I Am Awkward

It’s true. But so is the word awkward. This family photo probably takes the cake though:


Back to the point at hand… yesterday’s meeting did not go NEARLY as well as I was hoping.

To give a little back-story for newer readers, I’ve been working for Weight Watchers as a receptionist since March of this year. I’ve always wanted to be a Leader, but had to hit my goal weight and Lifetime before I could move forward with Leader training. I reached my goal weight in May 2011 and then became Lifetime on June 23, 2011.

After I hit Lifetime, I got the go-ahead to move forward with Leader training. I was assigned a Leader Coach, Sarah, and was sent to Basic Leader Skills in Chicago in October 2011. This was an intense three day training, and you can read about the experience here.

Yesterday marked the first time that I actually delivered a meeting, and it was rough.

I got REALLY awkward up front, and I think there were definitely a few things that contributed to it.

    1. It was not my meeting, so the members felt a little less comfortable with me than their normal leader, which in turn, made me uncomfortable.
    2. I was being observed by both my Leader Coach and my Territory Manager and they were taking notes on me the whole time, so that made me nervous.
    3. It was my first time giving a meeting, so that made me nervous.
    4. We were in a conference room, and I wasn’t familiar with the space at all.
    5. I was trying really hard to wait for people to talk (which is harder than it sounds!), so I came across as lower energy than I am naturally.
    6. I was hoping the members would talk more, so didn’t have enough questions in my arsenal for when I needed to dig deeper and encourage them to speak more.

That said, there were SOME positives of the meeting:

    1. As a Leader during At-Work meetings, you do both the weigh ins and deliver the meeting. I did a really good job with the weigh in portion since I’ve been doing that for so long and really came across as myself during it.
    2. I have pretty solid presentation skills, so I kept my voice up and did a good job listening and making eye contact with the members throughout the presentation.
    3. I had some good questions, and did a pretty good job with follow up questions some of the time, helping the members to have more to talk about.
    4. It came across that I really love Weight Watchers and know the program really well.
    5. I did a good job telling my story with Weight Watchers and my weight loss journey.
    6. My territory manager said “You are right where you should be” as feedback.

But, there were definitely a lot of negatives, as well:

    1. I was a lot more reserved than I am in normal situations, and this came across as being low-energy and not very enthusiastic. If you ever met me in person, it would surprise you to hear me described like that!
    2. I stayed in the SAME exact spot for the whole meeting, rather than moving around like I should have. This would have helped a lot with my energy/enthusiasm.
    3. I made a really awkward transition during the presentation from asking questions to giving awards for weight loss (it was literally out of nowhere and not smooth at all).
    4. I didn’t have a good sense of how long had passed, so was nervous that I was going over and then was shocked to see how little time had passed and got myself worked up over it.
    5. It was showing that I was pretty nervous during the presentation.
Overall, I think I’m probably being a little harder on myself than I should be. I am just ready to be a really good leader, and I’m not there yet and still have a lot of room for growth. This is probably to be expected as it was my first meeting ever, but still – I feel like I should be good at this naturally!

So, what happens next?

I am delivering another meeting next Tuesday morning, and I have to work on all the improvements and incorporate the feedback I got from this go-round. My territory manager will not be observing again, and I’m much more familiar with the space than I was with yesterday’s meeting, so I am hopeful that it will go a lot better! Depending on how the next one goes, I’ll either lead another meeting and be observed again, or else they’ll have me move forward with my own meetings.

And to be honest, I’m not really in that much of a rush. I want to be GOOD before they give me my own meeting, so I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and trying to take it slow. I have enough else going on this week, so I don’t want this to become a source of stress! Which, coincidentally enough, was actually the topping of this week’s meeting – Holiday Stress.

31 Comments on I Am Awkward

  1. Linda
    November 22, 2011 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

    I’m sure you did a lot better then you think, and if nothing else practice makes perfect.

  2. Jennifer
    November 22, 2011 at 9:03 am (9 years ago)

    I give you so much credit for pursuing this, Beth! Looking at your “negatives” those are all things that you’ll get more comfortable with, and I would guess fairly soon after you get another couple of meetings under your belt. That said, the fact that you come with really great presentation skills is fantastic, and I bet a lot of people struggle with that.

  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    November 22, 2011 at 9:13 am (9 years ago)

    I hate the cliche sound of it, but practice really does make perfect! You’re going to hit your stride and comfort zone in one of these meetings and it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out!

    And seriously- when is it not awesome that you’re getting great public speaking practice?

