|With presentation week quickly approaching, you may have a student who questions the value and relevance of the third quarter presentation beyond the high school setting. To answer that, I invited a former ASA student to speak to that very issue so we can hear how the presentation process influenced her post high school graduation and continues to impact her professional life. Nicole (Fischer) Clifton, class of 2007, reflects on her ASA experience.|
What did the presentation process teach you? How did it impact you?
Learning how to present well is one of the most important life skills I learned. I have used this skill in every season of my life post HS graduation. During my undergraduate years, I used my ability to present all the time- from that first 3 minute speech requirement in an Oral Communications Class to my final undergraduate speech when I was selected to share my story with the entire student body.
Throughout my professional life, I have employed the skills learned from years of presentation preparation to effectively run staff meetings, conduct leadership development for adults, and train student leaders. I have taken advantage of opportunities to do advocacy work on behalf of human trafficking issues, present a TedX talk, host workshops and other special events. In my current work as a Life Coach, I use these same skills in a one-on-one setting. I show up with professionalism and communicate clearly and effectively. Regardless of group size, I can consistently and concisely present in a powerful and engaging way. When an in-person speech is not an option, I understand that the written word must be even more clear and impactful.
I’m thankful everyday that I had an education experience that unfortunately is not typical. ASA set me up to be a different kind of adult and be the kind of adult who stands out. I learned in 6th grade that it’s better to have too much content and trim it down than to have to scramble for more information later under pressure. I learned presentations are not about memorizing word for word. Presentations are about knowing the content well enough to present it and discuss it in a professional way. Now as an adult, I go into “presentation mode” (something I learned to do at ASA) when I prepare for professional communication. I know that being nervous doesn’t have to destroy me. I can hold the tension of being nervous and still go into the zone to deliver a powerful presentation.
What are you most excited about right now?
I am most excited to be a difference maker. I am excited about being able to talk about hard and messy things that complicate our lives. I can enter into conversations on a personal level and hope to make positive changes on a larger level.
What are your strongest memories from ASA?
I felt accepted and cherished, and people cared about who I was. I could go to a liberal school and come from a conservative family. As I got older, people tried to tell me I couldn’t be this and that. Because of ASA, it was ingrained in me that I could pick now and change my mind later. We all have a huge capacity to change. This personal freedom to explore and grow was encouraged at ASA where I learned how to think and not what to think. This was a gift that no one can ever take away from me.