Several years ago I took a graduate course in organizational communication. One of our early assignments involved giving a presentation to the class, and my day came much too quickly. I had taught an undergraduate speech class at the university the semester before, so I felt extra pressure to perform well on top of the normal giving-a-speech jitters.
My professor knew I’d been nervous (to say the least!), so she was kind when I approached her after class. I asked her if I’d done okay, and she paused.
(Never a good sign, right?)
She said, “It was the most fascinating thing, watching you give your presentation.”
“Okay . . .” (Let’s face it. “Fascinating” could really go either way.)
“It was like you were wearing a mask,” she went on to explain. “But every once in a while, you’d trip up and that mask would begin to slip. You floundered around a bit and then, Whoosh! Up went the mask. I’ve never seen anything like it!“
I wish I could say the same. But I’ve seen that mask – on myself and on others – many times before.