  4. Gwen
    November 22, 2011 at 9:34 am (9 years ago)

    Awkward is relatable! I wouldn’t appreciate a leader who was perfect, because I’m not, and I really like relating to my leader. You’ve got this girl! I know you’re going to keep improving. xo

  5. Katy Widrick
    November 22, 2011 at 9:44 am (9 years ago)

    Oh, honey…I’ve had similar things happen — I feel like I’m a good speaker, then I take the stage and freak out!

    I promise, the audience at WW meetings is used to this, and I’m sure they loved having you. Besides, this is built into the process — leading meetings is unlike anything else, so WW will be very patient. Your enthusiasm counts for so much!

  6. Buffy's Bites
    November 22, 2011 at 9:52 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats on your first meeting! I’m sure that it went better than you think it did. Sounds exciting!

    If I lived near you, I would totally have to come check it out!

  7. Lisa @ experiencelifewithme
    November 22, 2011 at 10:02 am (9 years ago)

    I love reading about your experience. I am just starting Leader training myself. I am doing my Meeting observations now, and will be going to BLS in Chicago on December 2-4. I have never been a great public speaker, so I am EXTREMELY nervous about the whole process, but I really want to do this, so I am hoping I get better with time. I wish I lived closer so I could get together and talk with you about the process!

  8. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    November 22, 2011 at 10:05 am (9 years ago)

    There will only be one first time and from there you can only improve upon the the things you didn’t care for. Consider videotaping Tuesday’s meeting so you can see firsthand the things you like and want to improve upon for future meetings. It could also be a useful tool to help others in your situation in the future so they can see your progress and be reassured that you all started out maybe a little less than perfect in your own eyes but look at you now!

  9. Penny
    November 22, 2011 at 10:31 am (9 years ago)

    LOVE that picture! You’re too cute!

  10. Sue
    November 22, 2011 at 10:43 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth,
    I went to WW@work meetings for a long time, so I have to say that’s probably the toughest place to have your first meeting! I say that because the membership seems to be more stable, and really no one likes change, right? I think a traditional meeting has new people come and other people leave more frequently so is more likely to be accepting to a new leader. So give yourself credit for what I think is surviving an advanced leader assignment.
    Good luck next week!

  11. Lauren
    November 22, 2011 at 10:57 am (9 years ago)

    I bet it was sort of inevitable that you’d feel awkward. I was at a WW meeting once and there was a girl who I suppose was giving her first meeting. I will preface this by saying our regular leader is really wonderful, and I think most members at that meeting think so. And I don’t think this girl usually goes to this meeting, as she didn’t look familiar. She was very awkward and not many people spoke. I felt kind of bad, but figured she’d get better with time. It must happen all the time when people give their first meeting. Esp when they have to follow a really great and seasoned leader.

    Good luck on your next one!

  12. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    November 22, 2011 at 11:34 am (9 years ago)

    We are our own worst critics, and you are probably being a little hard on yourself. No one is perfect the first time they try something- but there’s a reason for that. It makes us strive to get better and constantly work towards a goal!
    Now that you got the first meeting out of the way, you’ll feel more comfortable going into it next time! And pretty soon, it will be second-nature to you.
    Sounds like a great start, and it’s GREAT that you made a list of positives and negatives. I’m sure that your passion for the program really connected with people and made them feel more at ease and able to identify with you.

  13. Heather
    November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm (9 years ago)

    The first time at something new is always hard, so I’m sure you’ll kick butt next time when you can incorporate the feedback from the first meeting.

    Great job for getting out there and pursuing it though!

  14. Lauren
    November 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm (9 years ago)

    Honestly, I am so sure it wasn’t as bad as you imagined it was. I present ALL the time for my job and I always think I’m more awkward than I probably appear. Great job girl! 🙂

  15. Mary
    November 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ll bet you did better than you think, Beth. I tend to believe that we are all our own most difficult critics. Your message is such a fulfilling, positive one. The honesty in you will resonate with your fellow WW’ers.

