Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nervous Pervous

I was asked on Monday if I wanted to do a 15 minute presentation at a meeting on Wednesday. It wasn't a real question in that I couldn't say I didn't want to if I wanted to even though I did want to say I didn't want to. (You follow that one?) It was more of an assignment and the question was only asking me if there was any reason why I would not be able present on Wednesday, and unfortunately there wasn't.

Public speaking is something I always wanted to be better at but never EVER wanted to practice. I know I would never try it on my own so I was slightly happy that I was given the opportunity to test it out with only a 15 minute presentation. 15 minutes is nothing! baby steps! I was still pretty worried about how it would all play out.... I knew I was going to be nervous, but I didn't realize how crazy it would make me.

On Tuesday, all I did at work was work on this presentation....adding slides...removing slides...rearranging sentences... deleting words. I spent a ridiculous amount of time OCD-ing over this presentation. I thought about it the whole drive home from work...I missed my exit because I was so concerned about it and I wasn't paying attention to where I was going. If you told me something Tuesday night, I probably wasn't listening because this presentation was the ONLY thing I could focus on. This morning I missed a meeting because I thought it was at 8:30am east coast time or 11:30am CA time, but no it was really at 8:30am my time and I didn't get to work until 8:50! Can I still use the excuse I'm not used to the time zone? jet lag? I've been home or a week and a half! No way! My only excuse is that I'm a complete spazoid and the threat of this impending presentation is destroying my normal train of thought. This was a bad start to my day. A day filled of...guess what? Re-arranging and re-wording this dang presentation up until meeting time (3pm)!

This presentation was really not a big deal and I kept telling myself that, but the sole word "presentation" just completely messes with my mind. If I went to the meeting with no prior mention of the word "presentation" and someone asked during the meeting if I could summarize my results in 15 minutes, I would be totally fine and happy to do so. I know I can communicate, I know how to think and talk and form complete sentences....But knowing that at this certain time 8-10 people will be silent, and look at me, and listen to the words that I say,and read these slides I put together, and will expect to learn something from it, and form questions that I may or may not be able to answer... Holy Anxiety Attack!

So it's meeting time. Someone else gave a presentation before me...on what? I have no clue because all I was thinking about was what I will say and kept going through possible questions people might ask me and how I'd respond... Then it was my turn. My heart was beating so loud I seriously thought it was going to make me throw up, and for a few seconds I really had to focus on keeping my composure to avoid getting sick... I nearly passed out. Once I got past the first couple slides and a couple of cracks in my voice, I felt fine and a decent amount more confident. I hope no one noticed how badly I was shaking when I clicked for the next slide...

Does anyone else get this awful feeling? How do you get passed it? It's terrible.

I am just glad it's over with!


Nancy said...

Ha. It gets easier (?), but never fun.

Bridget said...

I get very nervous too, with public speaking. Just practice, practice, practice seems to help me.

Courtney said...

I hate it too. I get up there and no longer have a brain. My aunt keeps telling me to join 'toast masters' to get practice - it's a social group that gets together to practice public speaking - but I'm not sure it exists anymore...

Anonymous said...

Just keep doing it, doing it, doing it! When I used to do it a lot I remember seeing some people in the audience sleeping and at first I thought, oh no, I must be boring. Then I thought, no, I must have a very soothing voice... Either way after you do it enough it gets boring and then you're not nervous!!
Love you baby,

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