I’m not going to claim that I’m psychic (though others have accused me of being such a thing) or that I am really good at reading people… But…
I’m not terrible at it.
It’s not hard.
But it does take a lot of energy, and should explain why I label myself an introvert.
I’m not shy. Never really have been. But I am standoffish, because I’m protective of the little energy I feel that I have. But my job sometimes (often) requires me to be in a position where I am leading a discussion or presentation… And I have to be what I call, “on.”
“On” means not just getting up and saying/doing what I have to do… But also paying attention to the energy of the room.
Are people listening to what I’m saying?
Do I need to interrupt their boredom with an anecdote or funny line?
Are we running out of time and I need to elegantly move things along in a seamless way?
Do I need to be a bit confrontational to get people out of their comfort zones?
Are those hunger pains in my stomach, or am I just tired of what I’m talking about and wanting to wrap this discussion up?
Do I have to pee?
These are some of the things I am analyzing when I am with people. I don’t get nervous speaking in front of people. In fact, I’m more comfortable speaking in front of larger crowds than I am smaller ones. (Less intimacy required.)
But no matter the size or location or topic or whatever… I am always feeling the room in different ways and adapting however I need to get done what I need to get done.
“I heard upstairs talking about how paid search works. You described it in a way I hadn’t heard before,” said a junior person on the team last week. “You’re really good at deejaying the room.”
And I loved it.
It’s exactly what I do. I feel the vibe of the crowd… And I mix in some different “songs and genres and artists” based on what I am picking up from the crowd.
But it is draining.
I could try to say it’s “not easy”… But that would be a lie. It’s not difficult for me. I think because I am focused on doing what I am there to do. I don’t care as much if people think I am good or bad at it. I’m focused on the sharing and exchange of whatever purpose brought us into that space.
Hopefully, it involves coffee though.