This morning, I was excited to head to the Central Florida Media Roundtable. It’s an event that brings PR professional and media folks (like me!) together. The PR people get to find out secrets to pitching and to understand what kinds of stories we, the professionals, are looking for.
It was a great chance to help spread the word about our company’s show, Growing Bolder, now airing in 92 percent of the country. Woot!
I was already a little nervous about the event because I had some big high heels to fill. My friend and colleague (and social media superstar) Katy Widrick attended this event for us last year. Since she’s traipsing around our alma mater this weekend (Go ‘Cuse! So jealous), I was called in to pinch hit for her.
I got there bright and early and the nice folks showed me the way to my table. I even saw a friend!
Here’s how the event worked — all of us media people (which included traditional media organizations, magazines, websites and freelancers) were stationed at our own tables. Then, every 15 minutes or so, a group of 2-5 people would come sit with me and tell me about their organization (a lot of charities, PR companies, publicists, etc) and I would tell them about the types of stories we cover. It was like speed dating.
And, just like any other dating experience, it was filled with its own kind of awkward moments.
Have you ever had a nightmare where you show up at a event and no one wants to talk to you? Um, yeah, I now know how that feels. Check out the ONLY picture they tweeted today …
Yup, that’s me sitting ALL BY MYSELF (cue the Eric Carmen). While every other table started filling up, I just sat there. Thank God for smartphones … my Droid kept me company.
Finally a girl comes over and says, “I was running late and they told me to come over to the empty table by the wall.” Super.
After that rough start, though, things definitely picked up and I even met some super fans of our show, which was very cool. But those first few minutes were rough! I tend to be a pretty outgoing person so things like that are usually OK with me, but I certainly find myself shrinking a bit in crowds. This … did not help!
But I pulled up my big girl panties and enjoyed the rest of the morning.
And what better way to celebrate a morning like that than doing something that scares you? Tonight, my friends, I went swimming!
I’m not talking splashing around in the pool swimming. I’m talking putting on goggles and hitting the pool for laps swimming. I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly strong swimmer, but oy vey, did I get my ass kicked tonight.
As I was battling the pool, it suddenly occurred to me — I don’t think I’ve done freestyle swimming since high school. That’s 16 years ago (gulp).
It was, in a word, embarrassing. I found myself sucking in water, and then proceeding to choke. Also, for some reason, I seemed to be kicking a lot louder and splashier than the other swimmers. And did I mention I was sharing a lane with a man who couldn’t have been a day under 75? And, you guessed it, he was KICKING MY ASS. That actually doesn’t surprise me so much but I think it may have surprised him some.
After a couple laps, I mostly gave up on free and resorted to what I do best — breast (which is funny considering I barely have any of my own).
But I will press on and perhaps even harass Katy to give me a couple lessons since she’s hot on the heels of her huge finish in her Olympic Tri last weekend.
I bought a six-month pass to the pool (nothing like diving headfirst into something, huh?) so if for no other reason than the fact that I hate wasting money, I’m going to stick with it. Besides, there are water aerobics classes two nights a week. I hear that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.
Although the old biddies probably won’t let me sit at their table either.
What’s been your most awkward work or conference experience? And can you teach me how to swim?