I woke up at 3:30 this morning, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I started thinking about the presentation we were giving to a new client. I’ve talked before about stage fright and how the though of standing up in front of people terrifies me. I’ve suffered from it since I was a kid. When I would have to stand up in front of a class and do some sort of speech or read something out loud, I would invariablyget myself so worked up that I’d get physically ill. It’s interesting that part of my job requires that I stand up in front of people, large groups and small, and talk.
In junior high, to try to combat this in its infancy I took a speech class. The majority of the semester was spent reading skits from Saturday Night Live and M*A*S*H. Being called “Jane, you ignorant slut” did little for my speech-giving skills. Besides, our teacher, Mr. Wreck, was a blond, Tom Sellick-type; so, the grils did more blushing, stammering and eyelash batting than anything else. About the only thing I did get from the class was the ability to do a killer Roseanne Roseannadanna impression.
The funny thing is if I know that my partner is going to be along, I somehow manage to convince myself that I can just play Vanna and hand out packets while she Sajaks the meeting. I’d say that about 75% of the time, that’s not the case. More often, she will turn to me at the last minute and say, “I’m going to let you run with this today.” When she handles it that way, and I haven’t had time to whip myslef into a sweating, flushed mental case, I simply channel my grandfather, the ringmaster and take control of the room.
We’ve worked together for eleven years. Maybe, just maybe, she knows me better than I think.