sly : marketing

It’s not over when you think it’s over

One more minute and I’ll be leaving. I’ve been waiting for this to end for the past thirty six minutes. I’m not kidding. I’ve been counting each minute, watching the huge white clock, with the black numbers, while I’ve been listening to all the successful people talk among themselves.

I’m terrible at small talk and networking. They can all see that I’m nervous now, but I wasn’t thirty seven minutes ago. I’m closing my eyes just for a few seconds, and I’m thinking that I’m a lot more comfortable all by myself and I don’t know why, but at the same time, I’m thinking of the famous quote “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

I’m the one-eyed man in the room, so I should be the king. But in order to be the king, I have to take action. I have to show some guts. I have to do something.

I finished my presentation thirty six minutes ago. They listened. They asked questions. I answered, just as expected. I was the centre of attention. And then, all of a sudden, it was the last slide, and I was finished. Perfect timing, but I hadn’t planned the ending. I felt like a curtain was lowered, slowly, from the ceiling, to the floor, just a few inches in front of me. It’s like I’m not in the same room as my audience anymore. It’s like I am invisible.

I can here them talking about me. They are asking questions about me, and what I have just said, but they aren’t talking to me. I am just standing here without anything to say. I am looking at them, but they aren’t looking back at me.

I am raising my glass, and while it was touching my lips, I was thinking that it would have been fun to poor the black liquid on to the table, just to see if I could get a reaction. My guess was that nothing I could have done at that very moment would have made a difference.

The men in suits are still sitting by the table, sharing their stories, and building strong relationships, and me, I’m standing in the corner, all alone, drinking Coca-Cola Zero, and thinking of why I’m standing in the corner all alone and drinking Coca-Cola Zero.



47 responses to “It’s not over when you think it’s over”

  1. Hajra says:

    Hey Jens,

    This is funny and interesting at the same time.

    Also, Coca – Cola zero is good for the hips so that figures! 🙂

    • Jens says:

      Thanks a lot.. and I’ve been thinking about what benefits Coca-Cola Zero has, and finally I’ve got one. Thanks 🙂

      I drink way too much of it. But I just love the taste 🙂

      • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

        Coca Cola Zero has no benefits! It’s liquid chemical! Stop drinking it. I just bought a juicer; I highly recommend.

        Do you get the show Modern Family in Norway? It’s one of the few TV programs that I watch, and this week, one of the themes was preparedness in the face of public presentation. It was very funny. You should watch it.

        Great post. Provocative!

        • Hi Ruth,

          I have a juicer as well. I used to make my own juice all the time. I guess it’s time to start juicing again 🙂

          We do get the show Modern Family in Norway. I have been watching it a lot, but we’re probably way behind you, we usually are. I haven’t seen that episode 🙂

          Thanks a lot for your kind words Ruth.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Very powerful, Jens. You have painted a familiar scene of social awkwardness many of us can relate to.

    • Jens says:

      It’s very interesting that I felt like I was in total control when I was presenting, but a few seconds after, I had no idea what I was doing 🙂

      So, I believe that we shouldn’t just think about the presentation, because most of us only focus on that.. but what happens when you’re finished? People will come up to you, or maybe not… will you just stand in the corner and drink Coca-Cola Zero like me or take control of the situation? And this guy is starting his own business, talk about being an entrepreneur 🙂

      • Carolyn says:

        Don’t be too hard on yourself, Jens. It’s difficult to mingle, even more so when you’ve been the star of the show. After you speak and people are done with asking you questions, feel free to sneak out and take a break. Public speaking is stressful and it’s tough to switch gears. Take a walk, clear your mind and come back in a little while when you’re ready to face the group again.

        I’m with you, big groups of people are definitely my biggest challenge. Though usually there is no shortage of tech questions when I’m done speaking. People are generally eager to ask tech questions to someone willing to respond in plain English.

        You also need a break to re-charge your batteries. My dad always warns me when I’m “burning the candle at both ends.” Methinks that may be what you’re doing, Jens.

        I hope you have a chance to rest this weekend, Jens.

