How Did I Get Myself Into This?

For the past few years, my employer has sent me to the fall Canadian cardiac conference held in Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, and this year, Toronto. It's been a blast to travel, sightsee, relax, sit back and smugly watch others panic speak about their Programs at the annual User's Meeting.


Several months ago though, I was called by the conference organizers asking if I would be a Presenter this year. I admit the temptation of gratuitous Speaker's Perks* and a free deluxe hotel suite clouded my otherwise better judgement.

* Dammit, I can't seem to recall what exactly those other perks ARE anymore...


Of course, my stupidity ego got the best of me, and I accepted. Wow, they wanted ME to speak?

Moi?

They must have dialed wrong or run out of more interesting and intelligent people than I; those who were smart enough to have already turned them down. You know. The ones who will be sitting smugly in the audience, smirking whilst I am up there in the spotlight panicking talking this year.

Seconds after I hung up the phone, I came to my senses and wondered what the hell I gotten myself into. However, that was way back in the Spring, so procrastination set in and I did my best Scarlett O'Hara:

Me doing Scarlett
"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

But here it is October, and because the Gods of Fate HAVEN'T cancelled the meeting like I prayed they would (stupid G.O.F.) I have to start preparing.

You'd think those preparations would involve actually writing my presentation.

And you'd be wrong.

Priorities people! I mean, how hard can it be to stand up there and ramble on about my job?

First, I spent days designing my slide template.

Next, find something to wear that will match said template.

On the weekend I got a fab scarf that coordinates with the background of my slides I can wear with my blazer, shirt and dress pants. Yup, it'll impress alright.

I still am struggling to figure out exactly what I'll say, but at least I'll look good.

Oh, and my 45 minute talk?

Well, I still have 19 days left so there is plenty of time to figure THAT little detail out...

"After all, tomorrow is another day!"











The Stupid Gods of Fate haven't placed me
on the front page at Humor Blogs dot com either...
so click on the Smiley and I can stop praying, K?

16 People would rather be commenting:

Swubird said...

Maureen:

This post is absolutely scary. I have given about a gillion presentations in my life, and the thought of only having 19 days to prepare would put me in the State Hospital for the Insane. I hope you are kidding. If not, then you have my deepest sympathies.

Good luck, and remember...

Happy trails.

Drowsey Monkey said...

I do short presentations ... can't handle long ones. That takes a lot of talent and nerve!

Irene said...

Maureen, sweetheart, you must have some idea by now of what you are going to speak. If not, you are in deep doodoo. Or learn to speak very slowly and enunciate your words very carefully and point to slides very often whenever it is appropriate or not. I feel for you, girl.

Vegas Princess said...

How does one say it? You, my dear, may just be screwed. I am so glad I am not in your shoes. I hate speaking to people because I am always sure they are teetering on about me in front of my face rather than behind my back.

Ashley said...

Wow, rough comments!! I mean, if you know what you are talking about then all you need is some slick powerpoint to back it up, right? I know you are a bit of a perfectionist though, just try to focus on the content and not whether or not your heading would look better 1mm to the left... :o)
I'm sure it will be great, and you are not alone in your procrastination. This comic pretty much sums up my time spent studying for classes:
http://grorx.rooms.cwal.net/Stuff/distractions.gif

Good Luck!

Maureen said...

Ha! Ashley! That comic was spot on.
You are right; some rough comments today...

Swubird: I have spoken before, so all is not lost... this is typical for me. The ideas are in my head, the outline is done, I just hate the sitting-down-to-write-it part. If I can chair and speak at a Star Wars convention with thousands of attendees, I'll be okay in TO.

Drowsey: It's funny; I become another person when I hit the front of the room. Beforehand I will freak out inside, but once I get up there, I do okay.

Irene: I do know what I am going to speak about; but I like your idea of speaking slowly (which is what I always have to remind myself to do). I just have to get it down in a coherant form. I've been doing presentations for a few years now so this is normal... but I would much rather be the person listening than speaking.

Vegas Princess: I never thought I could do the Speaker thing... far too shy in most scenarios. But one very good thing; there will be NO ONE from my work there. These are all people from other cities (Whew!)

Ashley: Yes, content is king. I know that. Which is why I did the template first ;) Now I can obsess over the actual talk. Thank goodness I can just shut my door and work on the talk for two weeks without distractions... well, except for the Internet, that is... ;)

JoJo said...

Wow, good luck to you. It's sooo hard to speak in front of people. You could always try the Marcia Brady approach and picture everyone in their underwear.

VE said...

When and where is this convention? I want to go and heckle...

I'm preparing a list of questions. "Maureen, how do you get the handcuffs around the heart during cardiac arrest?"

Bruce said...

Amazing glimpse into the female mindset. Rest assured that the LAST thing a man would think about is how well his suit coordinates with his slide background.

I would just hold off until the last minute, walk out on stage and do the old "imagine your entire audience in their underwear' trick and then tell lurd and off color jokes for 40 minutes.

Jeff said...

Really? Your clothes match your slide template? In the 15 odd years that I've given slide show presentations, I've never ONCE considered how my clothes would match my slides.

Venus and Mars indeed.

Bee said...

Wow! Ummm don't want to add to any panic you might have but that is truly scary!

Maureen said...

JoJo: Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! Ha! I just may...

VE: And here I thought you'd make the "a cute angina" joke...

Bruce: Ha! Well, that'd keep them AWAKE, at least!

Jeff: Duh! Didn't you know that coordinating attire and slides is the most important thing in a presentation? Well, after CONTENT, that is...

Bee: I am so surprised by the responses to this post. People really ARE freaked out by speaking in public, aren't they? Actually, I'm not scared at all. Having been to three years of these things, and having spoken in public before, I KNOW I can do better than past presenters who projected a kajillion plain blue slides with white text listing a bunch of stats that THEY READ during the whole time they're up there. Number one rule; never read your slides. Mine are all images to support the STORY I am telling. Now that my presentation is taking shape, I am actually beginning to look forward to it!

PG said...

are you sure that calling the GOF stupid was wise?

Just saying.

Maureen said...

PG: Probably not. Look what happened to me next....

Janet said...

If I were going to the cardiac conference, I would indeed go to your presentation. And have you sign my napkin or something. :-) You'll be fabulous!! Just don't be so good that they ask you again next year!! lol

Maureen said...

Aw, Janet thank you! That's the boost and confidence I need! You know, back a few years ago, I did a talk at the Star Wars convention in Indianapolis about my sculpture and toy customs. After my presentation, I was actually asked for my autograph.

It was wierrrrrrrrd.....

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