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April 25, 2012

Post–presentation blues – by Sarahjane

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After presenting at a departmental seminar yesterday, to the recently appointed professor, it was difficult to defend against the post-presentation blues. Luckily enough, with supervisor support, a full blown break down was averted and my optimism restored…for now. I completely respect the purpose of showcasing your work to other academics, and honestly, I look forward to it. Verbal communication is my forte, particularly in comparison to writing and so I see it as an opportunity to shine assuming that what I am trying to communicate, in this case my research, is of worth.

Normally I do. I am one of those lucky individuals who is not part of a larger research project, my work is my own and consequently I get to do it how I like. I love this. However, on the odd occasion that I get to share it with others, you risk exposing cracks. Small cracks can be repaired, large cracks such as not understanding your underpinning theories sufficiently and that my work is actually another theory are a little more difficult. Especially with only 5 months to go it could potentially undermine all the research I have conducted. Definitely not something you want to hear during your write up phase.

Thanks to some excellent support from my supervisor and a fellow colleague, today isn’t so harrowing. It appears I fell foul to severe insecurities about my own research capabilities before considering the less dramatic options. So where did I go wrong? I did not target my presentation to my audience. If I had targeted this audience, of a different research field, I would have dedicated more time to the theories underpinning my research. Lesson for me: don’t underestimate your research skills or overestimate your presenting skills. And remember, most of the people you presented too, weren’t paying that much attention. This PhD Comic springs to mind:

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