Public Speaking

Like some librarians, I’m an introvert. Speaking to a room full of strangers is way out of my comfort zone. But I’ve spoken in front of strangers before so this is not a new thing. But I have a routine psychology freak out that I go through every time I have to give a presentation.

I was invited to speak at a conference next Friday in Annapolis about new digital initiatives at my job. It’s 30-minute presentation with 15 minutes at the end for questions. That’s a total of 45 minutes I’ll be in front of these strange people. I won’t be alone in front of these people, my boss will be there as well, giving part of the presentation. I’m excited about the topic I’ll be discussing and I know everything I want to say, but there’s always this underlying nervousness. The worst part of this conference…our presentation is last on the agenda, after lunch. I have all day to be nervous and butterflies in the stomach.

So here’s my pre-presentation predictable psych-out:

  1. I’m excited to give the presentation. I start thinking about what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it.
  2. I start forming my slides. I know what topics I want to cover.
  3. I get some graphics in the slides.
  4. Fear starts to creep in when it’s time to write my notes. What if people don’t like what I have to say? Suppose I don’t say it right? What if the presentation is boring as hell? What if, what if, what if…
  5. I practice giving my presentation to help calm my nerves to no avail.

The closer it gets to the presentation the more self-conscious, the less confident I become…until the morning of the presentation. And everything is all right. Oh I’m still nervous, I still get butterflies. But I’m calmer, more relaxed. And I wonder…why on earth did I put myself through all of that. And now I give my presentation and all is well.

Today, I’m at step four. I just finished writing my notes earlier today. I’ll go over them next week with my co-speaker. I’m sure I’ll do fine, but man the next 7 days are going to be wonky.

Blessings be!


About Camilla

I am a mom, a librarian, and a student.
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2 Responses to Public Speaking

  1. mellyramirez says:

    From someone who won’t shut up,

    Sometimes an introvert like yourself can give much better insight on a topic because they listen better. I can’t shut up, I’m awful, put me on a podium in front of a bunch of strangers and I will tell them my whole life story by the end of those 45 minutes, I won’t even blink, however I sometimes have a hard time listening. Being nervous is okay, freaking out is perfectly okay, knowing when to be quiet is even better. You will be just fine.

    Melly 🙂


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