Just Another Meeting

“I’m not ready! I’m not ready!” Jane chanted the words like some sort of mantra as she desperately sorted through what notes she had before her on her desk. She would have to enter the meeting room where the presentation was going to be held long before she wanted to.  Her palms were sweating and her throat was dry.  She couldn’t afford to mess this one up.

“You are going to do fine.” Brian tried to encourage her, patting her gently on her shoulder. “You have done most of the prep work.”

“But my notes are a total mess!“  Jane despaired.  “There’s no order to them at all.”

“You’ve gone into meetings before with a lot less.” Brian pointed at the door to the meeting room in front of them. “This one is no different.”

“Yes, I can do it,” Jane said, taking a deep breath.  “It’s just another meeting.”

“That’s the spirit,” Brian replied. “Now, go get’em.”

“They’re ready for you,” the assistant said, sticking her head around the door.  Jane stood up confidently, feeling a little stupid in the slightly large white shirt she had reluctantly asked Mary to borrow.  At least this one was clean.

A group of executives from the corporate office were seated around a long table. Most of them had their heads down, examining documents in front of them. One was thumbing away on his cellphone. Jane was relieved that only two of them peered up at her when she crossed the threshold.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” Jane said nervously, her voice a little shaky as she addressed the room. “We are all pleased that you have arranged your schedules to come and listen to our findings.”

The executive who had been busy with his cellphone finished, looking up at Jane. The rest of the executives had been staring at her since she started speaking. She could feel the sweat on the back of her neck bead, a drop or two rolling down her back.

These people can smell fear, she said to herself.  Don’t show them that you’re afraid.

“I would like to open this meeting by showing you a slide of some interesting facts,” Jane said and paused, realizing she left her thumb drive at her desk. Her heart rate increased; she could feel the beating in her chest. She took a couple of deep breaths.

The End

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