Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bringing Myself to my Presentation

This past week was the first time we as fellows gave short presentations of our research--the first time we put it into words shared with others. It was also one of the top five most stressful weeks of my life  to date—the kind with uncharacteristic mishaps and cruel humor. All the usual margins I plan my life with ran out and one small accident caused every responsibility and demand on my life to come crashing one into the other. By the time our presentations came around I was not prepared in the manner I wanted to be. This, however, turned out to be an important stage in the process for me.

The importance of our topics and the huge honor of presenting at CSW can, at times, create a sense of intimidation and a push to dress your research in a certain way. There's a temptation to try and bring what I think they're looking for--to give them performance instead of passion. But that drive can sometimes rub away the most importance pieces of your message till it no longer comes out as you. And if you’re not presenting you, how can you present your passion?

Our president, Beth, has spoken often about the importance of bringing our passion. She reminded us of this when we chose our topics--that people will be moved by the things that matter to us.

That night, I didn’t have time to think about how to phrase my research into what I thought others wanted to hear. All I had to bring to the table was me--my research and my passion. This forced me to give my research in the most truthful manner—true to what I had found and true to who I am and my passion for the subject. It wasn’t a carefully crafted slant of “here’s why you should care about this,” but a simple, “here’s why I care about this.” Sometimes you have to be caught off guard so what comes out of you is unaffected and deeply real.

By the time March comes around, we will have stood in front of many imaginary and real audiences. We will have prepared and practiced over and over. But what I prepare and what I present will ultimately come from the preparation of my life. How I have invested my time, how I have come to see the world, and the passions I have cultivated are all also preparation. I am preparation. And I hope that what I bring them is true to me—that everything I have practiced and prepared will only enhance the truth and passion of my topic. I hope that what shines through in my presentation, ultimately, is an important story that matters and comes from who I am.

1 comment:

  1. This gives me goosebumps! You go girl!
    Seriously, this is a great little reminder of how we should all live our lives! Thanks.