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Post (Speaking) Event Analysis

Last night was the second disastrous dinner and the first one I presented. When I first came up with the concept for the dinners, I was fully expecting to have to provide all the talks, at least for the first year. I felt that producing 11 talks wasn’t too onerous and would give time to develop the event and see how it was being received.

I was surprised at the number of people who volunteered to present a talk and particularly when Sue was willing to deliver the first talk. I still felt I ought to put some effort in and deliver one myself though which is why I chose to do last night's talk.

The thing I forgot during the planning stage, and I always seem to forget, is that I get ridiculously nervous about 24 hours before my talk is due to start and don’t calm down until after I am finished. Prior to that 24 hour window, I am fine. Really confident, no issues, looking forward to it. Then it hits me and I go ‘Oh yea, I remember this feeling…’.

While I am talking I always feel like I am racing, no matter how many times I tell myself to slow down. My brain kicks into gear and rushes through what I have to say. Meanwhile another part of my brain is providing a running critique of my talk. ‘You stuttered there, you miss pronounced that, you should have waited to say that bit later, you forgot to mention…’ None of the criticism is of any use.

I honestly can’t tell how the talk went. People afterward were being very supportive and said that they enjoyed it. But in my head, I still see the huge gulf from the talk I wanted to give and the talk I actually delivered. Despite this I am happy, I have now managed to organise three talks (including the next one) and presented one myself. Overall I enjoyed the night and had a good time. I know that the only way I will improve my public speaking and get the talk that I want to make similar to the one I actually deliver is to do it more often. That said, I think the talks will work well with as many different presenters as possible.

Thanks to all who have been involved and helped make the night as good as it was.

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