        • Jens says:

          Hi Carolyn,

          I have actually bought some books about small talk. If I just got better at finding a topic and dealing with all sorts of conversations and people, I don’t think I would have a such an awkward situation. The presentation went very well, so it’s not that… it’s just that I shouldn’t have stopped planning. There’s an important part happening right after the presentation is finished.

          That’s when it’s time to get people to talk to me, or me to them, and maybe end up in some sales 🙂

          I’m not stressed, and I don’t think that I’m burning the candle in both ends, it’s just a few situations I need to start planning for in order to have more control 🙂

          Thanks a lot Carolyn, have a great weekend.

  3. Mark says:

    Experience is the best teacher. I’m sure you’ll plan out a better close the next time around – even if it’s an exit, stage left!

    It’s all about practice and improving – we all have room for that. Just hone your craft, take the experience gained and move on to the next presentation.. It’s all good.

    You are too funny Jens 🙂

    • Jens says:

      I’m that weird guy standing in front of all the men in suits, wearing jeans and drinking Coca-Cola Zero.. at the same time, I’m the purple cow 😉

      I’m doing my best to get some experience, and planning an amazing exit strategy, the next time around 🙂

  4. Jack says:

    Sometimes it is best to sit back and watch. Let them talk and think about what you said.

    • Jens says:

      That’s interesing Jack. I just have to get used to not speaking… the less I say, the more interested they might be. I’m a really fast talker, and it’s hard to talk slow, and even harder not to be talking 🙂

  5. Jens, I appreciate what you went through here, and have a few suggestions:

    1. If someone says, “Great Job”, you have questions prepared, like: What part do you think you can apply? What did you hear that will help your business the most? What other concerns questions do you have?

    2. Let people know, when you’re finishing up, that you’re available to chat and would love to discuss anything with them once done speaking.

    3. Smile a lot. 🙂

    4. Along with #3, enjoy the moment!

    Keep growing my friend,

    Marcus

    • That’s great advice Marcus. I don’t have any problems when it comes to smiling a lot, and I do enjoy every moment… but I wish I’d be the one that started the conversations and had all the right things to say when the conversations are “off topic”

      Thanks a lot for your awesome comment, hope you’re enjoying your weekend.

  6. Adrienne says:

    At least you did the presentation, my fear is still to get in front of audience. You did yours, I’m sure it was great and it’s done. Maybe all endings aren’t perfect I’m not the expert in that area for sure.

    And Jens, you probably do drink too much Coca-Cola. Hey, I’m just saying!

    I loved how you wrote this Jens, absolutely loved it.

    • Do you really have a fear of getting in front of an audience? I would never have thought that, you seem to always be in total control.

      I do drink way too much Coca-Cola, I have to do something about it.. but I haven’t found a good substitute, and water doesn’t do it for me (I drink water every day, but I don’t find it as satisfying as coca-cola).

      Hope you’re having an awesome weekend Adrienne, thank you so much for your comment.

  7. Sounds interesting Jens!

    I like the way you are observing things and writing it down. I agree with Jack that its best at times to sit back and watch and let them think and imagine about what you said.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

  8. Bill Dorman says:

    I think maybe if you started talking in tongue, loudly, it might get their attention. I’m pretty good at being able to strike up a conversation or join in one; but I too have been in the invisible mode and just wanted to leave. I didn’t have the energy or desire to even try to join in. Sometimes alone is good.

    It might have been awkward, but it did give a chance to be more of an observer, right?

    Better start drinking water; it’s healthier……..just sayin’……

    • You’re absolutely right Bill, talking in tongue would have gotten their attention 🙂

      I like to observe, and many times, I don’t care that I’m an observer and invisible.. because when I am, I always seems to discover something. I always learn something, but it might not end up with me getting a new client, but I’m learning something about my strengt and weaknesses.

      And talking about weaknesses, I better start drinking more water. I’ve been drinking four glasses of water today, and I’m proud, I’ll keep doing that for 30 days and maybe that will turn everything around for me.

  9. Nicholle Olores says:

    Sounds weird but funny Jens! Well I am very much in love with your Coca Cola Zero, it is really nice to sit and think something weird. 🙂

  10. Sam says:

    Hehe, very awesome post, keep up the good work! Indeed, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, unless the blind man is a clairvoyant, in which case he is stronger than the one-eyed man, even though he’s blind. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Ashvini says:

    Hi Jens,

    I think we all get nervous when we are to make new connections and anxiety is understandable.

