Good morning! Today's my last day before wedding chaos arrives (in the form of relatives), so there will be lots of cleaning and vacuuming, and then some more vacuuming so that no one chokes to death on cat hair. Consequently, I will not be blogging for roughly the next week. I promise to post appropriately altered pictures after the wedding.
Gerty-Z, over at Balanced Instability had an interesting post yesterday about the lack of confidence demonstrated by most young female speakers. As I mentioned in the comments, Alan Alda was involved in a very interesting project a few years ago about using improv training as a tool to improve their communication skills. The video can be seen here.
Students of all stripes generally need more experience presenting. While rehearsing a specific talk can help, many, many science students are simply uncomfortable speaking in front of an audience. There's also a line I love at about 8:25: "It's much easier when you just make it up than when you write it out the night before." So many students over rehearse a particular talk, and if they get interrupted or distracted mid-sentence, completely lose their talk.
However, there simply aren't that many opportunities to practice, unless you are somehow lecturing, or have external routes (like theatre or other performing arts). It's hard to sound confident about your science when you wouldn't be comfortable presenting The Cat in the Hat in front of a group. Perhaps instead of a journal club, a Science Open Mic? I'd love suggestions, as this is something I'm really interested in starting here at GiantU.