AKA Abraham Bacoln

Presentations are finally over
April 24, 2008, 7:14 pm
Filed under: tidbit

Presentations are finally over

Cargado originalmente por Brother O’Mara

No more dressing up this semester.

So something happened somewhere and I have no idea what it was or why it happened. I became good at public speaking. I know, those of you who know me in real life are probably laughing and shaking your heads because you know I’m never afraid to make noise or talk too much about a subject, or just generally keep rattling on until I’m a pain in the ass when I’m hanging out with you.

But I did used to be afraid (did used to – that doesn’t sound like gooder English) to speak in front of a group of strangers. Stage fright. Anxeity. I always hated to do it in high school. When I finally got to college (the first time) I had to take a speech class, which I wasn’t really looking forward to. The instructor, intending to make us more comfortable, started the class out by making us sit in a circle and the conversation went around and everyone had to tell the group something about talking in public. Most everyone there just said they were nervous, or hesitant. Of course there were a few that weren’t. Then when it became my turn I said, “My name is Kevin, and I’m pretty sure I’m blushing right now …” and of course it was totally true and everyone laughed a whole lot. For the rest of the semester I would get up to deliver my speech, say, “Hold on a second, let me get the blushing out of the way” and of course everyone would laugh then too, and afterwards I knew it was going to be okay.

But that was just one class. I was comfortable with those people, but not anyone else. They didn’t know about my automatic blushing, my reluctance to have all the eyes of all those strangers on me. Presentations in any other classes were, while not hellish per se, certainly something I dreaded.

And then I left college and moved about for a while, and lived life, etc. Somewhere in those intervening years I just kind of forgot about being nervous. I know that in part I have developed more of a “I don’t care what you think” attitude, both in the sense of “it’s okay for you to have an opinion, and if your opinion is that I’m a dork or a jackass that’s fine, it won’t change who I feel I am” and also in the sense of, “No, REALLY, I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK.”

I have to do that, because deep down I really do care what everyone thinks, far far too much. S’why I’m always asking my friends, “ZOMG do you think I should shave my beard or not? What about the food? Was it okay? Do you mind if we do this or that or the other?” But I’ve come to realize that those are my friends’ opinions, and those people are my friends for a reason (or for multiple reasons), and their opinions matter. But everyone else? I’m working on it.

Wow, look how far off-topic I got there! I can almost see the original thread from here!

Aaaaaaaanyway so when I got back to college in 2006 I had to give presentations of course – by the way, the whole ‘presentations’ thing is a result of being in the school of business. We can’t just write papers, nooooo, we have to stand up and TALK about the papers after they’re written. So yeah, I gave a presentation a year or so ago and practiced the hell out of it and stood up and did it, and I probably didn’t even blush. It didn’t feel like I blushed. I was still nervous, though.

Now for the present day. I just got done with two presentations this week. For both of them I maybe practiced a little bit. Some. Maybe. Forget notecards, though. I just somewhere along the line developed the attitude of, “Eh, I know the subject material enough. I’ll wing it.” And wing it I did. And get fantastic grades I did. And actually have random classmates come up to me afterwards and say, “Man, nice job” I did. I even had one girl say (and no, she wasn’t flirting with me) “these presentations have been so boring, but as soon as you started talking I was like WHOA hold on something interesting is happening!” I feel like I know how to get people’s attention. I look them in the eye, not in that way in which people just kind of scan the room, but I find someone and I get their attention, and sometimes you can see them sit up a little and have that look on their face like, “Oh, he’s talking to ME.” I feel like I can connect with my listeners. I can make them smile, I can make them laugh. I can even make them care about the demographic breakdown of potential market share for the coastal region of Nigeria with regards to sales of anti-dandruff shampoo.

And I honestly have no idea where it came from. I don’t know whatever happened to being afraid, but it’s long gone.

So I feel good. This semester’s presentations are over, and I have lost my fear of public speaking. If you need me to get up and make words at your next club meeting you just let me know. I have low rates.

5 Comments so far
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…and tomorrow, the world.

Comment by Jim

Man, that’s got to be my favorite feeling ever. I didn’t take my speech class until after I had my first child. By that point I couldn’t give two shits what strangers thought about me. I also learned the “look ’em in the eve” buisness and like you said, it just makes the audience think you’re speaking directly to one person.

Comment by Biscuit

whoo-hoo, gemini wonder twin! you’re a right dandy feller.

Comment by liz

I’m pleased to hear the positive effect that the Loaded Steakhouse Burger has had on your self-confidence!

Comment by Homey R

BTW, a Google search for “Loaded Steakhouse Burger” returns your weblog as the 7th result. You are famous!

Comment by Homey R

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