14 June 2021

Samara shares how she developed the confidence to effortlessly present in front of audiences of all sizes.
Women virtually speaking to four other people

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to develop my confidence and outgoing attitude, in order to effortlessly communicate in any environment.

For the Edinburgh Award, a skillset that I chose to improve was my verbal communication and presentation skills. Overall, I consider myself to be a good communicator in smaller groups or one-on-one, I initially found myself lacking the same confidence in situations with larger audiences.

Looking for opportunities to challenge myself

After having my first meeting with my Edinburgh Award coach, I realised that I had to engage in activities/experiences that would build my self-confidence. To help me do this, I decided to take on the Student Representative position for my programme.

This opportunity has helped improve my verbal communication and presentation skills, as I have been responsible for acting as the mediator between the cohort and faculty. For example, I have communicated with the entire programme through various townhall meetings in a professional manner.

I have been able to work on my confidence when speaking in front of larger groups of people, while simultaneously ensuring that I am effectively communicating my thoughts and attentively listening to others.

Compartmentalising my thoughts

I kept my coach’s advice in mind in these circumstances. Specifically, I try to remember to compartmentalise my thoughts and slow down, to ensure that I am getting my ideas across clearly. This is not only helpful for my own skill development, but also allows the audience to understand what I am communicating.

Representing myself at interviews

As the academic year progressed, I began to search for jobs for after I graduate. Some of the application processes have required me to attend virtual interviews. Although this can be a very intimidating experience, it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and has allowed me to practice and develop my verbal communication and presentation skills.

I have gradually learned how to represent myself and my abilities when speaking with new employers, which has been a very rewarding experience. Some recruiters are willing to provide feedback for applicants who do not progress to the next stage of the hiring process.

This can provide a greater understanding for candidates regarding why they did not get the job and what can be done better next time. With this in mind, it is important to remind yourself that job rejections can be a massive learning curve, allowing you to only improve for the next interview!

An additional useful resource that the Student Development team offers is their Speakeasy programme. This initiative allows students to learn, develop, and practice public speaking. This is an excellent resource to enhance verbal communication and presentation, and simultaneously meet new students in this supportive community.

I look forward to continuing to develop these skills, which I plan to use throughout my career journey and daily life.

Samara Fruitman is a student on the MSc Marketing programme