I'm a Communications major and a senior at FGCU.
Usually, seniors have to take a capstone class, or in my case, 'Senior Seminar', as a reflective class on your time within your major. Since I'm a Communications major, our professor required us to read two dialogues by Plato, the Greek Philosopher. When you are a communications major, there is a lot of philosophy that comes into play when discussing rhetoric and the importance of it in today's society. Our assignment was to take a sentence or phrase from one of the dialogues, Gorgias or Phaedrus, and create a TEDx Talk about a general topic that interests a general audience. After we thought of our idea, we had to create a talk 10 minutes or less and submit a recording of us for a big portion of our grade. She then informed us that she would be picking 3 out of 26 students to present our talks at a live event on campus in front of the entire class, philosophy senior seminar class, and other faculty members. She also told us there would be five professors and deans that would be sitting in the front row that would do a questionnaire after our talk had concluded where they could share their opinions and ask challenging questions.
I am the type of person that wants to do very well in my classes, but I also didn't want to give a talk in front of people based on readings from Greek Philosophers.
I decided to create my talk centering the quote from Lysias, "How in his right mind could he believe the desires would good which he conceived in his wrong mind?" Using this quote, I created my talk centering on the idea of taking control of our emotions to further ourselves and our interpersonal relationships.
So I created my talk, turned it in, and prayed that my professor wouldn't pick me.
Of course, a couple of days later, I got an email from my professor stating, "Congratulations! You have been selected to present your talk at the TEDx Talk Event: Socrates on Stage!" I was excited, but I was extremely nervous about this opportunity. I knew that I had two weeks before the talk so I had plenty of time to prepare, but I was still nervous.
After meeting with my professor a couple of times and revising my talk over and over again, the day finally came to where I was supposed to present. At this point, I felt very good about myself and was confident that I was prepared. When I got to the room, I was immediately intimidated by everyone sitting down and how many people were there. There had to be at least 40. I have presented in front of large groups of people before, but not on a deep and inspiring topic like this. I also incorporated a lot of personal things in my talk and I was nervous to share those ideas with complete strangers. I was told by my professor that I was going to go 3rd. I wish I would have been able to go first to get it over with. Sitting there listening to the other speakers made my heart pound out of my chest. I knew in my heart that I was prepared, but subconsciously, I was really nervous to talk for those 10 minutes but continue to answer questions afterward. Once it was my turn to go, I went up to the podium, my other professor put a mic on me, and I was allowed to take my mask off. I got my clicker and my note cards and went to the center of the room and inhaled deeply and exhaled.
I wish I could tell you how the actual talk went while I was giving it, but it was all a blur.
I got into my zone and I remember not messing up once or getting off my train of thought. I was really proud of myself because I was nervous that I would choke from being in front of all those people, but practice made me more solidified in my speech. After the talk was over, we transitioned into the question-and-answer portion. I answered them as honestly as I could because everything I gave in my speech came from my heart. It was an experience that was eye-opening and I really loved the rush I felt afterward.
I love public speaking, but I still tend to get nervous. This may have sparked a new love for giving presentations and possibly becoming a motivational speaker. In another world, I always tell myself that my dream was to give a TED talk. Even though this was an unofficial one, it still allowed me to express my ideas in a creative way.
This was an opportunity I am so happy I got selected for and I would do it again in a heartbeat!