Recently, I was invited to do an important literacy talk at a local school. Usually, I do presentations in front of kids and teens, but this was something a bit different—–parents and members of the community involved in education. It was a great opportunity to discuss the programs we run at my library and also to make our presence known to those who might not use the local library.
I like to keep my daily intake of liquids to a minimum when I’m going to do a presentation, and that day was no different. Just a few sips of water here and there that afternoon would assure I wouldn’t have to race out of the room in the middle of my talk. I brought plenty of handouts, library cards, display books and all of my well-prepared notes. (Yes, I had my office supplies at the ready, too!) And lucky me, I was slated to begin the entire evening with my presentation. I wanted it to be memorable…..but not in the way it turned out to be.
Earlier in the day, I’d been fighting an allergy attack. Spring blossoms and mild weather made for plenty of pollen swirling around in the air, so to deal with my stuffy nose before the presentation, I took an antihistamine. Just a simple sinus pill. They’d never bothered me before, but with the lack of water I’d had that day, it dried not only my sinuses, but every crevace inside my mouth as well. The moment I stood up to deliver my speech, I realized my top lip was curled inward along my front teeth. I probably looked like a rabid dog bearing its teeth. And nothing I did helped.
Bring your own water!
I coughed. I casually ran my hand up over my mouth in between topics, trying to loosen my upper lip. I bit the inside of my cheek trying to stimulate saliva. I ran my sandpaper tongue across my teeth, all without any change.
And wouldn’t you know it? I didn’t bring a water bottle. Oh, I could see plenty of icy, refreshing bottles of water on the back table, just waiting for the end of the evening, but I had no way to get one. I’m sure my desperate stare overtop the audience was one to remember, and after glimpsing the bewildered gaze of a woman I had hoped to impress that evening, I kept to looking at those bottles of water.
Whatever I talked about that evening, I’ll never know. Did I stick with my list? Did I engage anyone? Did I make anyone excited about coming to the library? Maybe, if only to catch another glimpse of the freakish monster woman with the expanse of teeth. Afterward, I thought it was almost appropriate that they gave me a card to say thanks, along with a gift card for a local coffee shop. Yep, get that woman a drink!
To drink or not to drink? That is the question. And the answer is different for everyone, but certainly one to consider. If you’re the least bit nervous about doing a book talk or presentation, you might want to lay off the liquids prior to your event…..but bring along some bottled water (or a coffee etc.). If you’ve got a bladder made of steel, you can skip this post altogether. And if you’re thinking of doing any other kind of imbibing before an event, all I can say is….if it’s the only thing to calm your nerves, think once, think twice, and then think again. No one wants to listen to someone slurring their way through a reading, no matter how great-looking you might be, or how fascinating your book.
So, now we’ve discussed audience, office supplies and drinking in my series I’m calling Presentations in 145 Easy Steps! On Friday, it’s the age old question, “Do I Look Fat in This?” Have a great week!