Interns' Proudest Moments

Will Pollard’s Proudest Moment as an Intern

One thing that I was told coming into Microsoft was that you’re only here for a year, so you should grasp your internship with both hands and make the most of it. My manager asked me at the start what were the key things I wanted to develop, and amongst other focus areas, I really wanted to improve my public speaking as it was something I have always been interested in improving. Over the course of the year I got involved with various activities and projects which helped me to get used to speaking in front of an audience, however, nothing compared to my experience at our Services Offsite in March.

Before Christmas, most of our department were involved in workshops developing our team charter. The speaker at the workshop requested an advocate from each workshop to step forward and help form it into something presentable at the offsite in March, where the whole department would be in attendance (350 people including the GM of UK Services and our CEO Cindy Rose). I put myself forward to help form the output of the workshops, with the outcome being that 4 people out of that group would need to present on the team charter, on stage, alone, to the rest of the department. I knew that this was my chance to do something different and to make my mark within the sector, to really push myself and ignore the fear that would come with it. I plucked up the courage and asked for a 5-10 minute slot to introduce the charter and to talk about my experience of working within services.

When it came to the day of the event, the nerves I experienced were beyond anything I have ever felt before. Stepping into the Grand Hotel in Trafalgar Square and taking in the sheer size of the audience made my stomach turn. The one thing you have to remember with something like this is that everyone in the crowd was willing me to do well, and after the lengthy practice sessions and repetitive rehearsals it was finally time to step on stage and deliver my section of the talk. I could have fainted I was that nervous, but I was only going to get one shot and I don’t think I could have stomached the embarrassment of chickening out at the last minute. Our General Manager Tamer introduced me on stage and for the next 5-10 minutes, everything went numb as I recited my words into the microphone which was violently shaking in my hand. I walked the stage, made eye contact with the audience and managed to speak the whole thing without slipping up! The next thing I can remember is walking off of the stage and forgetting to take a breath as I sat down. I had done it, the fear was over and swiftly with its exit came to a sea of congratulations and recognition.

After this experience, public speaking has gotten a lot easier for me, as I know that 80,100,200 people would be a breeze compared to that! This was something that I was proud to be a part of and is an opportunity that I wasn’t going to let go to waste, as I mentioned earlier, you really do need to make the most of it whilst working at Microsoft, as you may not know that a life changing opportunity could pass you by at any moment.

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