Rodney M Bliss

How To Reduce Pre-performance Jitters

I stared at the alarm clock. It was nearly midnight local time and I wasn’t even sure how many time zones I was away from my normal Pacific Time Zone. Outside, the sound of busses and sirens confirmed that Athens was also a city that didn’t sleep, at least not before midnight.

But, it wasn’t the traffic sounds that were keeping me up. If anything, they were a reassuring reminder of home. I had the pre-performance jitters. Tomorrow, I had to face a room full of Greeks and teach the latest Microsoft course that I’d created. The fact that the course would be taught in English was small consolation. I turned off the light and stared at the red digital numbers as they ticked over to 12:01.

It’s been years since I was a trainer. Today, I’m a project manager. Our big project is kicking off at work this week. It involves training several hundred phone agents. Today was the first day of training. Training started at 6:00am.

We had the normal first day hiccups. Our instructors are brilliant. It’s a good thing too. The course is four weeks long and there are 30 people in each classroom.

I was in the classroom today to observe, and to help shadow our customer who was there to watch the first batch of agents go through training.

During one of the breaks I approached Alyssa, one of our trainers.

So, how’s it going?

Good. Just the usual login issues. Typical of the first day.

What time did you get here?

About 5:30, but I kept waking up every 15 minutes last night. “It’s time to go to class!” Finally, at 3:00 I just stayed up. I get the pre-performance jitters.

Yeah, me too. I miss the chance to get up in front of a class and “facilitate” a course. That’s what our trainers are doing. The course is a lot of self study, videos and text. But, I still miss it.

I don’t miss the pre-performance jitters though. Back in that hotel room in Athens, I finally decided the only way I was going to get any sleep was to open up the text and make sure I was familiar enough with the content.

I hauled out my teacher manual and opened to lesson 1.

It worked. My jitters immediately went away. I remembered. . .Oh yeah, I wrote this.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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