Today, my coworker (and fellow cheese-appreciater) and I gave a career presentation to a couple of high school classes. We discussed the education and work experiences we underwent in order to became counselors, as well as what our jobs look like on a day-to-day basis.
It was pretty fun, actually. But there’s a reason I didn’t seek a career where public speaking is more common.
I get nervous, and then distracted by my own nervousness, and then my brain sort of implodes. Here are some of the things I was thinking about while speaking to the students:
- Literally every kid in here is wearing a t-shirt and comfy pants. I never thought I’d feel so overdressed in jeans. Should I take my pants off to fit in? No, pantslessness in front of minors is probably frowned upon.
- What – what is that girl eating? IS SHE EATING PANCAKES? With Nutella on them?!? What kind of magical-ass school is this?
- Can I go to school here?
- I think I’m using my arms and hands way too much. I’m like an over-caffeinated octopus over here.
- Alright, my hands are down now. Wait, no pockets! Where do I put my hands?
- I wonder if the students are thinking that my hair looks like a sea anemone today. They’re not wrong, but I still hope they’re not thinking about it.
- I just mispronounced a word. Should I correct myself, or keep going? Nah, just keep going, keep going – you’re doing great! Aw shit, you just did it again.
- Man, the English language is HARD. How do make sentence?
- Oh cool, my coworker and I are both nervously swaying at the same time, in the same direction. I’m sure that doesn’t look crazy at all.
- I wonder if other people find it this hard to act like a normal person. I think I’ve used up all my social skills for the day.
- Crap, my hands have crept their way into the conversation again. Sneaky hands.
- I hope someone asks about my hobbies, so that I have an excuse to tell them about my cheese blog.
- Okay, please don’t leave me standing here in awkward silence. Ask SOMETHING!
- Oh god, don’t ask THAT. Anything but that.
This was one of those experiences that I genuinely enjoyed, and yet am relieved is over. Does anybody else struggle a bit (or a lot) with public speaking? What strategies do you employ for making yourself more comfortable?