Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Katie gives two talks.

“That was great,” he offered and I turned, tucking my hair behind my ear when it swung forward. I cocked my head at the man who had been checking badges and herding people away from escalators (Dear People, Do not congregate near the end of the escalator. People run into you because the giant moving staircase continues to push us forward. Scoot scoot, Katie) and he smiled. “I came in when I heard you start talking so I could listen. Now I know something about what you’re all doing here!”

“That’s very kind,” I said, reaching for a boxed lunch with one hand while patting his arm with the other. “Thank you.”

“I mean it,” he insisted. “You did really well.”

“He thought I did really well,” I told a colleague as we walked to find a place to have lunch. I joined him at a table for a mild critique and then he too offered his compliments. I picked at my chicken salad and wished momentarily for the Chinese we’d consumed the night before.

“I’m doing what Adam says rather than arguing all the time,” I told him as we sat in a nearly-empty-but-quite-good place. I scooped more orange chicken on my plate and considered the hot sauce fish before taking some of that too. “My mom told me I should,” I concluded.

“Moms are smart,” he agreed.

Mine frowned when I returned home and immediately went out on the patio to answer a call from Adam.

“Hey,” I greeted as I dropped in a chair and wrinkled my nose at the temperature outside. Heat and humidity descended while I was away. “I just landed and my folks picked me up. How’s it going for you?” I giggled at travel stories and nodded as he caught me up on new developments.

“I think you should do it,” he concluded and there was silence while he waited for me to respond.

“Are you sure?” I asked, unable to decide if the thought excited or exhausted me.

“Of course,” he decided. “I know you just landed and I’m sure you’re tired, but I’d be most comfortable with you leading this.” I scowled as I realized I was flattered and would soon agree. Then I spent hours organizing documents and rehearsing remarks for a rather important annual meeting.

“You’re going to be late,” Dad said gently when he came to the door this morning. I grumbled and rose, shuffling to my closet to stare at hanging clothes. All my favorite outfits had been tossed downstairs after tugged from a too-full suitcase and were not yet laundered. Finally reaching for a skirt and light beige sweater, I wriggled out of pajamas and into pretty clothes, straightening my hair and plodding downstairs and my pretty cream flats.

“He thinks he did me a favor,” I offered blearily to my parents, terribly tired and not wanting to go present a summary of our activities to the business. “It’s a big deal with an important audience, but I’d just as soon not go in today.”

I perked up as my turn approached, rising from my seat in the second row to stride across the room with skirt fluttering around my knees to introduce myself and begin. The presentation flowed smoothly and I was proud of the way I moved through each idea and to the next, making eye contact with people, smiling at those who offered grins and winks and feeling comfortable and powerful as I commanded the attention of people in the room (and around the world via the telephone microphone positioned conveniently close to my podium).

“Nice job,” the most important man in the room nodded his approval after I finished and I mimicked the gesture with a murmur of thanks.

I'm getting it, I thought, and took the afternoon off to spend with my parents. I understand what we do and know enough to communicate that pretty effectively. Pretty good progress for a little less than a year.

1 comment:

Jenn, PhD said...

Yeah Katie! Glad to hear things are going so well on the work front. Hope you get to enjoy a little break now that the talks are done.

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