Presenting for first time in the conference

Priyanka Pandey

Attending conferences, seminars and training is not just effective ways to develop one’s professional skills, but presenting papers in such events also plays vital role to develop professionally. Presenting paper in those professional venues boosts up confidence of the presenters when they utilize the opportunity to share their ideas, skills, knowledge and experiences. Last month, when I presented my first conference paper and also participated in Interactive Language fair session, I learnt a lot. In this piece of writing, I will reflect on and share my experiences of presenting my paper in the recent held conference of NELTA in Kathmandu.pandey1

The interactive language fair (ILF) coordinated by Dr. Laxman Gnawali, my mentor, was an add-on to the conference. As I participated in the fair, I had an opportunity to realize my strengths as well as weaknesses. It is true that most of the people in every field feel scared when they are doing something for first time and so did I. Although I was excited to present the paper for the first time in the conference, I also feared at the same time and was worried about my presentation since my proposal was accepted for the presentation. My worries grew further as the date of presentation drew closer. I always thought and worked on how I could make the best presentation. The more I worried, more I started losing my confidence. Even I wondered whether I could have sufficient participants in my session.

Many scholars from different countries of the world and different parts of our country were participating in the conference where I was going to present my paper. Such a thing always recurred to my mind and thought. As it was my first presentation in any conference, I prepared my stuff to be exhibited in the ILF session in advance and visited my professor. I received some suggestions from him to make my presentation better and I did accordingly. Even excitement, curiosity and fear of making mistakes within me continued affecting me. But later, I became more relaxed after I got positive and encouraging feedback from my professor when I showed my presentation slides. Then I felt relax a bit and decided not to worry about my presentation any more. I was determined to present my paper at any cost, no matter what could be the results.

But again, when I looked at the conference schedule, I found both of my presentations of concurrent session’ and ‘ILF’ were on the same day.  Even I talked to my professor but he told me that it would be difficult to change the schedule.  Further, he encouraged and told me not to worry as well.

Finally, the conference started from February 17 and my presentation was the next day. On the first day, I was more curious to learn from the key note speakers and other presenters when they facilitated their sessions. I tried my best to concentrate on the ways they were making presentations.

On the second day, I rushed to the ILF session and exhibited the presentation stuffs in the fair.  In the beginning of the session, everyone was invited to introduce themselves and the topic of their presentation and exhibition. It was my turn. As I had slightly changed my topic for ILF, I was little confused and shared the title of previous topic which interrupted me during my speech. I felt little nervous but quickly corrected myself. Upon my presentation, here I question myself, “Is it sin to make mistakes or get confused?”, or do we need to feel humiliated when we don’t have fluency in English? No, not at all, I answer. Making mistake is a process of learning but we should never give up.  Such thoughts encouraged me to avoid all the fear of making mistakes and feeling of humiliation. Finally, I increased my level of confidence and perception of looking into making mistake also changed. Finally, my hesitant soul transformed into a confident soul. Then, I realized that it is necessary to change the perception to develop one’s profession.

The first session in the ILF was at 1 pm and the second was at 1:35 pm at different halls. During the ILF session, I talked to the participants on ‘learning negation at early years by EFL learners in Nepalese context’. I mainly focused on developmental process of learning negation by Nepalese EFL learners at their early age. I found most of the participants were interested to observe developmental process of learning negation as it reminded their childhood. In the session, I enjoyed myself to interact with participants and also felt more confident as I talked to them. Likewise, I found most of the participants interested to listen to me and they were attentive in the session. Moreover, some participants gave positive feedback and appreciated my session.pandey2

Despite of nervousness, both of the sessions I have facilitated went well.This made me feel better and also encouraged me to present my paper in the days to come. I was very happy and got confidence and determined to show my strengths with the help of presentation in the days to come. From that moment I decided to overcome my fear which always blocks me to go further in my life.

To conclude, presenting paper in the conference of NELTA helped me boost up my confidence and I believe that it has a great impact on my professional development. It helped me realize my strength and encouraged me to present the paper in the upcoming conference as well. I wish to become a good presenter, which is an essential part of teaching.

5 comments

  • Laxman Gnawali

    Great reflection. To develop professionally, conferences are a great way. Make a resolution that you will do a presentation at every NELTA conference. You are not the same after a successful presentation.

  • Priyanka

    Sir, thank you so much for your comment which always encourage me to go further and of course I will try my best to present my paper in NELTA Conference every year as I had boost up my confidence than before.

  • Hi Priyank Jee, Congratulations on your presentation this year as well as on this publication! I just shared with Rajan Jee, Editor of April Issue, my thoughts about how English teachers in Nepal have contributed so much to the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I enjoyed reading your experiences on presenting for the NELTA Conference this year! I suggest that you ensure you are heard by several of teachers in Nepal, which would provide them with an opportunity to learn so much, and they would be encouraged thus to contribute more to the field, I believe! To add to Laxman Jee’s comments, I would say – please, make sure part of your resolution also falls on reaching us through your presentation and attendance in TESOL conferences as well! That would be so much appreciated! In March this year, I was so pleased and honored to have met with a few English teachers from Nepal, presenting at and attending the TESOL 2015 Conference in Toronto, Canada! Congratulations once again! Regards.

  • Priyanka

    Thank you so much for reading my article and providing a comment which helps me to go further. Further, it is nice to hear about English teacher of Nepal who attended TESOL Conference which was held in canada. Once again, thank you so much for the encouragement and the information about TESOL.

    • You are very welcome, Priyanka Jee! I definitely second Dr. Gnawali’s statement, “You are not the same after a successful presentation.” And, we all would be so happy to see you presenting in one of these TESOL conferences soon! God help you reach there soon! Regards

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