What I Learned from Being a First-Time Presenter

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By Starla Ringer, RT(R)

“Public speaking” might be one of the scariest word combinations out there for most people, including me. Yet, I eagerly agreed to give a presentation at this year’s Annual Meeting in Orlando.  Before the meeting, I immediately asked myself, “How could I possibly be able to speak in front a crowd of peers, especially those with far more experience and knowledge than me?” Yes, I had Brenda DeBastiani as a co-presenter and an appealing title (Why do smart people do dumb sh*t?), but I still wondered if I would be able to deliver a presentation that left those who attended feeling like they had learned something new and valuable.

However, while preparing for my speech, I realized that I wasn’t going to present to a bunch of strangers with more knowledge and experience, but I was going to do it in front of my radiology family. I couldn’t believe the outpouring of support prior to my presentation, with old friends and new friends offering words of aid and encouragement.

They say that growth comes only at the end of your comfort zone, and that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. After my presentation, I learned that I could do anything I put my mind to. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and couldn’t be more proud of myself for doing it.

I also wasn’t prepared for the feedback I received after my presentation. The amount of people that took the time to offer praise, share their own stories, and even offer some valuable constructive criticism was astounding. The outpouring of support stretched throughout the whole week, from fellow attendee Jenna Hulscher writing about the presentation in Convention Daily, to having several individuals tell me that they may give a presentation next year because I inspired them to do so. Those words were very powerful and heartwarming! I hope they all stick to their plans, because it is an experience that is unforgettable and rewarding. If you have  doubts about being able to present- don’t! You can do it!

As for me, I plan to keep growing. I want to use this experience and motivation from the conference to keep moving ahead, and to keep doing things that make me grow (like writing this article), or to take any other opportunity that may come my way.

Starla Ringer, RT(R) is the radiology services supervisor at Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown, WV. She can be reached at RingerS@monhealthsys.org.


Editor’s Note: Feeling inspired to present at an AHRA conference? The 2019 Call for Presenters is now open! Click here to apply to speak at the 2019 Spring Conference or 2019 Annual Meeting.


  1. Way to go Starla, stepping up and adding your insight to the rest of us is what our ahra “family” is all about… even us Old timers!!!😄. Proud of you, and of course we all expect a repeat!!! Best Roland Rhynus

  2. Starla, I am so proud of you!!!
    You hit the “nail on the head” in your Link article. We are all family and we always learn and grow together.
    You are a shining “Star-la” and I’m looking forward to witnessing all of your future accomplishments!!!
    All my best for continued successes!!!
    ❤️ Terry

  3. This was one of my favorite presentations at the conference! You did such a great job & made it fun. It definitely inspired me to submit for next year. I can’t wait to see if my presentation is chosen. Hope to see you in Denver.

  4. This was a great presentation. Would never had known it was your first. Hope you continue presenting, especially with great catchy subjects! See you in Denver 2019!

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