AIBU to say I just can't do it (work/anxiety/presen tation related)

(33 Posts)
Namechangingnorma Fri 26-Apr-13 22:22:50

Keeping this as brief as poss and have name changed due to being a little ashamed. I am 3 weeks into a new job, new company. I hold a relatively senior position in a relatively specialised area. It is going really well so far and my boss and the company directors seem happy with my performance.
As part of my normal job it is not required for me to present to large audiences, if it was I wouldn't have gone for it. i am really good at what I do but I have a total phobia in regards to presentations, way past normal scared, it induces full on panic attacks, have had to have large quantities of valium to do it in the past (did ok). In real life I come accross as terribly confident and togetherso no-one would really guess how I feel. My boss asked me a couple of days ago to stand in for her in a presentation in a weeks time that she can't attend. knowing what I need to present I assumed it would be 5-10 people around a table which I would be nervous about but could manage. However, I have been informed that it will be a very large audience and I have gone into meltdown. I am trying to establish what they mean by large but if they come back and say 20+ people I just don't think I can do it. AIBU to come clean to my boss?

Salmotrutta Fri 26-Apr-13 23:28:54

Well,if none of your colleagues will be there you could maybe at least ask them to be a practice audience?

Gather as many of them as you can and say "Look, I get nervous doing talks. Can you come and listen to me practise?"

It would help, really.

FreshLeticia Fri 26-Apr-13 23:41:33

I have every sympathy OP, I have a highly thought of technical role in the civil service but I have after 12 years had to flatly refuse to do big presentations for medical reasons.
And no, it didn't get easier the more I did, it got worse, despite beta-blockers, CBT etc etc. even Prozac didn't chill me out enough.
Like you I have no problem with meetings, small groups and negotiation with difficult customers, but knowing how dull it often is having to sit through these big presentations, I wonder why the hell we still have them? Unless you are a talented speaker and lecturer then both you and the audience are not enjoying it.

Namechangingnorma Fri 26-Apr-13 23:45:06

Thanks Fresh!etitia I totally agree, it feel so unfair that being a confident public speaker is often the key to career progression when most presentations are boring and would be far more efficient done by web cast so people could watch in their own time (especially because I would have no problem with that :-))

maddening Fri 26-Apr-13 23:54:19

could you present in a different format? Eg set it up more like a meeting?

Namechangingnorma Sat 27-Apr-13 00:03:46

maddening, that is exactly what I am trying to do, once I get an idea of numbers I will have a better idea of whether its a boardroom/round table thing which was what I had expected when I agreed to do it. i will get a gage of that on Mon and will take it from there. i am just so scared of looking shit in my new job and them regretting hiring me, I just re-read the JD and definitely no mention of presentations!

ll31 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:18:06

I think I'd stop looking at jd as possible way out. If it's a senior role I think ability to make presentation would be assumed. Even if it's large group think about doing it sitting down or prepare and deliver it onvideo and play that .. Just come up with angle for doing it that way.good luck

angelos02 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:26:50

Did you say it was a senior role? If so, I'd assume presentations were part & parcel of the job. When I earned just 20k, doing a presentation was sprung on me. Not overjoyed about it but couldn't say no.

Minshu Sat 27-Apr-13 08:40:39

Presumably you are paid senior role money, so should just get on with it. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but it's probably part and parcel of the job and this is an opportunity for you to develop the skill.

The purpose of a presentation is to impart information, so make sure you know the material and deliver in a conversational style. Ask questions of your audience - has anyone been involved in this before? what are your thoughts or questions? Can help by giving you a few seconds to breathe and takes the focus of you.

Good luck!

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