|University of Oxford - the last room I presented in|
Since then I've spoken at a number of other events; some that I have submitted a proposal to, others I've been invited to speak at. I'm by no means an expert, and I still get incredibly nervous, but I learn something new each time I present. Here's my top tips for speaking at events:
- Research the venue, room layout, technical facilities, and anticipated audience size to inform your presentation style and technique.
- Tailor your presentation for every new audience.
- Arrive early to ensure you can introduce yourself to the organisers and check the setup.
- Be respectful to the organisers and stick to your allotted time when presenting.
- If your timeslot is more than 15-20 minutes, make sure you schedule in some activities or discussion time to break it up for your audience.
- Save multiple copies of your presentation on multiple devices. At the last event I presented at, I presented from my iPad but I also had copies of my presentation on Slideshare, Dropbox, my email account, the organisers email account and a USB (.ppt, .pptx and .pdf versions) - maybe a little too excessive but as all librarians know LOCKSS (lots of copies keep stuff safe)!
- Embed your fonts if you are using PowerPoint (there's nothing worse than discovering the PC doesn't have the correct font and it has changed it which has affected the layout too).
- Give yourself time for networking if you can, particularly after your presentation as people may well have comments or questions.
I'm currently preparing my first international conference presentation at Internet Librarian International 2011, which I'm really looking forward to. I'm presenting a topic I haven't yet presented on (productivity tools for librarians) which should be good as it's something I'm really interested in - I love a good to-do list! It's not until the final day of the conference which is a bit of a shame (I tend to prefer to get it over with so I can relax and enjoy the rest of the event!), but hopefully I can keep my nerves at bay.
In my current job role I'm no longer directly involved in teaching, so I like to try to find ways to satisfy that side of me by speaking at professional events. I particularly enjoy group workshop type events, but I think I'm getting better at the large groups (though I find that a lot more difficult as you can't connect with people as easily). I'm definitely going to continue to present if I can and might include it in my upcoming review at work.