A lunch break blogger, just writing to hear herself talk.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tension Headaches

Remember when I said that I LOooOooOOOoVE public speaking?

Allow me to amend that statement. I love public speaking when I feel prepared. I do not love, say, asking the CEO of my company a question in front of thousands of people without having time to prepare. That seems like an awfully specific example, eh? Well.

Yesterday morning I got to work and before I could even get my turkey sandwich in to my mini fridge, I had our head admin in my office asking me if I'd mind 'coming up with a question to ask during our global town hall. I need a couple different questions submitted in writing for review and approval beforehand.' The town hall started at 9. And God knows I roll in to work at 7:59 on a good day. So I had 30 minutes to come up with an intelligent question to ask JOHN HESS. Also, after submitting a list of questions for approval that I was SURE he'd cover during his speech, I needed to go have the AV guys get the camera set up so that at the click of a button, it would zoom in so that the entirety of the screen would just be MY stupid face. Christ Jesus.

Allow me to elaborate on what a 'town hall' is at Hess. It's basically a state of the union address from our CEO, Mr. Hess. We have video conference equipment set up across the globe at multiple assets and we all sit in a conference room in front of a big TV and the VC equipment and we can see live feed from about 6 or 7 different locations. And about 6 or 7 locations can see video feed of us. And we listen intently then we all have a chance to ask questions.

John Hess in New York with the other assets behind him to help you visualize. 
Now picture one of those boxes just being my FACE and wrinkly chambray!

Sure 'nuff. Mr. Hess covered every question I had on my approved questions list during his speech. So, as he speaks, I have to constantly be on my toes thinking of new questions and hope he doesn't cover it or someone else ask the question before I get to (our asset was 7th in line to ask him a question). My boss sat behind me and so I could whisper back and forth to him, which was nice. He also told me twice to take a deep breath, probably because he could see the weird angles I was twisting my fingers, however nothing makes you more conscious of your nerves than you mentor whispering 'take a deep breath' in your ear.

The hardest part by far was sitting still for the hour long speech and looking interested with the camera right in your face while mentally panicking. At one point the AV guys tested the zoom feature and everyone around me cracked up a little and I had to just sit there, still looking calm and unaware of the fact that my face was being broadcast around the globe to thousands and thousands of people. Basically just sitting there thinking, 'Dear baby Jesus, help me not laugh right now. Help me look cool. Don't let me yawn because I look so scary when I yawn" Also I had to ignore the buzz of my cell phone from everyone I know at Hess across the globe texting 'Hey, I see you!' I could feel my boss' mental brainwaves telling me, 'do not touch that phone while the camera is on you, you'll be an embarrassment to us all." every time it buzzed.

When it was my turn, I asked a fine question (and I didn't burp in the middle of it, which was my biggest concern, really). Nothing revolutionary. An intentional soft ball so John Hess would look smart and prepared (although he needs little help in that area. He's such a phenomenal speaker. He comes off as so COOL and tough. I think he's so fab). He answered the question a little and then handed it off to the President of E&P. He seemed happy to answer it and was very thorough.

Then they had one or two more questions and the conference ended. Video feed from our office got cut and I slumped in my chair. Everyone laughed at me and told me good job. I got lots of texts and emails afterward reminding me not to forget the little people and I even got an email from the Project Director of the Paris Basin thanking me for bringing the Paris project up in my question. He said the whole office there was excited by my question and Mr. Hess' answer. So THAT'S pretty cool!

I had a tension headache from the whole fiasco though. It lasted ALL DAY. I felt I had earned a piece of the leftover cheesecake in the break room from  yesterday but I remembered that all I had done was say about 30 words in to a camera lens and to stop acting like some war hero.

Then I went to the gym and got an unsolicited lecture from a little old lady in the locker room about how I should never complain about having small ta-ta's and she kept saying "trust me" and winking.

Then I came back to work and ate a piece of cheesecake.

The. End.



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