Personal Growth Broadcasting to San Fran

Tristan Rivera Student Posts 2 Comments

Back in freshman year of high school, I remember having this awful experience doing a speech in front of my class. There were 25 or so students in the same room all seated in front of me. I knew that I didn’t know much about my subject, centaurs, and I also knew that I didn’t want to be up there. I’m not one of those to get the sweats when I get like this, but my mind will tend to go numb. Long story short, I had memorized a script the night before all on centaurs instead of just learning about them and actually understanding my subject. During the presentation, I forgot the next word at some point and had a brain fart that must have lasted at least five minutes. That’s five minutes too long. It probably was more like 30 or 50 seconds, but in my head, I was lost and scrambling for any trace of the script. I eventually remembered a piece of it near the end and finished the speech, muttering apologies to the teacher. Perpetually traumatized by any mention of centaurs.
In sophomore year, I opted to speak privately to my teacher for reciting our bi-weekly poem assignment instead of aloud to the class. Junior year must have been when I started meditating because I remember when I got my grade back, I had been docked for saying 34 “um”s. In 12th grade, I switched out of honors english entirely to avoid presenting a speech.
Up until now, within the meantime, I have been noticing that I’m getting better and more confident at speaking in front of others. I think it has to do with switching out into new scenery, my university, and feeling like I could move past the past.
So, just the other day, I had a new experience at a level of public speaking I’ve never thought I would be a part of: I was a guest along with Holly, our NPP expedition coordinator, during a live broadcast to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. I remember practicing and rehearsing with my Micro Communities group in the broadcast room and stumbling over words. I was “lost in my own head” as Holly put it. I was trailing off and wasn’t able to focus on what I should be saying.
My lab partners decided to have a convention for all of us in that room so that we could all solve the issue together. One of them, Korenna, asked me to tell her a story about what we do in lab as if she’s a little kid. When I did so, I was able to explain everything crisply as far as my speaking abilities go. The takeaway for me at this point in time was that I was comfortable speaking. And getting out of my head and living within the current situation was very important. I didn’t understand what that exactly meant until, well, right before my broadcast the following evening.
Fast-forwarding to the next day around 6 or 7, I was calm and ready for my “performance”. I didn’t feel nervous anymore by this point. I knew that if I spoke naturally everything would be fine; however, my friends were not done giving me good advice. I naturally tend to move around a lot and go a little off the rails. I was joking with Holly, who looked nervous, not necessarily because of her own nerves, but because I could say or act a little off the chain if I wasn’t reeled in. Jess, our ISC camera guru, chimed in just then, minutes ticking down to my broadcast, “This isn’t a theatrical performance, this is a conversation with actual people.” For me, this bell rings so true. I don’t always need attention drawn to my silliness. Immediately calming me down, this statement also describes one of my personal vices. So without those three very important pieces of advice from Korenna, Jess, and Holly I wouldn’t have been able to complete that broadcast as well as I did. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s something that I’m proud that I did well at. So thank y’all if you read this 🙂 and thanks to the other ears in the room named Melvin and Yoana who were both understanding and helped me get better.

Comments 2

  1. Avatar

    Well “learn something new every day” certainly applies here. I don’t believe I knew about that experience of yours in high school. I’m sure you were mortified but glad your current new friends were able to provide some helpful insight into those moments from long ago to assist you now.

  2. Avatar

    You did great, our audience at the Exploratorium loved to see a young passionate person doing such an adventurous science expedition. Thanks for sharing your tip about story-telling rather than memorizing–it’s a great technique to connect with your audience.

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