So it turns out that it’s not that I’m bad at public speaking, but rather than I am bad at public speaking when I am being graded by a professor.
I just gave a talk to a group of physics and astronomy grad students on the subject of acoustic black holes. It went over quite well, I dare say. The trick is to amuse them; academic lectures (particularly those involving lengthy mathematical derivations) can be so painfully bland if something isn’t done to spice them up.*
That said, if I had been giving this same talk before a professor it wouldn’t have gone at all well. Of course, given that this presentation contained a lengthy discourse on toilets**, I don’t think I would give this particular talk to a professor…
*There are weekly seminars at my university during the regular school year; I can count the number of interesting ones on the fingers of one hand.
**As well as a slide titled “Perturbation: The Bad Type of ‘-turbation.'”