If this is how you write papers, and prepare for speaking engagements just put two in the air and laugh.
Conferences and seminar courses are a great way to to meet scholars outside of your discipline and think about you can incorporate other disciplines into your own research. Also depending on the course, you have you have the opportunity to present your own research or create a presentation that incorporates the course readings and how you interpret them according to your research interest.
Most academic departments at Indiana University have annual conferences or symposiums that allow for students to present on their research. Having home advantage as you present your work allows you proper preparation for conferences on other campuses, especially if public speaking isn’t your strong suit. Participating in conferences and seminar courses allow you to build up your resolve for public speaking as well as how you present what I assume is your life’s work.