When i was a kid my kindergarten teacher wrote something on my report card like “Works well but talks too much”, my dentist told me i was particularly good at talking even with a mouth full of cotton wool and I have been described as someone who could “Sell ice to Eskimos”, ” talk under water with a mouth full of marbles” etc, you get the picture. I’m chatty, ok let’s move on.
I have found that I have been able to use my ‘gift of the gab’ to teach people as part of my Job. I work in research with assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF. I also have a second Job teaching students at the TAFE college that are studying a diploma of applied science. I really enjoy getting up in front of people and teaching so how hard could public speaking be!
Each year there is a conference that I have been lucky enough to go to. After doing a year’s worth of IVF experiments to compare new media (solutions) with existing, I was ready to present the results at this years conference. I spent a considerable amount of time hunched over the keyboard, meticulously writing my abstract in the super strict format they require, only to have it rejected! Needless to say I was quite disappointed. These people who got in better have good talks! At the previous years conference people had done presentations on super lame stuff that required much less time, expertise and experiments than mine (insert inflated head here), the applications were ‘highly competitive’ this year so they said.
As part of each years conference there are various workshops offered in specialised areas. This year, as luck would have it the were doing a reproduction workshop. I helped plan and run the workshop and was given the opportunity not only to demonstrate the new techniques that we had trialled but to present the experimental data.
So, long story short I got up in front of room of like minded people (aka reproduction nerds) with my wad of notes to accompany my slides (which I didn’t even look at) and presented what I had worked so hard on. The follow-up questions weren’t daunting and everyone seemed quite impressed. It was a great day and an awesome experience to convey information and show others that changing their methods is worthwhile.
While I may not have had the opportunity to speak to a ballroom full of hundreds like I had hoped, I got to speak at a conference as I’d wanted to do as part of my bucket list. Speaking at a conference means different things to different people but for me, the reason it was on my bucket list was because it was my way of gauging whether I had done enough in my job to have worthwhile things to say to my peers and the research community of Australia. I’d still like to keep striving to reach bigger audiences but I think I have some more study and experiments to do before that time comes and even if it doesn’t, I’m still happy that I’ve contributed.