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To admit my fate, wuss out and not do the presentation?

(273 Posts)
GinAndBubbles Mon 14-Oct-19 01:06:05

TLDR: I physically hate presenting / speaking in groups. Should I cancel interview for amazing role as it requires 25 min presentation to directors?

That sums it up really! Until around 14 I was super confident and in all the drama clubs etc. One day I volunteered to get in front of class and I was laughed at for blushing. Since then I’ve not been able to be ‘all eyes on me’. It got so bad I couldn’t even have happy birthday sang to me in a restaurant. Many physical symptoms too (don’t want to TMI!).

I’ve managed somehow to get round this in my career to date, most recently by being honest and avoiding presenting. I’m fine in a large meeting if speaking is on my terms - put me on the spot and I basically die (slight exaggeration but feels like that at the time).

So currently in a role I despise and want to leave hourly. Have an interview Tuesday for a Head of role that is perfect, other than presenting it’s genuinely something I could excel in.

I was only told of the presentation element on Friday so have worked all weekend to pull a PowerPoint together - they want me to answer 2 role specific questions in 25 minutes.

The slides are ace, my content is great... I’m just a quivering mess when I think about delivering it.

AIBU to cancel? If you think yes, how the hell do I get round this blush?!

Extra info: I’ve personally paid £1,000+ on courses, hypnotherapy etc to try and rid me of this complex - no success.

I also know I cannot bear my current role (whole other thread as to why 🙈 - but legit reasons as toxic place), so will leave in the coming months (or weeks). At my level there aren’t that many roles that come up, so other than taking the plunge into contracting I’d be looking at substantial pay cut... I’m the main earner in household so that bring a whole new host of issues.

Fully appreciate the masses aren’t fans of public speaking and I’d love to just ‘get over myself’, but it truly physically and mentally affects me... I’m stuck (and freaking out!)

Poignet Mon 14-Oct-19 01:16:07

A short period of fear and discomfort to get away from a job you loathe and get one you’ll love? You can do it.

GinAndBubbles Mon 14-Oct-19 01:20:09

What a lovely message... not what I was expecting at all. Thank you ❤️

Poignet Mon 14-Oct-19 01:22:12

And you’ve done all the work! Is the presentation tomorrow? I’m assuming you’ve tried beta-blockers and all the usual performance stuff?

SinkGirl Mon 14-Oct-19 01:22:21

Have you spoken to your GP about it? I know some people use beta blockers for the physical symptoms of anxiety for one off situations like flying, not sure if this could help? Appreciate its last minute for this.

I think you will really regret it if you cancel - is there anything that helps at all? Meditation / relaxation videos, CBT techniques etc?

managedmis Mon 14-Oct-19 01:26:10

Fuck me op your experience was pretty much exactly like mine. I was 14 and the teacher managed to convince me to be part of the public speaking team. We went to a contest at a local school and I had to stand up in front of about 300 people and speak. You know when you are frozen with fear? You can't move? Rabbit in headlights, that was me. I was totally incapable of speaking.
I was 14 and since then it's been my greatest fear.

HOWEVER, I recently got offered a job that involves giving weekly presentations. I forced my self to do it. I pretended I was someone else. Read the slides one by one. Gave eye contact if I could. Pretended the audience were actors on a stage.

Yes, I nearly shit myself the week before doing it but actually doing it wasn't that bad.

Because honestly no-one really cares about your nerves, insecurity etc. They're all just bothered about themselves.

Please just do it. Mentally hold on to the slides as security. Think about what you'll do AFTER the presentation: drink wine, have a walk, celebrate etc.

You got this.

Tojigornot Mon 14-Oct-19 01:28:56

If everything is ready, can you try to completely blank it from your mind now, just refuse to think about it? It might stop you getting into a state about it.

Have you tried a Toastmasters group? I think they are quite non-threatening.

catmg Mon 14-Oct-19 01:30:25

I read somewhere there are two meanings to the word 'confidence', one of which loosely is about self assurance, and the other is about trust. Also that there are two main assists off confidence: 1. Feelings of confidence, ie of self assurance, feeling confident if you will, and 2.. Acts of confidence, i.e. acts of trust.
Number 2 has to come before number 1, that is you have to do acts of confidence, i.e. acts that show you trust yourself, before you will get the feeling of being confident.
This is probably very poorly written by me at 130am as I feed a crying baby, but it has helped me a bit. You can't feel better about the prospect of doing something until you actually just do it. Have trust in yourself and do it.
Please don't cancel it will mean this is an issue you never get over. Even if it all goes tits up doing the act of confidence, having trust in yourself, will make you feel so much better about yourself than ducking out. And you won't muck up anyway, think of all the preparation you've put in!

