Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ode to Speech-Writing

My office is sponsoring a conference tomorrow. The powers that be usually make me speak at this conference, but this time I thought I got out of it. About a month ago, one of the people they did ask to speak, a fellow state employee, called me and asked if I would like to co-present with her, since I really am the expert on this topic. I sweetly declined, for two reasons:

1. This audience needs to hear other voices; they hear from me too often.
2. I didn't want to.

Of course, that person happened to be a mere mortal like myself and I could get away with saying no.

I like public speaking, and I do a lot of it at work, but I just finished presenting at quite a few events, I have a lot on my plate, my office is being audited (more on that another time) and I was happy to avoid this assignment this year around.

About a week ago, a co-worker informed me that I was on the agenda for the conference. This confused me, since the conference committee did not ask me to speak. "It's just a panel. You only talk for a few minutes about the reports you've done lately and answer questions," She explained. The committee knew I wouldn't say no to such a simple request, so they hadn't actually bothered to make it.

Fast forward to yesterday, my last day in the office before the conference. I found an email in my box. One of the deputy directors (translation: a person who is much, much more important than I am and usually wouldn't condescend to speak to me) had emailed me with a request...well, actually, it was an order, but very politely written. She is speaking at the conference tomorrow and had located a powerpoint presentation I had made about a year ago, and was wondering if I could update all the data in it (about twenty graph slides) and send it to her by 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Then I got an email from another deputy director (that makes two out of three). He will also be speaking tomorrow, and needed, essentially, a speech, with a much more liberal deadline of 6 pm yesterday.

It occurs to me that it would have been easier to have presented myself...


  1. Arg, how annoying! And why couldn't the first update the stats herself? . . . I feel for you.

  2. Holy Smokes... nothing like last minute notice! I sure hope it all goes well for you! Best of luck!!!