I looked at my notes, feeling nervous about my upcoming presentation. To steady my nerves, I took a deep breath and looked out the window, watching the people on the tarmac prep the plane for my flight.
I was about four hours away from a conference my boss made me go to, and one where I had to do a presentation about one of our products. He said something about “marketing the company” and “networking to make connections” while I was there, but he should have known better than to pick me for that sort of thing. I’m terribly introverted and hate talking to people, so I didn’t know what kind of marketing and networking I could do, not when I would be putting all my concentration into staring at shoes instead of faces the whole afternoon.
But insisted he still did, and here I was, stuck on an airplane, worried about my 20-minute presentation later. I took a deep breath, leaned back on my seat, and closed my eyes. It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay…
Just then, I heard a shuffling and felt a movement on the seat next to me. Oh great, I was hoping to have the row for myself, considering how the cute stewardess told me earlier that this wasn’t a full flight. Ah well.
“Oh, are you going to the IOT Conference?”
My eyes snapped open to see a purple-haired girl in a dress shirt and slacks sit next to me. She was pointing at the ticket that stuck out between my notes.
I nodded slowly, unsure of what to say. She smiled as she took out a planner and showed me a ticket that looked just like mine. “Me too,” she said brightly. “And boy, am I nervous! I’ll be presenting there later.”
She laughed, but her eyes betrayed a hint of anxiousness.
“Ah, I’ll be presenting too. I’ve been trying to go over my notes, but nothing just seems to stick.” I show her my papers, and she nods, understanding. “I don’t even do presentations normally…”
She sighed. “Neither do I, but my boss forced me to go! I don’t even know anyone there.”
I straightened up and gave her my biggest smile. “Well, you know me now. Want to practice for a bit? Maybe that’d help us both.”
Her eyes grew big in surprise, but she enthusiastically nodded. “Yes, let’s! Give me a second to get all my papers together…” She took out a plastic envelope from her bag and started going over its contents.
I smiled and arranged my notes, excited about my first ever presentation before a stranger.
Image source: deviantart.com/skybase/art/Stock-Clouds-from-Above-109585408
First written March 28, 2018.