Very best of luck

Apolloanddaphne Mon 14-Oct-19 01:31:09

Can you do your presentation in front of a group of friends or family tomorrow evening so you can run through it with an audience. It may help to disperse nerves.

DramaAlpaca Mon 14-Oct-19 01:32:22

You can do this. You said yourself your slides are good & your content is good, so you can absolutely do this.

I'll tell you this, I'm quite shy & I hate being the centre of attention. But I can nail public speaking or a presentation as long as I know my stuff. I know this sounds like a cliche, but I pretend my audience are naked, so I picture them as being more vulnerable than me & I can't begin to tell you how much that helps grin

You want this job, it's perfect, you're desperate to get out of your current one - so push yourself out of your comfort zone & go out there & get it. You know you can do it.

I might be good at public speaking, but I'm rubbish at motivational speeches grin

Oakandlove Mon 14-Oct-19 01:39:07

You are well able to do this. It is 25 minutes of your life and the answer to anxiety is prepare, prepare and prepare more. You are way ahead of the game here is your slides are great and your content is great, most times this is not the case. Try it out 30 times this weekend, anticipate as many questions as you can and have an answer and know this - it will never be this difficult again - every time you do it, it gets easier.

InTropicalTrumpsLand Mon 14-Oct-19 01:40:12

Definitely don't let this stop you, OP, it sounds like a fantastic role!

I second what a PP said about presenting to someone else before. If you can't do it, could you film yourself? For some reason I find filming myself much more intimidating than actual public speaking (I giggle, blush, it's insane). I suspect it's due to the fact I know I can stop any time and start over, so I want it to be perfect and my self-sabotaging brain of course ruins it with the reactions above. When you film yourself, speak the entire thing, even if you mess up in the middle. Just keep going, and once it's over, see what you can do better and repeat.

Also, is the role one in which you would need to public speak on a daily basis? If not, your not being confident while presenting the answers won't be as important as the answers themselves, and you know those.

Good luck, I'm sure it will be fine!

Babysharkisanearworm Mon 14-Oct-19 01:50:40

25 minutes out of your life and a possibility of escaping if you succeed. You got this!
Don't repeat what they can read, use the ppt as a prompt and expand around it.
Use your legs, move about.
Picture them all with perming curlers and a facepack on.
Relax and show them the real you.
Good luck x

WhatTiggersDoBest Mon 14-Oct-19 01:51:48

This is for a role that gets you away from your current job. Sometimes interviewers ask you to prepare a presentation and then just sit down and talk them through your slides rather than actually presenting the thing. That's happened to me a couple of times. If this is the one aspect that's stressing you out, it would be worth at least going to the interview and giving the rest of it your best shot, even if you get to the actual presentation and have to bow out.
Good luck! Rooting for you. smile

kateandme Mon 14-Oct-19 02:12:47

i think you can do this op.i know its very easy for us to all sit here and say that.when you cannot even begin to expalin your fear.but i get it.many of us do.but i still think you can do it.infact i know you can.
becasue the fear is jsut that.not real not right just a big bad boogey monster fueled by fear fueled but panic fuel most often by lies.

you sound like youve done all the work.
you sound so confident with your ability to do this job.
your ready and have something to look forward to in getting way from your current shitty situation.
how good would it feel to come out of this 25 minutes and then find out you got it.that lightness.that releif in your chest.that wonderful feeling of getting into a job you can love.and that brilliant amaing elated feeling of getting past your anxiety!

when the nerves come try to bring yoruself back to the hear and now.dont ruminate.dont feel the feeling of that 14 year old girl.different nerves,different situation.
feel your feet.feel your arms in your sleeves and the socks on your toes.feel your breathe cming in and out of your nose tingling the end of your nose in and and out.feel the fingertips,feelnig your stomach rise and fall with each longer breath.

i really believe in you.go for it.jsut bloody go for it!

alwayscoffee Mon 14-Oct-19 02:14:21

There are only likely to be two or three people listening to your presentation. Think of it as a conversation rather than a presentation, a conversation that you are well prepared for because you have ace slides to support you. Good luck

Sniv Mon 14-Oct-19 02:30:31

You can do it. It's not very different to the sit down part of the interview, and the audience won't know what you're feeling inside. They can't hear if your heart pounding in your ears, or feel shakey hands; they won't realise if your voice is a little higher than normal. And if any nerves show, well, its an interview - they'll all remember nerves for interviews for jobs they really wanted.

