I hate doing presentations.
I believe the more presentations you do, the better you become at doing them but the fact is, I very rarely have the need to do them in my line of work so no, I’m not good at them. Occasionally, I do training presentations, which aren’t as bad because talking about my day to day job is easier.
The last time I did a major presentation to senior management was over 7 years ago…I don’t have great memories of that.
If I have to speak out in public to a formal audience, I suffer from all the classic symptoms – dry mouth, blank mind, short breaths, trembling, sweating and extreme nervousness. Apparently I hide all these symptoms well because people think I’m alright at presentations but the fact is, I’m pretty TERRIFIED of them.
So when I was on that 3 day course in London back in June, I thought nothing about what would happen at the end of the project that my team would work on for 5 months. I don’t think it was made very clear, or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention.
All projects were to end in November with a formal presentation to the senior leadership team, including our CEO, CFO, COO, etc.
HQ in London – yes, it looks like a boat!
I’ve been in a state of dread all month, knowing the days were ticking down. I’d done all my work for the project, pretty much knew all my stuff but the thought of travelling down to London and doing the presentation was making me feel rather ill.
There was no way out for me.
Well it happened on Thursday.
Our team had had no formal practice of our presentation as none of us were based at the same office (one guy was based in Germany). Other teams had spent days practising to perfect their deliveries. I had a horrible feeling.
We were third up and my pitch was in the middle of our presentation. The senior leadership team were sat very close to the front of the auditorium – I could clearly see the whites of their eyes. My legs were shaking as I stood there and I hoped no one noticed.
It was the longest 2 and half minutes of my life.
I actually don’t really remember what I said. I didn’t have a script (for fear of not remembering my lines) or notes (for fear of fumbling them), deep breathing beforehand had helped a little with my short-breathlessness so I didn’t lose my voice. I do recall that I didn’t think I sounded natural, that it wasn’t my voice, that I sounded like I was talking as if my life depended on it!
But I do remember people were nodding as I was speaking (so I was making sense!) and that gave me the confidence to finish without things going all pear-shaped. I felt like collapsing in a heap after I’d finished speaking!
And then it was all over, questions were asked and answered and I sat back down with relief and my heart finally slowed down.
Afterwards, people told me that I did really well, that I’d pitched my voice just right and sounded confident. Really? Yet all I was feeling was that I wanted the ground to swallow me up!
I know this is something I need to work on – rather than shy away from presentations or public speaking, I need to do more. I’m not looking forward to it…wish me luck!
Anyway, after all the presentations had taken place, we had a final formal session where we learned about stuff that would help us to develop our careers and to help the business grow. I couldn’t help but think that some of the ‘slogans’ could be used for this blog:
“Empower And Inspire Each Other”
The whole PF/FI blogging community does this – not only a wealth of knowledge but full of friendly support, help and motivation. Certainly, it’s from reading blogs that has motivated me to start my own and set off on my own FI journey. Reading about other people’s experiences has given me confidence to do things myself to try to emulate what they have achieved.
“Learn And Adapt To Win”
I’ve learned a lot about saving and investing but there is still so much more to learn. I’d never heard of savings rates before but am now rigorously tracking my own savings to achieve my goals. Flexibility I think is key here – if mistakes are made, learn from them, adapt and move on.
“Deliver Results in an Uncertain World”
This one is almost written with the stock market in mind. I recently learned more about diversification so am changing the asset allocations of my portfolio, which should hopefully achieve desired growth and income whilst minimising losses during volatile stock market fluctuations. This slogan could also apply to the world in general, with things like health, taxes, inflation, pensions all being in the ‘uncertain’ bracket.
I’m so relieved that the project and presentation is in the past. I’ve been mentally drained these past few weeks. I’ll be out celebrating with a few drinks this weekend anyway.
I do have one more project to complete but no presentation required for this one – YAY!
Have a great weekend all!