side, I was delighted to be invited to return back to Preston College, where I studied my A-Levels in Law, Accounting and IT. I just can not describe how nostalgic it is to be stood in front of a group of students in a position where I was once just two years ago. I had the opportunity to catch up with four of my previous tutors who had all given me the best guidance in pursuing my career trajectory.
Public speaking is an ‘ad hoc’ skill which a lawyer could expect at any point within their career; whether it involves pitching to clients or reporting to partners. This was the perfect opportunity for me to put my skills to the test and really submerse other students on a topic I felt confident on.
That aside, finding confidence when you are stood up infront of 15 gazing eyes can be a quite difficult. Naturally, adrenaline is rushing, a thousand thoughts are running through ones head and then the legs suddenly turn to jelly; just what happened to me. Meanwhile, you’ll have to be concious of the time, the tempo and volume of your voice, keeping everyone in the room focused and operating a digital presentation.
I admit, I did feel foolish when 10 minutes after that I had forgotten to explain to the group what BPTC stood for. But thankfully my efforts shined through and my tutor described the presentation as “fantastic”. I spent an awful lot of time on preparation, and here were some tips that helped me the most.
- Practice until you feel confident in yourself, this is the best opportunity to ‘iron out all the creases’.
- Notes are distracting, they should contain minimal information like statistics.
- The adrenaline can only last for so long, push past it and the next thing you know you’ll be a born natural.
- If you make a mistake or if a word comes out the wrong way, do not be afraid to laugh it off and hastily move on from it.
- Take a bottle of water, this is brilliant trick if you need to buy yourself some thinking time or you get a croaky throat after the first 10 minutes of talking.
- Do not lecture at the audience, instead keep them engaged by making eye contact and encouraging questions.
- Be concious of time, if you need to move it along then just simply say “I’m concious of time”. It is far better than rushing through.
Remember that there is always room for improvement, so if you missed something out or you made yourself look like a bit of an idiot, just make sure you can learn from it. The more experience you gain, the easier it becomes.
Over all, this was a brilliant experience. It was emotive, nostalgic and reaffirmed my career ambitions. I am thankful to my host and I will be back again to speak to a larger group of business students, so watch this space!