Go for it!

Greyscreendream Mon 14-Oct-19 02:48:28

I could have written your post. See your GP for drugs to aid the physical symptoms (they will help you). Then smash it!

Durgasarrow Mon 14-Oct-19 03:13:23

You GO, Girl!

Djimino Mon 14-Oct-19 03:44:22

People are usually very accepting of others if they are honest about being nervous of public speaking. It's something lots of people can relate to.

Can you apologise for your nerves and deliver a presentation where you are reading the script rather than making it up as you go along. It's not as professional as it could be but it's still a presentation. Might that be a happy halfway house for you.

I'm ok at public speaking but only because I know believe that no one really care if I end up blushing and no one really cares if I trip up over my words. I've just accepted that I'm not the worlds most polished public speaker. I make up for it by making sure my presentations are interesting and short. 😅. Lots of props and great graphics etc all help.

RainbowsAndGlitterAndUnicorns Mon 14-Oct-19 04:00:43

You're clearly proud of your content so please remember that

Best of luck, you will be great!

murmuration Mon 14-Oct-19 04:02:06

OP, you can so do this. The worst that can happen is you bow out at the presentation part, so instead of giving up ahead of time just go for it.

Can you try and pretend you are somebody else,like it's not really you giving it? I used to be so terrified of presentations that I literally blacked them out. I have no idea how good or bad I was as I couldn't remember a thing. 20 to 30 minutes just gone. Now I think of presentations as a show, like l'm an actor playing myself.

Horehound Mon 14-Oct-19 04:03:34

Definitely do it. You can do it and you'll feel so good once it's done. What's 25 minutes out of a lifetime?
You'll be great!

Nagsnovalballs Mon 14-Oct-19 04:08:03

Frame it to them that you are nervous because you want the job so much.

It is not a presentation - it is a sharing of your ideas to 3-7 colleagues. It is a conversation, but is easier than a usual convo because instead of having to think on your feet, you know the content extremely well and even have a script.

And 25 minutes of suffering is infinitely better than a job you hate.

Finally, stop thinking about the interview. Instead, break down every other little step and start taking them. This is how sports people deal with performance anxiety - no good focussing on how hard the event will be, our how terrifying it is. What is useful: pick out the outfit you will wear. Make a checklist of everything you need to do in tiny steps. Eg every step of putting Make up, every step required for getting dressed and sorting breakfast.

Then tick it off as you go, focusing only on the next step. Can you flick a kettle on? Of course! Can you find your car keys? Yep. So then you just keep focusing on the next achievable step that you have done a thousand times. Focus on that all morning of the interview, whilst keeping radio 4 or an audio book on which you listen to in order to stop the chatter
You do the same to the interview -
1. Knock on door
2. Open door
3. Smile and greet interviewers
4. Shake hands
5. Reintroduction / thanks
6. Discuss where you should move to
7. Discuss PowerPoint Listen to questions
8. Thank them for their time
9. Shake hands and gather things.
10. Exit room. Thank peripheral staff (Secretary etc). Check re parking system
11. Drive to cafe for a coffee. Message dp

But once it’s part of the 50 or so other steps invoked jn that morning, and that it is incidental to the million things you have to do that day, it just become one thing on a list of a 100 achievable things (switching on kettles etc).

Nagsnovalballs Mon 14-Oct-19 04:16:06

Also, you will never see these people again, so it doesn’t matter what happens. If you do see them again it’s because they want you. If they don’t well stuff it and stuff them. You may as well have fun with it and act the role of ‘person who is blagging their way through an interview’ or ‘con artist’ (I know you are fantastically well prepared and knowledgeable) but if you think of it as a game, it changes the picture. And if you pretend you are someone else and these people don’t matter (which they don’t, becAuse you will probably
Never see them again) and that actually there is shit all chance you’ll get this job so you may as well just have fun with it, then again you can apply game theory and focus on how to play the game than thinking about anything else.
I always rocked work that I did with ironic detachment - won prizes etc - but when I let myself care, my writing and speaking would become all tense and confused. Cultivating an air of this doesn’t ducking matter and what a crock of old shit this is, and let me play a game with them, freed me from the self doubt and anxiety that made my academic work (I am an academic) become drifting and nervously padded and instead let me be incisive, clear and well structured - and have a little sparkle

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