Monday, March 7, 2011

Awkward moment #9 - Don't hate, enunciate


I saw this guy in passing today who reminded me of someone I shared a very embarrassing moment with some years ago, hence the idea for this blog entry, which continues my awkward moments series. An awkard moment, or crawl-under-a-rock moment is a very weird, humiliating moment that makes you wish your parents had never met.

Back in 2005, I was a student in the Occupational Health & Safety Technology program at a local college. Being the teacher's pet that I always aspired to be, I volunteered to be an audio/visual aid for extra credit at a professional development conference at this fancy resort. Basically, I had to set up the laptop, projector, mic and audio system for the guest speakers I was assigned to during the conference.

The guy I saw today reminded me of the first of my guest speakers. I set up all the equipment and had everything working like magic. He spoke about stress in the workplace and how that can be a health and safety issue. He was an excellent speaker who had everyone's undivided attention and participation, especially during the fun experiments he conducted. At one point he had everyone blowing bubbles and singing songs. I was amazed.

At the end, while everyone was leaving, I was left alone with him to help him pack up his stuff. I told him, "YOU are a BORN speaker! Wow." And to my dismay, he responded rather awkwardly to my compliment. He replied with, "OK ... Well, thank you for your feedback. I will be sure to remember not to put anyone to sleep next time. I thought I did my best, and it seemed like they enjoyed it but I suppose opinions vary." Then he picked up his bag and speed-walked out the door leaving me confused.

I stood there dazed for a few minutes, wondering how a compliment could have offended someone. I went over it in my head a dozen times until I realized ... He thought I said "YOU are a BORING speaker. Wow." OMG!!! I started freaking out and dashed out into the hallway to see if I could find him to explain. I wondered if it was worth it or if he'd think I was insane, but I knew I wouldn't sleep that night if I didn't alleviate my inner horror at what I'd just done.

So I found him in another room prior to the start of another seminar, and I strolled up to him in ninja mode behind someone so he wouldn't have a chance to diss me before I was up his nostrils with my explanation. One minute he was talking to the new audio/visual aid, then BOOM!!!! I appeared right in his face from out of no where. Umm ... and he totally JUMPED. Ugh! Epic fail.

He gave me the WTF look and I immediately said, "Look I think you misunderstood me in the other room. I was complimenting you. I said you were a BORN, as in B-O-R-N, speaker. I thought you were amazing and by NO means boring! Sorry for the confusion. Sometimes I ramble and talk too fast and my words get minced" (kinda like my dumbass was doing at that moment again!).

He still didn't seem to accept my apologetic explanation and said "Oh, no problem ..." and then just turned away from me to fiddle with his brief case without another sound. I felt really stupid (all over again!) and turned around and walked out a lot less like a ninja, more like galloping out the door hoping to never see him again! But then I saw his look-alike today, so it reminded me of the burning sensation as my faced flushed from feeling like an idiot that day.

The immoral of the story - don't give compliments, don't volunteer for extra credit jobs ... don't even go to school. Just stay home and hide from society and blog.

Till the morrow!

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