Sunday, April 25, 2010

A test of my flexibility

Yesterday at the conference started off a bit dicey. For two nights, I hadn't had very good sleep and that always makes me feel hungover--I had a headache and my stomach felt off. I couldn't face the continental breakfast (sweet rolls and bananas) so I got a real breakfast, which helped, and went to the first session. It was really good and I realized that I needed to read a different part of my story during my presentation than the one I had printed out at home.

I'd already discovered late Friday afternoon that the PowerPoint I'd sent to the conference administrator had arrived corrupted and none of my slides had been printed out. So I went to the hotel business center (two computers and two printers, much in demand) and printed them out. It took me about 45 minutes to print 15 pages because I had to wait for a free computer, then realized I had copied the wrong document onto my thumbdrive, went back to the room, got the right one, and then couldn't sort out how to get the printer to do 2 slides per page landscape. (I'm a techno-wienie.) Finally, I asked the desk clerk who helped me sort it out (she was young and it took her 43 seconds).

So there I was Friday morning, trying to figure out yet another thing and waiting in line and feeling pressured by 10 others waiting in line.

Then I attended the second session and the microphone battery back fell off the speaker because she didn't have a good waistband on her dress. Well, my snazzy outfit to speak in had no good waistband either so I went back to the room trying to sort out what I might wear. I had another outfit, more casual than we were supposed to wear, but it had the right kind of waistband so I put it on.

Then I discovered I'd left my makeup bag at home. I never wear makeup anymore but I know one looks better at the podium if the face is lit up. So I gave that up.

It was time for lunch and instead of a buffet, as there'd been on Friday (convenient), it was a sitdown meal and I'd missed it. So I grabbed one of the safe nut bars I'd brought and ate it. I felt rushed and scattered and very nervous. Then as I listened to the moderator introduce me, half the info was wrong.

And so when I got to the podium at 1:15, I thought, well hell, I'm just going to talk about all these things and the audience laughed with me and it was all okay. My worrying wasn't helpful, although it did give me something to occupy my mind.

I have three more of these conferences and now I know how to solve all those issues. That feels more comfortable. And it's good to be home.

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