A fool’s error

Mini-column ‘Alison in Wonderland’, published in the Observant, Maastricht

The first time I ever gave a presentation of my own research terrified me. Picturing people naked just doesn’t help. The best advice I was ever given was to ‘act like an actor’; in other words, to play a role. Pretend you are the person you want to project (someone confident and engaging, not someone who wants to curl up in the corner in foetal position!). What you don’t want to do is what I did that first time: I was so nervous I decided to memorise every line of my 40-minute speech. A fool’s error. Because you’re then reciting rather than reading, you’ll forget to turn the pages of your notes. So when you forget your lines – as I inevitably did – you end up hopelessly lost.

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