Fell Apart Presenting to Senior Executives? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine,

I was asked to present to the senior leadership team and the board of my company. I was excited and nervous—and prepared, I thought—but probably not enough as it turns out.

Just as I was about to begin, I kind of lost my mind. I started to sweat uncontrollably and my heart started racing. I was afraid they would notice, so I started cracking jokes and saying inappropriate things. I stopped looking people in the eyes. I have absolutely no memory of what I said or did. I just fell apart.

I got some feedback from my boss afterward, and he made it sound like it wasn’t quite the train wreck I thought it was. He did say I seemed nervous and that I should try to avoid humor in situations like that.

It is important that I figure out what happened to me so that I can keep it from happening again. Being able to do what I am asked to do is going to be important to my career at this company. I am very competent in my job. I know they know that, but I can’t be falling apart under pressure like this!

Where do I begin in order to make sure this never happens again?

Fell Apart

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