One of the key opportunities that came out of my year-end performance review was to develop presentations skills, so I put this down on my official personal development plan for 2008, which I was reluctant to put together and had to be prodded by my manager to submit. That being said, I took the initiative and volunteered myself at the first chance that presented itself: talking in front of a group of consultants who we've engaged for a project about our company business model.
I thought at first that it would be fairly simple - I was told that this wasn't meant to be a make-work exercise, besides which, we've got endless different versions of this information compiled in a powerpoint deck peppered across the organization...and then I got the email about what I should cover...which resulted in me spending the entire week re-working the information in the deck and stressing about the content.
I met with my boss a few times over the past week to discuss talking points, and even did a dry run in front of several members of my team so they could provide me with feedback - and I'm glad to say that all the preparation paid off. While I was nervous, and probably read a little too much off my notes - which were extensive! - I actually didn't need to talk that much. My greatest fair is questions and being unprepared to answer them but it wasn't really an issue today as there were enough senior and certainly more knowledgable people in the room who were able to jump in and take over. So yay! The consultants were a very inquisitive bunch - which isn't surprising considering today's session was meant to be an initial download on our business - so there was a lot of discussion, which meant that we were an hour behind schedule by the time I finally presented around 10:30am and my 30 minute slot stretched into an hour.
But it's done...and I'm so relieved. I wanted to go celebrate the week's end with a visit to Design Within Reach to visit my Tulip, but because the session ended late, I decided to head back uptown and browse a little closer to home instead. I found flatware that I think I will go back to buy - Isaac Mizrahi's Bamboo - I think they'll look fantastic set with brilliant white dishes.