The great performance
So today was our first graded lecture for this Instructor Training Course I’m attending while at the schoolhouse. Well, it wasn’t really graded, it was scored, but not recorded. You know, a way to see what they look for and all of that business?
We had the weekend to practice and prepare and everyone was properly freaked out. I tried to worry, but I don’t get nervous at these sorts of things. That’s not to say I thought I’d be perfect, by any means, it’s just that after so many years of performing in front of total strangers, I don’t fret about it much.
And I was dead last. I hate going last. I volunteered to go first, but we drew cards to keep things fair and, by chance, I picked the last card, slating me for the final spot.
Which meant I had to sit and dread it for the whole day while others did their piece. At the end of each session a look of peace washed over their faces and they joined the ever-growing clique of “already finished” in their scrutiny of the “yet to go” remainder. After a time, I was the only one left.
The chap before me had done a good job and in the closing moments of his presentation, when I realized my imminent appearance, I sunk down a little.
I always get that way, even on stage. I can almost see it, the ever-rising waters of impending expectation, covering my feet, legs, chest and finally overtaking me completely, where I’m at last forced into the light and onto stage.
Nervous? I don’t think so. I’m not shaking. I can form my words. I can even tweak the energy of things, if I had a mind to, but there I was, staring at seven sets of eyes that looked at me lovingly. I was all that stood between them and an evening’s freedom.
And I ended.
I had my marks done out, I knew what parts to cover. I used several other key things to satisfactory effect. But it was dead. I knew it as some of my audience’s eyes began to droop.
“Where was your personality?” my evaluator asked. Normally I’m a riot, if I’m permitted to say. I don’t know. I guess I was off today.
“Don’t know, I’ll work on it.”
“You were a completely different person,” she continued. “If I didn’t know you, I’d think you were this crazy-serious guy. I’d like to see more of you.”
She was right. I wasn’t in the moment. I don’t know. I think I’ll get better with experience. All of my times in front of others have been with scripts. I could hide behind the role. This lesson/lecture had a script too, I suppose, but it wasn’t as meted out, nor did I have weeks and months to internalize it.
In the end, I was average, and a bit dry, to boot.
My mates were right, I would need to work on it. Our next lesson to teach is on Wednesday. I think I’ll do better with that one. I just need to learn to have more fun with it, that’s all.
I guess it’s reflective on how I am. In a new group, in a new situation, I’m terribly introverted, completely silent. It’s not until I get the vibe for whom I’m around that I begin to come to life. I like to think I try to adapt myself to other people, but it’s a very reactive process, which is not conducive to being an energetic speaker. I’ll have to learn to harness my later confidence in my initial trepidation.
So…Wednesday. I’ll give it another go.