Glenn Standish, the Director of Studies at IH Toruń, recently presented as part of the ‘Speak for IH’ programme at the 27th International IATEFL Poland Conference in Wrocław. The title of his workshop was ‘Making English Real!’. Let’s find out about his experience:
“I have given talks and workshops before, but this was the first large-scale conference that I have spoken at. Naturally, I was rather nervous at first but this is completely normal. The trick is to try and focus your mind on other things and not to keep worrying about your talk. The audience are here to see you and listen to what you have to say; they are not here to see you stumble or fail and they are rallying with you and support you. The initial fear is always beforehand. Once you actually start your talk, the fear disappears.
My talk was due to take place in a room with a maximum seating capacity of 60. However, it proved rather popular (most likely because of the IH name!) and was well over-subscribed. At the last minute, my talk was moved to the main auditorium (where the opening ceremony had taken place) complete with stage and microphone! There must have been at least 150 people in the audience, which was a real honour. I felt a sense of pride that they had all chosen to see my talk (especially as there were 10 other sessions on at the same time).
Yes there were a couple of teething problems (the internet didn’t work and at one point I forgot to go back to the audience for their feedback after a brainstorming session). However, these things were relatively minor and didn’t lessen the overall impact of the workshop. I felt that it was well-received by the audience. They asked interesting questions during the talk and I felt like I was very much at ease and in control.
After the talk ended, quite a few people came up to me and said they really enjoyed it and that they had learnt a lot of new things. This all added to the experience and it really gave me a real sense of achievement.
I highly recommend talking on behalf of IH at a conference. Yes it can be stressful, but trust me once you get your talk underway, you will really relish the experience and love every minute. I look forward to seeing you present at a conference near me soon!”