Without a doubt, one of the most painful things in this world are presentations and public speaking. With Canadian winters in close second. Especially in design, it's pretty much expected that designers are good presenters. Yet in university, a student can go the whole 4 years without being told that they need to improve their presentation skills. Like me, I thought I'd be fine without public speaking skills in the work force, but how wrong I was. For one, if I can't even sell a simple design, how on Earth can I sell myself to the interviewer at a design firm?
Ha ha. I can't.
On top of having public speaking anxiety, I have absolutely zero confidence in my abilities. This is actually terrible for designers, confidence in ourselves reflect on how well we can sell our design ideas and concepts. Yet, once again, presentation skills are never talked about in school, even though I'd say the level of presentation expertise is proportional to the success of an individual.
Well, as universities and colleges everywhere goes, they mostly teach the knowledge of designs, the theories, and the process rather than hard skills such as sketching, rendering, modelling, prototyping, and presenting. They expect students to pick up these skills by themselves. Self-governed. Diligently working everyday. But what I've encountered, is that many post-secondary institutions fail to address and push this idea early on, thinking students will naturally "get it", but is actually not the case. Some people, like me, only figured this out after graduating from university (which is why I make sure to tell the students to learn the skills/programs as often as possible). I also stress presentation abilities when I critique student works, because the professors and contract instructors have better sense of design than I do, and they have their own motives on what they expect from their students. So, I am left with the task of their layout, their communication skills, and how well they execute their public speaking.
The reason why I'm writing this now, even after giving a presentation on presentations about 2 weeks ago, is that I had an interview today. It was a Skype interview, and I didn't feel great about it. Not only am I incapable of talking properly using the iPod earphones, but using an iPhone for camera and screen was rather difficult. But my main issue, is my zero-confidence when speaking, no matter how much I practiced before-hand, and how hard I've worked to overcome my flaws. Deathly afraid, yet still presenting in the class, this self-pitying and self-deprecating TA giving a lecture on public speaking is so ironic.
So, in conclusion, students should use schools to try out new techniques and figure out the best way to do things in a relatively sheltered environment.
*edit: Here is the presentation on presentation file:
*edit2: And the script.