This morning, I presented as part of a nutrition panel on the ubiquity of sugar in our foods and how to make healthier choices. We had been working on this project for 3 months. It was a lot of work, involving several in-person meetings and tens of hours of researching and compilation of education materials.
My presentation went well, but my overall participation and contributions until this morning were more laudable. I provided several useful handouts, which were distributed at a table outside of the hall. Unfortunately, during my actual presentation, I lacked access to them, and due to lack of foresight on my part, I did not utilize the handouts and elaborate on their details as effectively as I could have.
After analyzing the presentation with my mother, who, graciously attended, I returned home feeling that my heart had sunk. I wanted this morning to be a crescendo – I had put in so much effort and I wanted to feel accomplished! Yet, after the presentation, constructive criticism took over and it felt anything but celebratory.
It wasn’t the first time I was let down from the realization that giving presentations do not often cause highs, but rather, are opportunities for learning and growth.
I was reminded of previous presentations I had given, when I taped myself and analyzed it after, or better yet, spoke to the organizer for input. I did a good job, yes, but there were several things I could focus on to improve for next time.
And then I realized that it wasn’t my presentation that was flawed, but rather the intentions that I set going into it.
When my goal is to boost my ego, I usually come out disappointed. If I had gone in with the goal of learning and growing, perhaps I would have felt better afterward, knowing that I had achieved my goals.