    On another note – I always wished that there was the word ‘Drawkward’. I guess it could describe somebody who has difficulty drawing (hey, that’s me!). I thought it would be a cool palindrome. 🙂

    But I’m a little ‘drawkward’ that way…

  16. Jenn
    November 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm (9 years ago)

    I had to comment because, as a middle school English teacher who just finished her internship, feeling awkward in front of a crowd and constantly being observed is something I can totally relate to. My advice would be to focus on the strengths that you bring. Consider the “weaknesses” only in relation to the fact that they may get in the way of letting your strengths shine. Journaling really helped me be more present with myself in front of a crowd, to expand the personality that I was letting show. It helped me be more aware of the times when I was more present and the times when I was putting up a wall between me and the “audience” due to my discomfort – it helped me pay attention to the differences between these two experiences so that I could gradually stop putting the wall up. Having a mentor who could look at it from this perspective, the perspective that my strengths were what mattered, and we just had to work on bringing them out more, also made a huge difference.

  17. Liz
    November 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm (9 years ago)

    The more times you do it, the easier it will get. This reminds me of focus group moderating and how nervous I was the first few times. Now it is second nature and I don’t get scared at all. You’ll get there!

  18. Julia @ The Bosky Blog
    November 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm (9 years ago)

    Don’t dwell on it, I am sure you are being on hard on yourself…most of us are.

    I would be so happy to be in your meeting!

    Congrats on your first meeting!

  19. robin
    November 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm (9 years ago)

    You are being hard on yourself. This was your first meeting as a leader. Im sure you will find your footing and be an awesome leader. I look forward to hearing all about your future meetings, good luuk.

  20. robin
    November 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm (9 years ago)

    I mean LUCK

  21. Madeline - Greens and Jeans
    November 23, 2011 at 7:15 am (9 years ago)

    I give presentations for a living and while I think I’m pretty rocking right now, when I think back to my first few… ouch. So so so very awkward. BUT, as long as your passion and knowledge comes through, everyone there will still appreciate you and what you have to say! You’ll be killing it in no time

  22. Tami
    November 23, 2011 at 10:51 am (9 years ago)

    I am always my own worst critic. I am sure it wasn’t as bad as you think. You will become more comfortable every time you do it. You are a great inspiration for all of those WW members. With you as their leader, they will know how attainable their goals are and you will be there to support them the whole way.

  23. Monica
    November 23, 2011 at 11:51 am (9 years ago)

    I am sure you did fantastic! Those meetings would not be easy to lead and getting one under your belt may have been just the thing you needed to gauge where you want to take your leadership qualities. 🙂

  24. Michelle Discenza
    November 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm (9 years ago)

    Welcome to the world of teaching! Being observed is never easy.

    I am sure your weight loss alone was quite inspiring. Here is a teaching strategy you can try. Have members do a “turn and talk”. They just turn and talk to one person next to them instead of the whole group. It increases engagement and participation.

  25. Roz
    November 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm (9 years ago)

    HI Beth. We are always our own worst critic….and I bet you did MUCH better than you’re giving yourself credit for. And now that one meeting is behind you, you’ll flourish from here!!! (being observed is brutal, as is trying to get folks to participate. ) I would love to be a member at your meetings. You are such an inspiration and role model for those of us on W W and seem like such a fun and interesting woman – I think you’ll be a great leader! Take care! (and Happy Thanksgiving)

  26. Harold Tracy
    November 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm (9 years ago)

    You have strong introspection skills! They will serve you well as you continue this journey. Your doing great things!

  27. Mary (A Merry Life)
    November 24, 2011 at 1:17 am (9 years ago)

    I doubt you are awkward, but now I really want to meet you to find out. 😉

    Glad there were some positive aspects of the meeting. The rest is just stuff to work on and I’m sure you will work it out and become a great WW leader.

  28. Kathy
    November 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm (9 years ago)

    Beth, I can totally relate to what you wrote!! I just led my second WW meeting and my first meeting sounded a lot like yours. I am normally comfortable in front of people but I was soooooo nervous! My Territory Manager was there, too, and that made me more nervous too. She was great and very encouraging, but still it was hard. I didn’t move around a lot either (something I’d been told about already at BLS), and my members didn’t talk as much as I expected. It is all much harder than it looks!! Anyway, week two I felt much more relaxed and did a better job, but I don’t have the easiest time thinking of follow-up questions. Think that’s my greatest challenge. Have to add, too, that some of my trainers at BLS had just come from Chicago–which would have been your group!! I bet you’ll find at your second meeting you’ll feel a lot more comfortable! Good luck–I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes!

  29. Lindsay M
    November 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm (9 years ago)

    I was actually going to cancel my WW membership tomorrow due to a few things. But I see you are a leader are here …in the DC area… not sure if you are allowed to tell where? but I may just have to get back on the train!

  30. Jill
    November 29, 2011 at 9:55 am (9 years ago)

    Don’t be so hard on yourself!!


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