I've been there.
We've all been there.
What I want to say is -- there's something for each of us. It might not be a stutter or a stammer, but it comes out in other ways. My throat goes dry. Her hands shake. He trips over a word and loses his confidence.
Or it's mental: The words on the teletype in our minds simply disappear, no matter how much we've rehearsed. The guy in the back of the room is smirking, and we assume the smirk is directed at us. We make a joke, and it falls flat. We don't intend to make a joke, but everyone laughs anyway.
We lose eye contact. We lose focus.
We decide we're wearing the absolute wrong thing. We think about a zit on the chin, which appeared only this morning. We didn't sleep the night before, worrying about this presentation.
But what does it mean, really? Am I less of a person for my dry throat, for reaching for my emergency water bottle? Is she to be dismissed for her shaking hands? Are you somehow less knowledgeable because the words are trapped in your mouth, butting up against your teeth?
Of course not.
What I want to say is -- life goes on, and these small failures aren't the things that define us.
Paula Treick DeBoard