Concentrate on what you will do, not how you will look

A young FB friend shared a recent experience of hers. She was following a Japanese course in Japan:

前兩天夢見自己和同學做group discussion時,總是表達不到自己想說的話,感到十分苦惱。 第二天果真有group discussion,但卻沒有出現夢中的情況。同學還說我說出了很好的觀點,要我做代表出去present。

內心常對自己有太多的批判,這就是我最大的障礙和框架。

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I guess most young people will go through this stage. I was in the same boat when I was much younger. “Will I be up to it? Will I look like a fool? Will my mind go blank?” I would be torturing myself with such self-imagined shameful scenarios prior to a forthcoming activity that involved real-time performance. As I grew older, I realised that as long as you are well prepared, such scenarios seldom really happen. Now, when I have to give a presentation soon, I prepare for it, and then I put it out of my mind. Then later during the actual presentation, I immerse myself fully in it, and even bring myself to enjoy it.

Today, the advice I would give to my student teachers prior to lesson observation (they will usually worry themselves to death about how they may perform) is: Prepare well, that’s all you have to do. There’s no need to imagine how you may come across, or what may go wrong. If you must think about it, concentrate on what you will DO, not how you will LOOK.

I have to admit that I am getting more and more hooked on giving presentations. Now what I have to re-learn, is how to listen to other people’s presentations with the same level of enthusiasm.

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