Slightly hunched and white knuckled I’m clinging to the stool. My leg has gone. The two cafe owners are fussing over me but a queue is fast building up behind me I’m embarrassed and I just want to get out! The moment I can stand I grab the bag and go. Two moments later the lady owner is out in the street after me, shoves a huge wooden umbrella in my hand and says ‘this will help you walk’ then disappears off back inside. Thank you good lady.
Preparing for that first big presentation is a mine field of elements. There are many things you can control – you can ensure you have properly working hardware, you can choose the best presentation software for you, and spend weeks researching and putting the slides together just right.
But HOW do you make YOU ready?
Here is the story of how I prepared for that first big presentation.
It was a few years ago. I was incredibly nervous. I had no problem with the tech; I’ve always been pretty good with PowerPoint and Keynote. I’d all my notes in the notes view and printed out just in case. But I just couldn’t speak back then. I hated being in front of people. I would sweat and stumble and panic and talk a million miles a second just so it would be over faster! I’d gotten several pieces of advice on how to prepare. One was to know my notes inside out so I could say them without stumbling and focus on slowing down. I had to get used to people looking at me as well. So I grabbed my ipod and notes and walked around saying them over and over again. I must have looked very silly walking a big loop around Grand Canal Dock talking to myself (these days’ most people would assume you were on a phone call, back then, not so much). I did that for a few evenings and slowly I got there. I stopped minding people looking at me (quite so much) and I stopped speaking as fast. I’ve since heard a story about a little girl who had the same fears before a talk so she dressed up in a dinosaur costume to get used to the stares. She’s far braver than I was! I presented a few days after that. I was still incredibly nervous and had cold sweats but I didn’t stumble or stutter or pause so it at least looked like I knew what I was doing and that’s the most I could have hoped for.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on presenting? How did you get beyond your nerves? I’d love to hear your comments.
A year and a half ago we got engaged. Disbelief made me ask if he was sure. Disbelief made me ask him ask a second time. Delight made me make him ask a third time.
Being stunned meant he had to remind me, I hadn’t yet answered.
We put it off for many reasons – work, study, business, cashflow. We chose the day for one reason; it was the closest we could get to mums birthday. At the time it seemed the closet we could get to having her there.
I can sometimes be a very wound person. I’ve had a few stresses and tensions that I seem to be stuck with. It’s not fun.
It’s difficult for the partners of someone like this to know what to do in these moments. Something happened recently that helped me. I wanted to share it, maybe it’ll help someone else.
Just before her birthday, her classmates held an event in her name. I heard stories of adventures and chats. Student type evenings in the pub, with regular checks of that ragtag little train table she kept.
She loved learning and reading and people, and all of that was here in one place. She’d be so touched they planted a tree for her. I’m eternally grateful too. They gave me a place to visit, to sit with her a while.
You’ve made it to the bathroom. That’s not the problem. You lean heavily against the door. Shaking. Holding the walls for support. Head pounding. Stomach tight.
And still, that’s not what worries you most. Through your swimming skull you realise; you’re playing body roulette.
Desperately waiting for the coin to fall. Heads or tails.
Can you guess correctly?
Can you guess in time?
And you think to yourself. What on earth did I eat?