Slid past another "oral presentation" in ENG119. It never bothered me to get up in front of a room full of Boeing engineers or Department of Energy wigs back in the day when I did that sort of thing, but these English assignments are decidedly nerve wracking.
I think I finally figured it out: These oral presentations are too much like a stand-up monologue. God knows it takes some talent to pull that off with grace and aplomb. There are people on TV who aren't particularly good at it--and they're supposed actors or comics or whatever.
Two things used to save my ass when I had to present something to folks in the past. One was that ubiquitous ever-crutch, the PowerPoint Slide. If you can't figure out what to do with your hands, point to your damn slide. Click back a couple to reinforce a point or forward one to show them you already thought of that. The other thing was that when I was talking to a group who knew something (sometimes more than I did) about what I was talking about, the monologue would almost immediately devolve into a dialogue. People would start asking questions before I could get through the second slide and, whether it became a hug-fest or a slug-fest, at least I wasn't up there tap dancing alone to an awkward silence.
No matter. I do well enough. Some of the folks I think write their talks on the bus on the way to school and when they read it, it's the first time they've heard it. I at least rehearse it aloud a couple (or twenty or thirty) times just to get the timing right. He said if a five-minute talk didn't land in the four-to-six minute range, you were going to lose points. So I do at least make sure it comes out the right length. That's usually a relief. I've almost always written way more than will fit into the allotted time, so I can just hack off the potentially unsightly tumorous outgrowths.
So . . . Do we suppose there's a movie we'd rather see than producing a "semantic diagram" for our database project or mowing the accidental lawn? Hmmmmm . . .
There's another variation on John Lennon's "Life is what happens while you're making other plans:"
"Life is what happens while you're avoiding other's plans."