Getting Ready to Present

Every month at my office, I hold an informal Lunch & Learn.  I take the opportunity to enlighten any of my colleagues who want to listen about some topic related to Information Security.  This is available to anyone in our IT operation who's interested, anywhere in the world.  Since this event has attracted a bit of a following in the UK, I feel bad for them that it's always at 5PM local.  Especially since it's always on a Friday!  So a couple times a year, I will do it at 7AM (or 8AM, as I did today) in order to hit noon UK time.

Between these lunch & learn sessions, and two to four conference talks a year, I have started to notice that the experience falls into a fairly consistent pattern.

  1. A last minute rush of tweaking my slides, which is not helped by the fact that I love to compose the actual presentation in the last 24 hours before presenting.  I will read and research for weeks but I seldom commit anything to PowerPoint before the last 24 hours.
  2. About 30 minutes before my talk I start checking out the logistics: connection to projector and/or conferencing utility software, phone hookups, etc.  Probably because of...
  3. Nerves.  I get nervous, performance-anxiety feelings anywhere from 1 to 8 hours before presenting.  Every damn time.  I am somehow convinced that this helps me do well, so I am okay with it.
  4. Will anyone show up?  I always worry about this in the last few minutes.  Always for no good reason.  I suppose it's a side-effect of #3.
  5. Presenting begins.  I always feel like I talk too much, I talk too fast. 
  6. I want questions, and at first I usually get silence.  Then I finally get one... then another.  And they're good! Smart questions!  
  7. I love it!  Want to do it again, and again!
Strange as it seems for someone as introverted as I am, I really enjoy making these large group presentations.  My efforts seem to be pretty warmly-received, and I get asked back.  So I guess I am not just a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect here.