So, over the past week, I worked really hard on a PowerPoint presentation for a conference call that the big wigs were to have with a prospective client today. (And when I say “I worked hard”, I mean that I had plenty of help from the resident PowerPoint-web-designer-geeky expert type person whom I admire tremendously for her PowerPoint skills.) The conference call was scheduled for this afternoon, and while I was not involved as an active participant, I was looking forward to hearing afterwards how things went.
Just before 2:00, my boss came by to talk to me and said, “Hey, why don’t you come join us during the call. You worked hard on this. You should come listen in.”
I was happy to have been invited and readily agreed to be a fly on the wall at 3:00.
About fifteen minutes after that conversation with my boss, she stopped by again, saying, “I just talked with Big Wig #2 and he shared some interesting information with me. I thought it was important to share it with you.”
“What is it?” I asked with curiosity, expecting maybe some good gossip.
“Well, I just thought I would confirm with Big Wig #2 that he was leading the conference call, since Big Wig #1 will be calling in from out-of-town and not in the best position to run things. So I asked him if that was the plan.”
“Yes?” I said, encouraging her to continue.
“Well,” she said. “Big Wig #2 said he would be introducing the call, but that you would be doing the presentation.”
I believe my reaction was something like this.
I believe my response was also something like this: “Ha ha! Ha ha! You’re kidding me, right? Wait. You are kidding me, right? No? Oh crap.”
Quick recap: I wasn’t even invited to the meeting until one hour and fifteen minutes before it was to happen. I had been operating on the assumption that I was preparing materials for people who were skilled in presenting materials. Now, one hour before the meeting, I was informed that I would not just be listening in. I would be presenting.
Yes, I’d say it was pretty important to share that information with me, thankyouverymuch.
See what happens when they let men be in charge? Of course, no, I don’t mean you men who might be reading here. YOU would never forget to invite to your meeting the person who is supposed to speak at your meeting. Not you guys. Just some men.
Have I mentioned before that I don’t speak in front of people? Well. I mean, it’s not that I don’t speak in front of people. It’s just that it’s not one of my favorite things. If it’s a casual setting and I can joke around, I’m quite comfortable with speaking in front of people. I’ve even been known to make people laugh here and there. It’s only when I’m expected to speak intelligently, while being observed by others, that I have a problem. I’m really just not good at putting myself on display in front of others. (Well… except for some odd reason, on this blog.)
I really need to work on my self-confidence, don’t I? After all, Big Wig #2 never would have expected me to do this if he didn’t think I was capable, right? I’m just afraid … that my six years of experience in this industry isn’t enough to allow me to compete with those that have a lifetime of experience… that I’ll say something completely idiotic in situations like this and then all the important people will realize I’m really not as smart as they think I am.
People do tend to think I possess a degree of intelligence. I guess I pull off the intelligent look fairly well. If they only knew.
I’m kidding! Sort of.
I know I have the ability to do this stuff. Why can’t I just believe in myself a little bit?
Well, anyway, I quickly drew up an outline for myself so that I wouldn’t sound either like I was fumbling for words, or like I was reading straight from the presentation. I finished my notes just in time for the meeting.
I ran through the presentation. I didn’t say anything incredibly hideous and I believe I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. In fact, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t know I would have to do this before today. I would have lost sleep. Seriously. I would have. As it stands, I survived and the prospective client expressed interest in learning more and soon. So I guess I didn’t blow up the company or anything.
I’m tempted to say that I don’t want to have to do that again anytime soon, but if I don’t want to, then I’ll have to stop looking so damn intelligent all the time. And let’s face it. That’s just not going to happen. Guess I have a new skill to work on!