So, that’s the first presentation done. My overall impression was that it went quite well.
I got there early enough to do another rehearsal on my own and this was time well spent. It might even have been enough to just spend some time in the room, but having some extra time to practice again, was a bonus.
I was a bit nervous but followed some advice and began to think of my nerves as anticipation instead. That definitely helped. Concentrating on work was a bit tricky but I managed to move a topic along I’d been struggling with.
Next time, I’ll need to make sure I’ve eaten properly. A couple of bananas at 4 o’clock wasn’t enough, and during the first presentation, my stomach was starting to rumble. In the interval, when I should have been trying to remain calm and focussed, I was stuffing a sausage roll into my mouth while chatting with a delegate. Yeah, that wasn’t cool.
Ankur, our presenter from Adobe, was great. He chatted to me before everyone started arriving and told me that he controls his nerves by reminding himself that during the presentation, he is SUPREME, and his audience WILL listen to him. He also said that if that doesn’t work, just imagine them all in their underwear…
One curious thing I noticed was that the audience in the main didn’t look that interested during my presentation. I found this a little off-putting but I don’t know what I was expecting. I was incredibly grateful for two members of the audience who were making a deliberate show of smiling and nodding appreciatively. I spoke to a colleague the next day and as a former trainer, used to speaking in front of groups, we agreed that a neutral expression is most people’s default setting when listening to talks. Only those who are used to presenting will make a conscious effort to put a smile on their face and show signs of interest. If I’d have known that beforehand, I would have been a bit more comfortable.
There are a few tweaks I’ll look to make in the presentation, but I’m going to give myself a week off from looking at it.
So, the big question, did I conquer my fear?
Possibly, hell yeah, you know what, I bloody got up there and spoke in front of a bunch of strangers, even got them to laugh on a couple of occasions. That’s a win in my book.
What I guess I should be just as pleased about was the networking I did, before and after the event. I’m not a natural networker but in the end I spoke to most people and acquired a couple of business cards. People were kind, and chatty. It was a good crowd.
Three weeks to the next one.