It’s been a long time since I have had to do a presentation for work. I’m very happy about this. Yes–I am a pastor and preach 3 sermons per week, but preaching is not the same as doing presentations. I have tried to explain this to numerous people without success.
Them: “Why are you so worried? You speak in front of people all of the time.”
Me: “When I preach I am relying on the truth of the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit. When I do a presentation I am relying on figures that have been pulled off of spreadsheets by people who quit caring about their jobs while I was still trying to get a girlfriend in middle school and the fact that most of the people I am speaking to are so mesmerized with the size of my head that they fail to hear most of what I say.”
Them: “Sorry–what were you saying? By the way, you have a huge head.”
While my explanation to my questioning co-workers is the main reason why I dislike doing presentations, there is another reason that probably applies to other people: the post-presentation comments.
If you are coerced into doing a work presentation, at least 75% of those in attendance will feel the need to say something to you afterward. And 100% of those people will not mean exactly what they say. How do I know this? First-hand experience.
I know something else that is even more important–I know what they really mean when they say what they don’t really mean. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. “That was interesting.” This really means: “I know I see you in the lunch room from time to time and we give each other head nods, but I just wasn’t interested in what you had to say. It’s not you; it’s me. I went to bed to late last night because I was watching the first season of The Love Boat that Netflix sent us. Gopher is a hoot! Next time I do a presentation feel free to zone out on me just like I zoned out on you. By the way, you have a huge head.”
2. “Your presentation skills have really improved.” This really means: “Your last presentation was so awful that during it I tried to think of what could possibly be worse. I came up with a scenario in which I fall into a meat grinder, become slices of bologna, and get eaten by little kids with dirty hands. Your presentation wasn’t as bad this time–I only considered stabbing you with my pen twice. By the way, you have a huge head.”
3. “I liked your illustrations.” This really means: “I wasn’t smart enough to keep up when you were talking about numbers and ideas and stuff. By the way, you have a huge head.”
4. “You remind me of someone–I just can’t think of who.” This really means: “I know exactly who you remind me of, but since it is unflattering I have chosen not to say exactly what ugly/weird/hateful person could be your twin. But I will definitely tell everyone else and make fun of you behind your back. By the way, you have a huge head.”
I fully realize that this may not be completely accurate. Maybe some of the people who make comments to me after presentations are sincere. Maybe a few of them actually tell the truth. .
Thankfully, Jesus always tells the truth.
He tells the truth about Himself–He loves and cares for us more than we could ever imagine.
He tells the truth about us–we have all sinned and fallen far short of His glory.
He tells the truth about salvation–it is only through Him.
He tells the truth about everything.
Because He is the Truth.
I may not be able to believe everything people say to me after presentations, but I can always believe what Jesus says.
And He probably thinks I have a huge head, too.
(What are some things you have said to people after presentations and what did you really mean? What is the strangest thing anyone has ever said to you? What are some true things about you? Share away!)