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I’m really interested in pursuing a career in UX. I understand good usability, things that annoy customers and understand the theories behind wireframing/personas and so on. I would need to train my practical skills though. The thing that bothers me is that in practically all the job descriptions I see for UX pros, excellent presentation skills are required and I am terrible at presenting. I’m a shy person, introverted, etc... and would not feel comfortable having to do presentations to stakeholders. I don’t mind so much contributing spontaneously to meetings and such but being the “focus“, standing up and presenting would give me additional anxiety I don’t need.

I’m wondering whether there are UX careers that avoid this, I’m thinking perhaps of the analysis of persona data, designing the concept/wireframe or actual testing. I don’t mind one on one or small group interaction either.

Any advice/input would be most helpful.

Thanks

  • Welcome on board @uxnew. I'm afraid however that your question is not appropriate for this site as it'll most likely get opinions rather than facts. Have a look at ux.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask for more info. – Son Do Lenh Jun 21 '14 at 12:58
  • I don't know if its necessarily inappropriate. Being able to present your ideas is an important part of being a Designer. I was once given the advice that 50% of a Designer's job is being able to convince the client that your vision is the one that needs to go into production. – Pell Jun 21 '14 at 18:31
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For what it's worth, presenting is one of those things that, yes it's out of your comfort zone initially, but the more you do it, the better you get and actually you get a real buzz from it. There are often 'safe' environments in order to practice speaking before doing it in a critical client facing situation.

While the idea today of presenting may be uncomfortable you wouldn't really get to that point without really knowing very well what you're talking about. At that point, confidence in the knowledge of your field backs you up pretty strongly.

I'd really think twice against trying to actively push your career in a direction solely for reasons of trying to avoid presenting information to others, since once you're an expert in any field, you might well just end up presenting to others anyway!

Having said that, perhaps ethnographic research might be roles to avoid targeting directly!

I'd be tempted to be a bit more flexible and feel your way into a UX career by way of what feels right to you rather than trying to manipulate it into some safe little cocoon. Things rarely work out how you think they're going to, or at least, not for long!

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I would suggest you write a talk or two.

Focus on anything comfortable to you, if you can make it UX specific, like proper design criteria or how to properly create a user story. Anything and everything you could talk about in your sleep.

Submit that talk to local conferences, (Believe me, there are tons of local Tech/Software/Web conferences and they all LOVE to get Design talks. Since most of the people going to the conferences are Developers, very few design talks are usually submitted.

Also look at local user groups. .NET, Javascript, they all have user groups. (Just google "Your Area" + "Technology Name" + "User Group" and be amazed.) User groups are one of the best places to really get used to presenting and talking in front of a group. Some user groups are small ~10 people groups, others range upwards of 80-100.

It is basically a relatively stress free way to get comfortable with presenting, you don't have to worry about your job being on the line and you can develop a style all your own.

Take a look at http://prezi.com/, its a great free way to do presentations.

Always keep in mind, you can put presentations you have done on your resume. As a UX Designer I have the conferences and groups I have spoken at on my resume, and have been asked for copies of my presentations before during interviews.

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