It was one of those days when you are enjoying the lecture then in conclusion the lecturer in charge bursts your bubble by stating we were all going to be grouped for presentations that would be part of our assessment for his course titled Managing People. I was not a fan of standing in front of people to give a speech or speaking to a crowd. Even when I was made Utility prefect in secondary school, it was a task to lead the assembly or control the prep hall when it got noisy. To simply put it I like being anonymous. We were about 28 in my class and we were divided into 4 groups with my group having 6 people in it. We picked presentation topics and of all topics my group settled for this “Why is there so much fuss about STRESS? STRESS is actually good for you”. After the grouping, myself and my team members met on how to go about the project and decide when we would be meeting to work on it.
My group met almost everyday for about an hour and had longer sessions on Saturdays. We carried out intense researches and practiced for the presentation. It looked like I was getting into shape whenever I was with my group, but when I get home or when alone, thoughts of how I would fare on that day when I am to face the whole class and lecturer creeps in. I was already comfortable with my group members because we were friends before the pairing, but I was scared of fluffing my lines when I face the the whole class. This was something new for me, I was always used to being the guy in the background doing whatever it takes to make the group tick. The day for my group’s presentation, 13th December, 2010 drew closer and the pressure was getting to me. I had a chat with my bro about how I nervous and scared I was. He jokingly responded saying I should keep calm and drink Bell’s, that I wouldn’t care who’s ox was gored and I would flow fluently and smoothly come presentation day. Oh you don’t know what Bell’s is? When I was still in the world (the alcohol world), Bell’s was the best drink for me after Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels was my favourite because I could take it unadulterated, as in straight on the rocks (with ice) but with Bell’s I would add ice and coke/sprite.
So big bro was joking about me taking Bell’s but I took it to heart. By the way my group members are wonderful people, especially the babes, lol. They made me feel comfortable and it was all looking good, the transition from one presenter to the other was so cool I can’t explain in writing. I still had my Bell’s thought for the presentation day at heart and when the day came, I filled my flask with Bell’s and put it in my bag. I got to school to meet up with my group members for final rehearsals on the presentation. At about 4.40pm we were done with rehearsals and presentation was to start at 5pm. I walked out to the park to drink my Bell’s, let’s say gulp and at 4.57pm I was back in class. By 5 minutes past 5pm the class was filled with our fellow students and the Lecturer in charge. All I had in my head were my lines and what I needed to say during transition.
The topic of discussion was read out by one of the babes and each group member was introduced. The Bell’s had started to kick in there and then and when it was my turn to speak I remember I spoke but till date I can’t remember all I said or how I said it. After the presentation, I walked up to one of my friends in the class and asked how I did. His response was, Dipo I have never seen you speak so freely before, you nailed it. I was like hmmm, AA you dey scope your guy abi? I got a few handshakes with some people saying nicely done or good job. I was having none of it, the result was the only thing that could determine if my part of the presentation went well. My team and I hooked up for a short dinner and they really felt good about the presentation but I was just indifferent. Big bro asked how it went and I said I wasn’t too sure but I tried.
The results were released two weeks later and I was shocked. The group was given an A with the lecturer’s feedback going thus ” we all consistently contributed to the presentation and added value to the academic rigour of the presentation”. He also stated that “we had excellent audience interaction and discussion which contextualized the theory with all speakers confident and self assured. He mentioned that our audio-visuals were impressive. He was happy with our research and that the only down side of the presentation was that we didn’t show more detail about the impact of stress on an organization”.
You don’t believe me? Drop your email and I will forward you a copy of the result, lol. You see for me I was saved by the Bell (Bell’s) even though I still don’t have a clear memory of how I handled the presentation, the result was enough justification that I did pretty well. If I had gone in sober how would I have fared? I really don’t know but I know will stutter a bit and fluff some of my lines.
PS: This however is not an advice for anyone to take alcohol before a presentation (also termed Dutch Courage), I am just sharing one of my stories past. Besides it was a one-off thing and it worked for me then but might not work for you. Be Guided, lol.
Are you convinced I am a shy guy now and not a snob? LOL. Thanks for your time guys and remain BLESSED.
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