    I think you would do well :). Diet coke is my drink and I am fan of sugary drink ( which is not good 🙂 ).

    As for small talk, I don’t think I can do it as well but I normally start by asking people where they are from, what do they do? That is what sets the ball rolling.

    • Hi Ashvini,

      I have just been to another presentation, and I think it went a lot better. I’m getting more experienced every single day 🙂

      I love diet coke as well, when it come to think about it, I love all sorts of sugary and non-sugary drinks… I know it’s not good, but I can’t seem to help it. On the other hand, I’m drinking more water and more (green) tea .. so a little of both worlds 🙂

  12. Rizwan Sultan says:

    Hey,

    Awesome post Jens and so true!

  13. Laura E. Pence says:

    Hi Jens!

    It’s hard to believe, when reading your articles, that you could stand in front of a room full of people and feel awkward, since you have so much of value to share! I’m sure that’s quite a common feeling and I’ve seen it happen to other people before, but when it does I usually just pop out of my seat and go speak to them myself, since no one else can be bothered. (Unless they were really boring- in which case I check my iPhone. LOL I KNOW YOU weren’t boring.)

    I’ve never felt that way, but I’m way too hyper and friendly and talkative to let people not interact, I guess. Hmm. I wonder if I just put them on the spot or what? Food for thought.

    I can definitely relate to one part of your story; I LOVE COKE ZERO! If I have an addiction that is it! I am often accused of drinking way too much of the stuff, but I need my caffeine (and I’m allergic to tea and coffee) so there you go! So delicious. I’m also known to drink SugarFree RockStar, but that isn’t nearly so tasty. 🙂

    • Jens P. Berget says:

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I might be hard to believe, but I can in fact be very boring 🙂

      And don’t tell anybody, but I’m drinking a Coke Zero right now 🙂

  14. Loldri says:

    i absolutly know where you are coming from here, I often get sent to these kind of things by work and my manager asks me when I come back what I learnt and who I met. Most of the time I feel I could teach this kind of thing myself and the people there are all stroking their own egos and showing off, its like playtime at school!

    • Jens P. Berget says:

      I have been to so many meetings, I don’t want to start counting how many days of my life I have spent in various meetings… but this meeting was at least different. I was doing the presentation and I had a wonderful time. The only thing that bothered me was that I hadn’t planned the ending 🙂

  15. cosmo says:

    Verry cool posting – congraz! Keep it up!

  16. Beth says:

    Hi Jens

    Presentations and public speaking aren’t easy, but if you got all the way to the end and the people were talking about you and what you have just said then I’d consider that you’ve done a great job and have a break. Also as Bill said a few comments up drink water it’s healthier, or perhaps juice.

    • Hi Beth,

      You’re right. I was very satisfied with the presentation, it was just that it felt awkward at the end. I felt invisible, and I hadn’t planned for what I was going to do. I was just standing there, drinking coke 🙂

      I’m drinking water right now, and I’m really trying to drink at least six glasses of water every single day. I hope that will become a routine, so I’ll do it every day without even thinking about it 🙂

  17. Shine says:

    We are all different. Others are better in small talk than us but that doesn’t make them better than us.

  18. Andrea from Best Hand Truck says:

    Keep on posting cool blogs Jens 😀 I will be the first one to follow.

  19. Andrei says:

    There’s always room for improvement.Just keep on praying and let god do the mending 😀

  20. Jenny Jones says:

    It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

  21. Angelo Michan says:

    They say that Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

  22. Danica Green says:

    This is really an inspiring one. We have individualities and some of us have these fear of socializing or even standing in front of a crowd.

  23. Elaine Salt says:

    An old memory rushed in while I am reading this post. I can relate to this story, I remember the first time that I was tasked to talk about a particular topic in front of hundreds of people in a hall. And that experience is fantastic!

  24. Jason Homes says:

    For public speakers and motivators, your presentation is not over even you have already stepped out of the stage or podium. Because after you have imparted your ideas, your listeners’ minds are also busy generating a new one.

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