Awake at 6:30, as I was due at the Sheraton hotel at 7:30 to get a quick on-stage practice in. Woke Julie at 7am, because she had to be at the specialist's at 11am to get her cancer levels checked*. Got a bus into work and ended up getting off a stop early because I wasn't paying attention, arriving at the Sheraton's function space five minutes late, and discovering that the techies hadn't quite finished up yet, so I was in the queue behind the head of UK IT, who was waiting to practice _his_ speech.
Got miked up (a new experience for me), got my team together (I was giving an introductory two minutes, and then handing over to each of them in turn so they could talk about whatever awesomeness they've been up to recently, and then doing the lead-in to a video while we all sneak off under the cover of darkness), and then we had a quick run-through. It was handy to be able to do it on the stage in front of the empty tables - not the same as doing it live, but at least a step further in that direction.
We were the second item on the conference - it was split into Past and Future segments and we were the lead into the Past, so once our head of department had done his intro we folllowed him up. I could feel my stomach churning, and then we all trouped up, I turned to face 300 pairs of eyes....
and it was all just fine. I forgot one sentence, seamlessly moved it to the next paragraph, got all of my pauses, emphasis and hand-waving in the right place, and didn't get anyone's name wrong. Once I got a sentence in I was barely aware of the audience existing. I looked over various parts of them to make sure I wasn't staring into the middle distance, smiled in the right places, and so far as I can tell, it was great.
And then we all sat down, breathed a massive sigh of relief, and enjoyed the rest of the conference (which was fascinating). And then did it all over again in the afternoon, where I felt more confident, things ran even more smoothly, and it started to feel natural. I think I could get the hang of this...
I chatted to a lot of people over the course of the day, either at lunch, or on one of the breaks, and lots of them were complimentary. Which I am choosing to _not_ put down to their politeness :-> I didn't chat to anyone for more than a few minutes because my adrenaline levels were so high that I got itchy after that point and was incapable of small talk. Social butterflying seemed to work ok though.
Afterwards we went for a drink in the local bar, where nice senior people bought me drinks, and then I caught the bus home after an hour, bumped into old-friend Hal at the bus stop (as he was off to badminton at my local sports centre) and chatted about our experiences of Indian development teams, picked up a kebab, came home, bought the newly released Nexus 5**, and then collapsed on the sofa with Julie.
I am looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow, when I get back to my day job...
*We have to wait _three weeks_ to get the results back. I'm tempted to break in and process the samples myself.
**Not due to arrive until the 11th of November. I wants my new phone
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.