By Asfandyar Memon
Ever wonder why some students are better at presentations than you are? I know I do.
Personally, I have always struggled with speaking in front of a crowd. My hands would shiver when I would go onstage. When that started happening, I would immediately go into a stage of self-doubt and tell myself that “I’m totally going to screw this up.’’ I believe a lot of students struggle with presentations.
I’ve always been curious about why some students are absolutely fantastic at presenting while others completely screw things up. While writing this article, I interviewed a friend of mine, Adeel Ahamid. I asked him what makes him so great at talking in front of a class. He said that “presentation is more about confidence, and confidence comes from practice.” That made me think, so this dude is telling me to pretty much screw up more in my presentations so that I can improve. I’m a curious guy, so then I thought to myself, there has to be a way I can improve my presentations in a shorter period of time. The answer was actually quite simple: all I had to do was practice my presentations more, and while actually presenting my ideas or concepts to a class, I told myself I was an expert on the topic I was discussing. Sometimes you just have to fake it till you make it.
Before I could even do that, however, I had to eliminate the self-doubt from my head. You know what I’m talking about–thoughts like “I’m going to screw this up.” As a business student, I came across a loophole to get rid of these thoughts, and this was based on a quote I found on the internet: “Self-doubt is the only way you can accept failure. Self-doubt destroys more dreams than anything else. When you want something badly enough, there should never be any doubts that you will get it.’’ This immediately made me realize that I had already accepted defeat in my head before even starting on a task. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to rewire both my brain and my attitude to a winning mentality.
Another great technique to get rid of self-doubt is to follow through on the promises you make yourself–don’t worry about others just yet. For example, we all tell ourselves we’re going to hit the gym at 8:00 AM but then end up procrastinating and not going to the gym at all. Always follow through on the promises you make yourself, because it helps you eliminate doubt in oneself and make yourself more confident.
Persistence is the ability to follow through on commitments made in life, in business, and academic success, and eventually, persistence will turn into strength.