High anxiety

Yesterday, I had to give a presentation. No big deal. I have done it six different times to six different departments in the past few months, always with good feedback.

But yesterday’s was to my own department. My work family. The people who know what a screw-up I really am.

In front of strangers, I am able to pretend I am a rock star, and they buy it. In front of my work family, I have no secrets or facades. I can’t pretend to be anyone but who I really am. And they all know me so well.

So I was very nervous all afternoon at work. When the meeting started, I waited anxiously for them to call me in. I actually had GI distress, and I felt like throwing up.

I was summoned. As I passed out my handouts and surveys, my manager gave me a really nice introduction. I mean, really nice. She made me out to be Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Jesus Christ all rolled up in a ball of gooey caramel and coated with a rich dark chocolate glaze.

There was no way I could follow that intro. So I said, “Okay – now I’ll live up to the hype!”, and dove right in to my talk.

There was no doubt that I was nervous. It was obvious by my reddened cheeks, my occasional stutter, my conscious effort to slow myself down. But I took some deep breaths, remembered to hit the important points, gave out treats for audience participation, and tried to make the issue I was covering personal to each person in the room. No mean feat.

Eventually, I reached a quasi-comfort level. I relaxed my timing a little, went where the feedback took me, threw in an inside joke here and there. It went fairly smoothly.

I finished my talk, asked for questions, then left the middle of the room for the safety of the sidelines. I realized I forgot to emphasize something important. Luckily, my boss was still talking about my topic, so I was able to get my point across before I was officially done.

All in all, I think it was a success. I hit my main points, I got some people to participate, I saw heads nodding, and I didn’t throw up. Last night on faceb00k, I got some really positive comments from some coworkers. And nobody ripped me apart.

That’s what I was most afraid of – getting ripped apart by my peers. But I forced myself to think that my work family members all wanted me to succeed. And I think they did.

I am so glad it’s over.

1 thought on “High anxiety

  1. I’m not surprised you did a wonderful presentation, especially in front of your co-workers and peers. You know your subject and dove right in. As your nephew Jack would say, “You did a great job”. You rock! Love, Mom

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