Speaking in front of large (or small) groups of people? Presentations? Oh god no.
I now present to you, my seven stages of presentation anxiety:
1. The excited, naive Jenni.
Oh, yay! This presentation topic sounds interesting.
Oh, look – I can use that picture on my powerpoint slide! I’m sure the audience will think it’s as hilarious as I do!
What color scheme should I use? Blue? Red? Black and White?
This is going to be so great. They are going to love this! I am so funny. They are going to think I’m so funny!
2. The increasingly shaky Jenni.
Oh, god. My presentation is in an hour!
Are my hands shaking? My hands are shaking.
This sucks. I don’t want to do this. Can I get out of doing this, in any way possible? No. I have to do this. Crap.
Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking.
Ok, You’re going to do fine. Calm down. Calm down.
3. The inner peace Jenni.
Ok, deep breaths.
What does this online article say to do to relax?
Ok, deep breath in. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale.
Yep, this is working. Calm down… It’s all gonna be OK.
Maybe this weird yoga pose in this bathroom stall will help. Ah, yes. Calm. I am calm.
4. The incredibly un-calm Jenni.
Oh, god. Oh, crap. No. Please, no. Why?!
My heart is beating so fast. Sheesh, why is my heart beating so fast? Am I getting a good cardio workout out of this?
My hands are shaking. I’m not even going to look at them. I’m going to pretend this is all perfectly normal body behavior. Yup.
Deep breaths? Is that a joke? Yeah right. Crap. Only 15 minutes until my presentation.
5. The deathly calm Jenni.
Calm. So Calm. Was I ever worried? I feel fine.
My presentation is going to be fine. I know every word I’m going to say. I have my notes right here – they’ll be right in front of me while I’m talking.
So calm. Deadly calm.
This will be fine. I’ve got this.
6. The presenting Jenni.
Am I talking too loud? I don’t know how loud I’m talking.
Did I pause too long just then? Crap.
Am I going too fast?
Did I just stare blankly into the audience? What does my face look like right now?
Am I turning red? I’m turning red, aren’t I? Crap. Every time, man.
7. The I-am-super-great-at-presenting Jenni.
I did so good. Look, they’re clapping for me. Yeah.
Did I talk too loud? I don’t know if I was talking too loud.
Ok, my face feels really warm. How red did it get up there, anyway?
Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking. But, it’s OK because I’m done!
Until next time…