September 6th 2017
Today I had to give a big presentation at work. Recently, I’ve been working on getting some wireframes designed for a new project, I’ve had to work with our designers to get everything together and today we had a 10am meeting to show the wireframes to some relevant people around the business.
Before we went into the meeting room my boss said to me something like “You’ll be okay to present the wireframes won’t you? It’ll be good experience for you,” and I immediately, metaphorically, shit myself a little bit. That kinda stuff makes me more anxious than it probably should, and a year ago I would’ve just been completely incapable of doing it. But today, after a couple of hard swallows, I told her that I’d be fine. It would be good experience. I probably also deflected the anxiety by using humour as a coping mechanism, because that’s just who I am as a person.
My problem is that, although I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer, I’m not particularly eloquent out loud. Especially under pressure. I stutter and mumble and hesitate. It annoys me because it sometimes takes me like three minutes to speak a sentence because I trip over my words so much. Plus, add the watching eyes of, like, seven random coworkers and I was pretty scared.
Also, at 9:55am I still hadn’t actually received the wireframes from the designers, so I was still, metaphorically, shitting myself a little bit.
But, at 9:57am the designers pulled through and sent over the wireframes. Phew.
I think the meeting went well. I know that I was my usual, stuttery self, but that’ll improve with practice. Talking is hard. It’s so much easier writing things down. You can delete the bits you don’t like and you can read back over it once you’re done to make sure that it makes sense, y’know?
Speaking of which, because everything came through at the last minute, I didn’t have time to read through the wireframes before I began presenting them, so there were a couple of typos. Naturally, my coworkers pointed them out. Because it was me that was presenting the wireframes, it felt like those mistakes were my mistakes, even though they weren’t. So that was annoying. Mainly because I wouldn’t want people to assume that I don’t know how to spell ‘exclusions‘, because knowing how to spell is kind of a big part of my job. But perhaps I’m just being too neurotic.
To be fair, it is my fault that we cut it so close on time anyway. I briefed the designers too late last night so there was a mad rush this morning. Because this is the first time my boss has given me this level of responsibility on a project, I was kinda sorta a little bit scared of fucking it up.
Happily though, everything worked out alright.
I think I did well. I could’ve done better. My boss had to jump in and finish my sentences a couple of times when I got a bit lost (for which I was thankful) but other than that it wasn’t too bad.
It’s weird, because talking would be less of a problem if I wasn’t the person running the meeting. If it was someone else’s meeting then I could chip in and chirp up no problem, but there’s an added layer of pressure when you’re in the driving seat.
My main tip to myself for next time would be to bring a pint or two of water to 1) quench thirst, and 2) give me something to do to avoid awkward silences.
Until tomorrow, it’ll come with time.