The Woman in Chair #2
I recently attended an event at the Lucky Lab, one of my favorite local bars in Portland, OR. I was there to watch a client that I'm coaching. She was among a group of about ten engineers and architects who were doing PechaKucha (basically presentations of 20 slides @ 20 seconds each).
The first 5 speakers were seated stage right. As the first speaker began, I noticed a well dressed woman seated in chair #2. She was the next presenter. As she waited for her turn to take the stage, she tore at her finger nails one by one. She squirmed in her seat and swung her legs beneath it. She was crazy nervous.
When the first speaker finished, the woman in chair #2 jumped up. She grabbed the mic and began to speak rapid fire style. She talked so fast that no one could understand her. I didn't time her, but would guess she was covering about 300 words a minute -- double the average speaking rate.
I wanted to seek her out after the event to help in some way. Unfortunately she slipped out the door and headed to the bar. My advice would have been pretty simple. Like the song says, breathe ... just breathe.