In the Mind of an Introverted Speaker…
This was originally written on September 12, before Ohio LinuxFest and Strangeloop. This will give you a glance of what my inner introvert tends to do. Thankfully, writing this blog post shot my inner introvert’s sabotage plans down and both talks went well.
Within the next week, I’ll have delivered 2 presentations at 2 different conferences. With one slide deck done and submitted and another slide deck being re-arranged, I’m confident in the materials and the talks that I’m giving. Thankfully, I don’t have technical demos in either of these talks, so the demo gods can’t spite me. However, my inner introvert is not cooperating at the moment. Many of you may not believe I’m an introvert just from my activity in the community, but really, I’m an introvert surrounded by extroverted friends and being around them challenges me to keep up. This is what goes through my mind as I get ready for a presentation.
Me: Oh hey… there’s a conference coming up that I’m interested in. I should submit a talk or two there!
Inner Introvert (II) : This conference is HUGE! They’ll have stages – you don’t like stages. Really… remember your first conference with a stage, even with a panel, it was tough to be up high and look down at your audience. Almost 15 years later, and I’m still warning you about stages. You can’t submit and then present on a stage. Stage fright… and besides, on a stage, there’s that chance of falling and your fear of heights.
Me: Quiet! I don’t care about stages. The people… the hallway conversations… the content… I’m submitting these talks.
II: But stages… stage fright! Remember that time 4 years ago when you panicked on a stage?
Me: I made it up on the stage, and I had my friend Catherine talk you out of me so that I could present. You’re the trouble, II. We have to get past the stages issue.
II: So your talk got accepted. Now you’ll be presenting on a stage…
Me: II! Go away! I’ve got a presentation to write. It’s going to be awesome! And this time, your friends – the demo gods – aren’t invited. No technical demos for them to mess up.
II: But you won’t get rid of me. And when you’re up on the stage, I’ll make sure you tense up and lose your voice, just as I started in 2009.
Me: Seriously? Do you think that’ll work again? Inner self-confidence will conquer you, II. Whether there’s a stage or not, I will be fine. I’ve got an entertaining talk, an educational talk, one not to be missed. And my audiences – they’re awesome too! I’m going to conquer the stage fright. Just you wait.
Preparing to Present
Me: Finally… at the conference! Let’s check-in and see where my talk is going to be.
II: Sweet… now I can see the stage and scare you even more.
Me: Why did they let you in too? Go away, II! I’m off to see where I’m presenting and will be calm when it’s my turn. The one last situation where you used to win – where I’m up on a stage and have to try to read my audience below me – I’m ready to tackle that and win.
… 5 minutes before the talk….
II: You have to talk down to the audience. Look at you, up high on a pedestal for all to see. Look down to read them, and remember your fear of heights.
Me: Really? You’re a jerk, II. I’m up high thanks to the stage. But I’m going to ignore you. You’re just a jerk.
Yes, I have an inner introvert that is trying to mess with me as I prepare for these 2 talks, which may involve stages and big rooms. But experienced me has gotten stronger over the years to tune out that inner introvert when it comes to game time.