I think it’s fair to say that many people look at me in a slightly perplexed fashion when I say I’m doing a PhD. This sometimes turns to confusion when I reveal that the subject is Shakespeare on film.
The typical question is “why would you want to do that? Followed swiftly by, “how useful is it?” and “what has it got to do with your work?”.
Many highly skilled professionals feel that their presentation ‘persona’ – in meetings, at conferences and in interviews – is a weak imitation of their real selves. If that’s you, I would argue that the reason is not because you can’t present, but because no-one has yet shown you how to overcome the personal mental obstacles that inhibit you.
Obstacles that prevent you being energetic, engaging and inspiring. Obstacles that stifle your personality. Obstacles that can – ultimately – inhibit your career progression because you fail to impress when it counts: in meetings, at conferences and in interviews.
You may – or may not – know that I’m currently doing a Shakespeare Studies MA and would be really interested to know the following:
- What is your favourite Shakespeare FILM and who directed it/starred in it?
- Why is it your favourite?
- Did you know the story before you saw the film?
And whilst these are the main things I want to know, please say as much or as little as you want about the reasons for your choice
Language can be wonderfully ambiguous, especially if you are writing in a hurry.
Here are few examples of what might be called ‘transmission errors’, made by writers who could have taken a little more time in composing their words. (although they wouldn’t be anywhere near as funny for us if they had).
There are any number of reasons why people fail to practice their presenting skills, but perhaps the most pernicious of all is the “I don’t need to practice, I want be spontaneous” myth.
This argument is normally heard from people who don’t have enough time to prepare their material – because of work pressures.
And then they stand up in front of an audience – big or small – and try to ‘wing it’, in the often vain hope that something will happen to carry them through.