Pressure to Perform and to Perform under Pressure

To tell you all a little secret, I’m extremely nervous when it comes to public speaking. Presenting my science to others in the field is an important aspect of my job as a scientist and it helps promote my work, establish collaborations  and most importantly gather feedback for future work. Over the last few years, I’ve presented at national and international meetings, have always performed well and even won a few prizes. None of this counts when I have to give another one.

Yesterday was one such day and it drained me both emotionally and physically. In the minutes/hours leading up to the presentation, my heart races like a Ferrari and I usually lose the ability to listen/concentrate on other talks. I consider my fear a big limitation and envy those that have the natural ability to speak in public. Having said that, my fear has often manifested as my friend and helped me for the best. Realising my limitation and the risk of putting up a blank face, I often prepare and rehearse well. I always prepare a small speech for the first few minutes of the talk to set me off on a comfortable note and you know what, it works!! My brain is first tricked into following a little routine of few words it has been taught and picks up naturally while maintaing the confidence of the routine and spontaneity of an engaging talk.

As a young scientist, every opportunity to show my work is a window to many others. This is the ‘Pressure to perform’ and once I have turned myself into nervous wreck, the challenge is to overcome the obstacles in my mind ‘To Perform under Pressure’. 

Isn’t it all about accepting our imperfections Michelle? (

Post a comment below if you have experienced something similar or if you have any advice for me (maybe down a glass of wine next time ;))

Before I sign off, I want to show you a short video. In the lab, we make beating heart muscle cells from human stem cells in order to study  how heart muscle cells develop and also to model disorders of the human heart. I promised Tanya ( that I’ll post more pictures of my experiments and i wanted to fulfil it. Thanks for hearing me out



Posted on December 5, 2013, in Personal Experiences, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thank you dear friend! Again, you honor me with your words and kindness. Have a fantastic rest of the day…you completely made mine 🙂

  2. Good morning dear Deepti,

    You can’t imagine how humbled and honored I was to be reading along (and thoroughly enjoying) your post when I saw that you referenced my site.

    My first thought? “I’m not worthy! Crap! I only have football stuff on there now!” Then, I remembered…perhaps I should practice what I preach about imperfection. Anyhoo…be looking for a little something later today that more fits the the theme of my page and what you were trying to share with your words.

    But, enough about me. LOVED your insight and honesty around public speaking. If I were to guess, I would imagine that your lectures are fun, engaging, informative and endearing–something not everyone can accomplish in any field. Perhaps you should post a video (hint?! hint?!)

    Again…many thanks Deepti.


    Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2013 19:05:04 +0000 To:

    • Thanks for your kind words Michelle! Anyone who gets through to your ‘about’ page will know what i’m talking. What you have written there is so true and it made me write this post.

      I think the most important thing with this blogging is to get the words to go out of your mind/heart. you have got that- so its definitely worthy 🙂 Thanks, for the generous ping back.

  1. Pingback: I’m Real and Imperfect….and I’m Spectacular! | MamaMickTerry

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