Thursday, July 24, 2014

Be specific. Be very specific.

Engineers need specific instructions. Woe to the woman who deviates from said instructions.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to a homeschool group about my experience at the doctor’s office that led to me being on national television. I wrote out my speech so I could gather my thoughts, but knew I wouldn’t stand up there and read it – just wanted to make sure I had an idea of where I was heading. I prepared a few slides in PowerPoint to go along with my talk, and I put markers in the speech where the slide should appear. And I gave a copy of the speech to Sean, who lovingly agreed to be my PowerPoint guy. I carefully circled all the slide spots so he’d be able to find his cues easily. I thought I had done everything within my power to set him up for success.

Except I forgot he’s an engineer.

I began my talk and quickly got to Slide 1. I waited a few seconds for it to appear but nothing. And then I remembered I’d asked an engineer to be my PowerPoint guy and I knew instantly what was going on. He was waiting for me to say, word-for-word, what was on the paper preceding the, “Slide 1” mark on my paper.

As I stood up there in front of 50 people I barely knew, I cracked up.

Through my laughter, I read exactly what was written before “Slide 1” and then explained to the group what was going on. “My wonderful husband agreed to do the slides for me, but he is an engineer. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him I wasn’t planning to stand up here and read directly from the paper. Apparently he forgot that I’m not an engineer.”

Thankfully the group laughed with us and we carried on. The talk went well; I was able to convey some important thoughts about parental rights and our need to be more aware of where they’re being taken away, little by little. Plus, Sean and I had a good laugh all the way home about how we both process instructions (I realize that does not sound chuckle-worthy, but it was).

If I’m ever asked to do something like that again, I hope Sean would be willing to be my PowerPoint guy again. I’ll just have to figure out a better way to let him know when to change the slides… like saying, “New slide.” I think he’d appreciate that.