By Stanley Bing
October 23, 2007

I have a speech to give in the next couple of days and feel kind of nauseous thinking about it right now. I’m a good presenter, but have always been afflicted with what actors refer to as “flopsweat.” I wonder if you are too. Take this little quiz and find out.

1. When I know I have to make a presentation, even a small one before a very limited number of people, I start feeling nervous…

a. Before I know about it, even. Just the question made me feeling like huarking.
b. About a week before, then I get ready. When I’m preparing or well-prepared, I’m okay.
c. The day before. Then I go nuts and drive everybody around me completely crazy.
d. Nervous? Me? Ha!

2. When a big meeting is coming up, one that will involve a number of presentations from a range of people…

a. I hide inside my BlackBerry, furiously typing with my thumbs, head down, until all the others have volunteered for every available slot. Afterwards, I change my undies.
b. I listen for a topic I could do well at and put up my hand for it. If no appropriate topic appears, I try to get a pass.
c. I wait until the end of the meeting, then sign up to do a presentation on something about which I have no knowledge or interest.
d. I make sure I’m doing ALL the presentations. They’re mine! Mine!

3. I would say my ability as a presenter is…

a. Abysmal. How can you talk if you’re about to barf?
b. Good. Depends on the material.
c. Why? Who wants to know? What did you hear? It’s not true!
d. I’m the best presenter who ever lived.

4. While I am up on stage, I…

a. Feel all trembly and bizzarre.
b. Feel a little nervous at first and then get into it. By the end, I’m having fun.
c. Spill water on my notes and then wing it.
d. Am God.

5. Comments about my presentations are generally…

a. Comments? I have no idea. Nobody looks me in the eye after I speak. Is that bad?
b. Generally quite positive. I don’t listen to them very much. I kind of know how I did from the way I feel after it’s over. Other people are so full of it a lot of the time, you know?
c. Great! I mean, terrific! I mean… have you heard anything different?
d. Never good enough. No matter how good they are.

6. If I have to go “off the cuff”…

a. I will faint.
b. I like that much better than working off a paper text, actually.
c. I’ll do it. But I won’t like it.
d. I will talk until my audience is weeping with exhaustion. Then I’ll go on. And on!

7. If I could describe public speaking as a food, it would be…

a. A poisoned apple.
b. An English muffin.
c. A big messy bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.
d. A huge juicy roast beef I can eat all by myself.

8. My idea of a great public speaker is/was…

a. Alan Greenspan
b. Tom Peters
c. Chris Rock
d. Benito Mussolini

Score yourself 1 point for every (a) answer; 2 points for every (b); 5 points for every (c) and 10 points for every (d).

7-20: If called to speak, stick your head in a microwave. You’re doomed.
21-35: You’re a good, professional presenter; possibly not the most interesting in the world, but then if your mother had wanted you to be an actor, she would have given you a different nose.
36-55: You’re all over the place. You’re a paranoid maniac. And you’re probably pretty entertaining.
56-70: You’re probably fundraising for the ’08 elections right now.

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