Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m just going to put it out there: public speaking is probably the most terrifying thing that could ever happen to a person. Know what goes hand-in-hand with working at the Reese News Lab? Public speaking.
I guess, for the average human being (aka my other team members), speaking in front of a crowd is okay. Maybe you get a little nervous; maybe you speak a little too quickly; maybe you’re panting a little. All of those are manageable. Totally doable.
However, if you’re me, that’s not even the half of it. If you’re me, your mouth goes instantly dry, you’re so nervous that you actually cannot form educated thoughts, and you speak so ridiculously quickly that the things coming out of your mouth are in no way, shape or form coherent.
All that being said, Pitch Day is in 15 days, and it’s all I’ve thought about this week. Yay me.
Last Friday, I had to mock-pitch in front of 12 people I’ve gotten to know over the course of this semester, and I was already petrified before pitching. I can’t explain it. It makes no sense. I’ve never had a terrible experience. I mean, not one that caused my fear. I’ve never fallen face first in front of a crowd of people or walked off a stage or anything. I just can’t see past how terrified I am (I’m sorry team).
You give me a pen and paper, and I’m your girl. Words on a page are easy for me. That’s what I’m good at. Like this blog post, I got it. No problem. Just me and my computer. We’re friends. There’s no judgement between us; we have a mutual agreement. Picturing several distinguished members of our community as my computer when I’m trying to pitch on Nov. 18 might not actually be as easy as it may seem. But you best believe I’m going to try.
Though I feel like my team is prepared, I still can’t shake the fear. I’m fortunate, though. I have two group members that are some of the most articulate individuals I’ve ever met. It’s absolutely great. One of them is usually pretty quiet, but she is always on her game. She absorbs what everyone says around her and responds when she’s sound on her ideas, which I admire a lot. She’s almost like the voice of reason in our group. She’s practical and keeps us grounded.
The other is just a force to be reckoned with. She’s strong and confident and extremely bubbly. She’s the kind of girl everyone wants to be friends with, and the way she speaks is so exciting that you’re interested no matter what she’s talking about.
As for me, I’m not really sure where I’m going to fit in. I’m not particularly shy. I’ve been in the service industry since I was 15 years old, for goodness sake. How can someone whose job is to entertain people be as nervous as I am when it comes to presentations? I have no idea.
Despite the fact that it’s only 15 days away, some part of me is extremely excited. It’s going to take a lot of work, and I’m going to have to practice my part up one side and down the other to even feel semi-okay about it. But I’m excited to showcase our idea. We’ve worked so hard, and we’re all extremely invested. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we deserve to show it off. On top of that, I have a great group behind me and a fantastic Lab that is extremely supportive, no matter what.
I reserve the right to change my mind approximately 752 times before Pitch Day, but for now, I’m excited. Fingers crossed that it lasts.