First day back from Spring Break and time to give a 10-minute presentation. Twenty-four or so hours ago I was not coping well. Very odd, as I enjoy giving presentations, but for whatever reason this one had gotten under my skin. And there was no reason at all why I should have been nervous about this presentation out of any I have ever given; I have given this or a form of this presentation three times prior to this. Yet, this time was…
Two years ago, I gave this presentation for the first time. It was my first presentation in front of a large audience. It was my first presentation in a room with stadium seating. And most of all, we had completed the research a week before the presentation was to happen. I was not prepared in any way other than I had worked on the research for 3 months solid. I gave the presentation, that is also where my love-hate affair with power point really took off. In my head the presentation was a disaster. I have been told and shown repeatedly over the years that it was good and people are/were interested in the research. But in my head, until today, it was that “moment” you want to do over.
A year or so ago, I presented the information in a poster presentation and other than my foot hurting and the three men wearing bow-ties (bow-ties make me laugh, I cannot help it. I did my best to keep the laughter inside while I answered their questions, but I was so close to laughing out loud) I did very well. However, a poster presentation is NOT a presentation in front of an audience. Poster presentations people come to you. A presentation in front of an audience, you have to get their attention. Similar, but different to me.
Today, I had an opportunity to get that do over. In this case a 10-minute presentation instead of 15 and instead of focusing on the research, I was focusing on the impact on the user. In my head this was close enough to that first presentation that I was having flashbacks of the power point being an ass, my stumbling through my thoughts, and so on.
I WANTED to give this presentation. The information is interesting, valuable, and I know this better than I know the back of my hand (I have no clue when I got that cut). But, my brain kept giving me the “you are going to fuck this up” signals.
I was so flustered, that I went old school lucky charm for luck and focus. I wore my Spongebob Squarepants dog tag, I had my lucky monkey (you didn’t think Research Monkey PHD was the only monkey in my life did you?) key chain thing, and I wore my black tennis shoes with glow-in-the-dark laces. I have yet to be dressed in business casual and being honest, this was as about as close as I will ever get. I just not that guy.
Fetished up, I went to class. I got a parking spot right outside of class. A good friend of mine greeted me outside of class and offered to operate the power point for me. I should not have presented today, I was 5 on the list and the class is 50-minutes long. And then…the first person did not show up. I was last to go for the day. I used up my time and then some answering questions. To me that is the sign of a good presentation, questions afterwards. I did it. The daemon has been exercised. Thank you student who did not show up.