Presenting

Tuesday, 28 February 2012
One of my favorite activities is blogging so I just hate that I haven't had time to say much lately. There's quite a bit to talk about including my first academic research presentation, a visit to my family in Missouri and the first signs of Spring in East Tennessee.

Let's start with the Young Scholar's presentation at the University of Missouri in Columbia, shall we?

I told my parents that it was like my first few live shots as a TV news reporter... I got through them but it wasn't pretty. I looked pretty, however. (My appearance had to be close to perfect so I could get a tiny boost of confidence when standing in front of people, nervous.) I wore a blue suit with a skirt and black patent heels. My briefcase came along with me instead of the JanSport backpack and I had several copies of my Powerpoint presentation on flash drive, emailed to myself and on my computer in case something went wrong.

The guy that presented before me was also wearing a suit and his study was more qualitative so he didn't have many numbers to talk about. I did. Did I practice before the session? Yes, but I didn't write out specific notes for each slide and that was my downfall. I suppose I thought I could just ad-lib it like I did live on location for years. Bad idea. Since I was nervous, I raced through the slides and was finished in about 10 minutes without really adding much to the social media/journalist discussion. (At least I didn't think I did.)

Thankfully after some silent, uncomfortable shifting in chairs people in the audience started asking questions and giving advice on how to advance my research. At the beginning of my presentation, I was honest and told everyone that I was a new researcher and a new PhD student. Point being, I was open to and thankful for constructive criticism. After the session, we all went to dinner and one woman stopped me to ask for MY advice on a similar study she was conducting regarding social media. I was surprised but we had a nice discussion and I felt the little knowledge I had gathered was helpful in some ways.

The same paper was selected for presentation at UT's 34th Annual Research Symposium in Communication and Information Science so I present tomorrow. I'm prepared with notes for my slides and feel more confident. Although, I'll be speaking in front of my peers and professors so I'm sure they're going to be a lot harder on me. Here's what I've learned so far about how to respond when someone is ripping on your work: Smile and nod. Smile and nod. :)

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