The Roller Coaster of During and Post-Presentation Emotions: A Comedic Journey

You’ve just delivered that killer speech or one you thought could have been better. It was in your head at least when you were imagining it. You’ve now either left the audience in stitches and captivated by your every word or not, or maybe even both. Either way, what happens next is always the same. 

It turns out, the post-speech experience is a roller coaster of emotions that even the most seasoned speakers find themselves riding. Whether the speech was good or not as good as you had hoped.  And normally the hook that keeps rolling in your head post event is one or two words, sentences that you said in the presentation that will keep you up that night.

Let’s take a humorous dive into the wild world of post-speech feelings.

The Applause High:

The thunderous applause or applause of any kind is music to your ears. You bask in the glory of you did it! You made it through! Until you sit down and your pesky ego voice takes over to nit pick the highs and lows you felt when you were up there.

Next is The Small Talk Abyss:

Now comes the mingling part once the event ends or its intermission you navigate through the crowd, and suddenly you’re caught in a whirlwind of awkward small talk. People praise your speech (which is lovely),  but you are not sure if they are just being polite or they really mean it.  So you keep questioning a few things you said and that small part of the whole presentation takes over your brain.

“Did I Just Say That?” Panic:

As you replay the highlights of your speech, a sudden wave of panic hits you. Did you really make that joke about your husband? Or was that just a bizarre dream? The fear of unintentional awkwardness creeps in, and you pray that the audience didn’t take your husband comment too seriously.

The Self-Critical Loop:

Back in the safety of your own mind, the self-critical loop begins. You dissect every word, every pause, and every facial expression you made during the speech. Why did you choose that shirt? Was your tone too casual? Did you accidentally unleash a saucy joke? It’s a rabbit hole, and you’re falling deep.  

The Comfort Food Craving:

You’ve successfully navigated the post-speech social maze, and now all you want is a giant slice of pizza, a tub of ice cream, or some combination of the two. Comfort food becomes your post-speech therapy. Calories don’t count when you’ve just conquered the stage, right?  Personally I like to celebrate with a nice glass of cold white wine and wings.  I can literally tell you the best spots in airports across North America where to find the best wings.  If I fell I ‘crapped the bed’  then I just stick to wine.

The Social Media Scroll:

In the age of instant gratification, you whip out your phone to check social media. The fear of seeing a tagged video of your “husband comment” rises, but instead, you find a flood of positive comments and shared memes related to your speech. You’re not just a speaker; you’re a meme-worthy legend. Hurray! And/or… your voice kicks in again and berates you for not taking enough photos to PR the event and the client etc.  Another missed opportunity.  Because lord knows your colleagues seem to always get great photos of themselves, the audience, and the organizers.  

So there you have it – the roller coaster of emotions a speaker experiences post-speech. From the highs of applause to the lows of self-critique, it’s a journey filled with laughter, anxiety, and perhaps a bit too much comfort food. 

Embrace the quirks, relish the moments, and remember: even the best speakers have there “Did I just say that?” moments.  But to be serious,  always ask yourself:  What was the best part? And what would I do differently next time?

And move on my friend.  If speaking is the career you have chosen then you know that you have the opportunity to succeed and fail in public, every time you go to work.  Most folks get to do those things in private.

Here’s to your next great presentation.

Linda Edgecombe, CSP,  Hall of Fame Speaker