Talking to the Faceless Masses
The company I work for has a yearly summit where everyone in IT gets together and learns about new things and other things that happen at a summit that I'm unfamiliar with because this one coming up will be my first.
I'm picturing people discussing the future of iPhones and possibly trying to hold a serious conversation in binary, but I may be overthinking things.
While I have no idea what to expect from the summit, I have been clued into one particular tradition, wherein each day a predetermined person gets up in front of the group and gives a 10-15 minute "reflection" which can be about any subject of their choosing.
And they have asked me to do the first one this time around. That's right, I'm going to be the opening act. All of my new colleagues (and several of the old ones) will have to suffer through me droning on about something for a quarter of an hour.
I should keep from letting this power go to my head.
The problem is (and you could probably tell by the title that there would be a problem) I am absolutely rubbish at speaking to crowds. This isn't your normal stage fright. Oh no. This is oh so much more.
When I address a group of more than seven or eight people, their faces disappear. Well, that's oversimplifying it a bit much, but the gist is that I lose the ability to differentiate between individuals. I just can't see them. Something happens in my brain and they all become one solid, lumpy "crowd."
You can see how this might prevent the usual tricks of dealing with public speaking from being effective. I can't imagine people in their underwear, because I can't imagine the people. I can't choose a single person in the crowd to speak to because I can't pick one out.
The end result is I usually black out a bit and race through whatever I'm meant to say and get off the stage as quickly as possible. In this case that may not be as easy, since I'm not just rattling off information but trying to tell a story.
I know what I'm going to talk about (my writing journey and how perseverance pays off) and I can already imagine how the presentation would go. I'm writing bits in my head and I have a document going where I'm trying to get it all down.
I just hope that when the time comes and I'm up in front of those people I can manage to get the story across without flubbing everything or pissing myself.
Yeah, I think pissing myself might make the wrong kind of impression.
Fingers crossed, people.
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