Why not to present at a conference

A few months ago, I was asked to present at a conference I’ve been regularly attending for some years now. For the first time in my life, I should add. Not that I hadn’t played with the idea before; I love sharing my ideas and I have my own blog, so presenting ideas to an audience in the flesh should not be a big deal, I’d thought. However, to cut it short, I refused in the end.

Here are five excuses I made to myself. Note: Now that I think about it, some of the excuses were latent in my subconscious mind at the time of my decision and they didn’t surface until recently.


😦 The offer didn’t come at the right time. It was back in May when I was dealing with some problems at work and my teaching enthusiasm had slightly faded. However, if I had given it a try, such a big challenge would have pushed me forward and, most importantly, it would have given me a big dose of enthusiasm, which I clearly needed. 

😦 It was too far out of my comfort zone, mainly because it was the first time. But, as a teacher I admire said to me, there always has to be a first time. Plus I know all too well that staying in one’s comfort zone isn’t always to the good. 

😦 The talk was supposed to be at a conference which I had attended regularly for a couple of years. They say that ‘no one is a prophet in his own land’so perhaps I was worried that some attendee’s ideas wouldn’t be taken seriously. The truth is that being a regular teacher and a conference attendee is a bonus because you know who you are talking to and what the people want. Moreover, the people there are very friendly and I’m sure they would have accepted me without reservations. 

😦 Why would anybody be interested in a talk given by some non-native teacher of English if there are much bigger names on the program? Well, I personally choose workshops based on the content, not the mother tongue of the presenter, so why the hell did this idea come to mind at all? 

😦 What on earth would I actually talk about? Should it be a topic I’m interested in (Dogme, corpora, for instance) or should it be something which is generally popular with conference attendees (useful tips for lessons and no-prep activities, for example)? In fact, if I had researched a little, I’m sure I’d have finally discovered a nice overlap. I do share tips and activities on my blog after all, so I’d surely have found some useful and intriguing stuff to share with the folks there. 

Well, I hope this write-up will give me some courage to overcome my fears. 🙂

What about you? Do you have a similar experience?

About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for almost 25 years and I still love my job. You can find out more about my passion here on my blog.
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5 Responses to Why not to present at a conference

  1. Sandy Millin says:

    HI Hana,
    I definitely think you should go for it. I suspect I know where you’re talking about, and perhaps you might be invited again the next time round – I’m seriously considering going. Maybe we could even do something together? Maybe something about online development or blogging? Just a thought 🙂 And I’d definitely come to your talk if we’re not on at the same time! What I’m looking for in a conference talk is passion and a genuine interest in what the speaker is talking about, and I’m pretty sure you’ve got both of those in spades!
    Hope to see you soon,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M. Makino says:

    Seconded! It’s a unique challenge being on the other side of the lectern and gives you more sympathy for presenters you see later.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adi Rajan says:

    For the longest time I had apprehensions about presenting at events surrounded by people with doctorates and the like. Then, it dawned on me that their qualifications didn’t amount to competence. I think I’m over that fear but haven’t found an opportunity to present yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. careymicaela says:

    Hi Hana,

    I can definitely relate to your post. Just recently I’ve had a couple people nudge me in the direction of presenting. To be honest, it scares the crap out of me but at the same time I think it’s just what I need. It’s a challenge outside my comfort zone but one that I’m pretty sure I can handle. I’m working myself up to it and mostly convinced that in the near future I will present. Now I just need to figure out what to talk about and where to give the session. 😉 Good luck overcoming those fears. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only one!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: My hopes and fears | How I see it now

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