“Courage: (n) The ability to do something that frightens one.”
I don’t know about you all, but I find the idea of being authentically myself absolutely terrifying sometimes. Walking in to meet my FRC team for the first time two and a half years ago was incredibly daunting to me - beforehand I had little experience with anything related to robotics or engineering and I didn’t know anyone on the team well.
While my team was incredibly friendly, welcoming, and accepting, I often find that when I encounter new groups of people, I am overwhelmed by the desire to fit in, most likely because society seems to tell us we need do so in order to be accepted within the group.
My first year on my FRC team was absolutely amazing, though. I learned many new skills, created new relationships, and discovered new interests. In my second year, I learned a lot about my style of leadership through leading our scouting team, and I learned how to find the confidence within myself to take charge of a situation and make it mine.
This year, as the CEO of my team, I have learned so many different leadership skills, the most valuable of which is public speaking. I now speak in front of my team at the beginning and end of every meeting, as well as at several of the large events that my team has hosted.
Statistically, 74%1 of people have a fear of public speaking, so I would like to share some of the ways that I have developed skills that allow me to confidently speak in public.
A few days before your presentation (if possible)
- Write out the points you want to hit. This encourages you to think about what you want to say before you are in front of an audience.
- Practice what you want to say. You don’t need to memorize what you wrote by any means, but it allows you to familiarize yourself with the words you would like to use.
- Arrive early. This will remove the stress of running late.
- Before presenting, take several deep breaths to calm your nerves.
- Drink water. Getting a dry mouth during a presentation is no fun and makes it harder to talk, so be sure to hydrate!
- Work on your pauses. Oftentimes you talk faster than you realize when you are nervous.
- Smile! You sound so much happier when a conscious effort is made to look happy.
- Realize that making mistakes is okay. None of us are perfect and you are not expected to be. Just do your best; that’s all anyone can ask of you!
This blog was written by Megan Wheeler from FRC team 1710. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule.