At the beginning of every semester in the social psych area, we set up the schedule for our area colloquium. Once we cover who all the outside speakers are, and when they’ll be coming, there’s the critical moment where the faculty member in charge says, “which graduate students would like to present?” There’s always the awkward moment (or few moments) of looking around, avoiding everyone’s glances, and then eventually enough people sign up. What’s funny is that this same scene plays out every semester! It’s nerve-wracking to get up in front of all the faculty and graduate students in the area and talk about your own research for an hour (or longer…), but it’s a great opportunity to practice presentation style and skills, as well as the best way to communicate the novelty and excitement of your own research to others.
So, if you have a chance to present at anything, a conference poster session, an IU research symposium, or your departmental colloquium, rip off the Band-Aid (so to speak) and volunteer yourself. You may be nervous, but if you prepare for it ahead of time, you’ll be just fine!