Sunday, 26 May 2013


No, nothing to do  with how you, I or any other present in day to day life.  There are enough posts around the world on that and I dislike most of them, as long as you are being yourself, and not trying to please anyone other than yourself then who cares? :)

No, this is to do with professional presentations.  When you have to stand up in front of people and try and get them as interested in your topic as you are.

I hate them.  Or rather, I'm terrified of them!  Literally.  When I have to present to people I work with daily I get nauseated, and stand with shaking legs and generally don't feel well.

When it is with people I don't know those symptoms start days before, and I end up having to live on Valerian to get my nerves under control. It really destroys me for the days leading up to, and a few hours after, giving an important presentation.

And so, when my company offered the chance of presentation training to the entire company I was one of the ones that signed up.  Or, actually, I turned it down saying to the guy organising it that before I do the training to get my presentation skills improved I needed to first get the nerves under control so that I could actually dare to stand in front of the group.

He came to visit me afterwards and told me that actually getting your nerves under control was part of the process that they wanted to tackle and so  I should join the training.

First of all there was a meeting with the people interesting along with the guy organising it, the founder and director, and the finance director to see what people were hoping to get out of the training.  I was the last to go and told them about my nerves,  and about what happened the last time I had a company wide presentation to do over our release  process.  And in telling the storey all of the feelings came back in droves.  I was on the verge of tears by the time I finished it. But it was good to get an understanding of the real problems that I have with doing this.

And seeing as it is going to be more and more a part of my job if I wish to take my career further then it's a good idea to get it under control!

So this week we had the first real training session. We had an external presentation trainer come in and had us go through a few exercises before having to do a 1 minute presentation to the group.  Gulp.

But I got through it,and I think that I managed to do enough eye contact and kept it on track.  I could barely stand with the shakes in my knees,but I got through it.

And apparently I did it quite well.  I projected well enough, I used enough intonation to make it interesting and show my feelings when I talked.  What I did wrong was stood with too much weight on one leg, rather than trying to have a solid stance (something that my physiotherapist all told me about - it's one of the reasons I have painful knees...) and when I get nervous I make my arm movements too big.  Movement is good, but you should keep it under control :)

After everyone in the group went, and we did another couple of exercises there was the chance for a few of us to do another presentation.  Due to time limits not everyone could do it, just 5 of us.  My hand went straight up.  Not that I was looking forward to it, but I know that the only way to do this is to actually do it!

The second presentation was made easier by the subject.  A key.  As in you have one minute to tell a story about a key.  I chose the ignition key for the Spitfire.  Though I kept that to myself for the first 30 seconds, more telling the life that the key had had from 1979 to 1999 when I got it.  Then I said that I bought the car that was attached to it - what I did with it and what I hope to do with it in the future.  Having something that I was so passionate about was really easy, though I was worried that speaking about a car would bore other people. I got to the end and waited for the critique, and it was surprisingly positive! The trainer actually commented to the group after their comments that everyone thought my storey was interesting, and what was it about?  A car - something that relatively few people find interesting, and yet I managed it.

After a couple of other people did their presentations the training was over.  3 hours and 15 minutes.  And whilst I was exhausted (I had felt nauseated since the start of the morning with the idea of doing it), but the time had flown by, I had really enjoyed it - even though it was challenging and I think it helped.

Over the new few weeks we are going to meet up in small groups and practice with each other to get used to doing it, and we are going to try and do more public presentations to keep the challenge there!

And whilst I am not yet comfortable with the thought of doing it, I'm actually looking forward to it!


  1. Good for you, Stace!!!

    I will repeat what I have told you privately: I am *so* impressed with your courage. When you are confronted with something that frightens you, you don't avoid it - you do something about it!

    I am learning that myself, and hope to continue as I progress further into my transition. And once again, I will be able to tell myself, "If Stace could do *that*, then I can do *this.*" So... thank you for that, sweetie!

    Hope you *did* enjoy the rest of the weekend with your happy cappuccino! ;c)


    1. BTW... I do the same thing with my knees too! lol No so much when I do presentations (I took speech and voice classes in college, so I don't do too badly), but just in general.

      I'm also finding more and more that Cass is coming out at work in how I move, talk, gesture, etc. I can't help it now.

      A friend at work remarked on how I carry myself like a woman more often than not at work now, especially when I'm not consciously trying to act like "him."

      I wondered aloud to her when I learned how to do that. Her reply: "Never. You've always known. You had to learn how to pretend to be a boy."

      What a relief to not have to do that any longer! (Or at least not for much longer! lol)


  2. I used to live in terror of the few times I had to stnd and talk to a group, even if I knew them and the subject really well...

    I have the first for some years some months hence and now that I am finally presenting my true personality, rather than trying to flawlessly play my old fake role, I am actually looking forward to it!

    1. I just hate being the centre of attention. Even now, I would rather be happy in the corner out of the limelight!

      I just hate people looking at me, hate what they must be thinking of my take on their subject (as in am I talking absolute rubbish to these people) or just boring them to into an early nap!

      I hope that if I do it often enough I am going to get over it a little. Even if it is *just* a little :)