I enjoy public speaking. I know it’s this weird thing to enjoy, and for tons of people it’s something they have nightmares about or it’s practically considered punishment. I will be the first to admit I assume it’s because I enjoy being the center of attention. I’m talkative. I’m articulate and can be charming in a crowd. I light up during presentations and it’s a thrill to have people hanging on your every word. While I have managed to parlay this little skill into a career, it’s not to say I don’t bomb the occasion presentation. 100% of the time it’s because I let insecurities turn into nervousness. It’s not the nervousness of presenting- I like that part. It’s this weird fear that the information I’m presenting is bullshit. Like, regardless of the source, someone is sitting there thinking “ughhh she’s so full of it. All this is wrong”

I’ve managed to get over this for the most part, but where it still trips me up sometimes is the fact that I’m often in a position to present medical concepts to doctors.

Talk about intimidating.

I failed Chemistry in college, which is why I’m not writing about my adventures as a dental hygienist. I ended up a communications major, which may be the exact opposite of a BS in anything.

So flash forward today, and I had to jet to St Louis to conduct a training for 18 plastic surgery residents and 2 attending physicians. I was terrified. Last night I must have reviewed my slides and studied proton mobility of aqueous solutions 100 times. I slept poorly. My stomach hurt when I woke up. I tried to get ahold of my inner voice and say “Self: you are going to do great. You know your stuff. You are prepared. Plus you’re bringing them breakfast and gifts.”

As soon as I got in, everyone was so kind and thankful for the catered breakfast. My presentation went beautifully, I was able to handle most questions (and even surprised myself a few times).

The hands-on demos and training went even better. Everyone was so gracious and thankful for the time I spent with them. It finally made me wrap my mind around the whole thing- yes, they’ve been to medical school, but they don’t necessarily know what it is I’m teaching. I’m adding to their wealth of information and helping them serve their patients more completely.

I feel like I took my fear head on and came out a better and more confident presenter. Mission accomplished.