The View From Here

Two hundred twenty-five people sitting in section 124 of the Schottenstein. This will be the hundredth time I give this presentation, the third in front of people. The other ninety-seven I was alone. I recited it out loud while I paced. I whispered it to myself while I did laundry. I ran through phrasing and timing in the shower. I worked on mental notes while I ran.

Stir Trek is taking a chance on me, I hope they don’t regret it. I take a deep breath.

My wife sent me a text about an hour ago. She’s proud of me. She tells me to take three deep breaths. It’s what we tell the kids when they are having a melt down. I take three deep breaths.

I have already learned a great deal today. The speakers lounge was both relaxing and helpful. Everyone there wants everyone there to succeed and you can hear it in the conversations. Being there helped. I met some of the organizers, they were great. They were funny. It took a little of the edge off.

Go

It’s time. Wake up the computer. Title slide. Doing okay. Nervous. Technical difficulties. The slide won’t change. Hit the button a few more times, slide 8. Back it up. Lose the new remote. I just bought that. I take three deep breaths and start over.

Title Slide. Introduction Slide. Presentation overview and start on the first major point. I made some changes to summarize each component of a point in a group instead of tying them together as I go. I hope it works out.

That wasn’t bad. I covered all the highlights. I’m starting to shake off the nerves. I am about a third of the way through this presentation. I feel like my preparation is paying off and the audience will get something out of it. Quick time check. 8 MINUTES! 8! I should be about 15 minutes in. 8 is not good.

I start the second major point thinking ‘Slow Down’. The thought passes a couple of minutes in. I’m back to the races but I’m more comfortable than I was either time giving this in the past. I’m calm enough to notice people and their facial expressions. I see some heavy eye lids. I realize I lost some content in that last minute change and some of it was funny. That humor would have helped. I shouldn’t make changes to the structure of the presentation the day of. It may seem better, but it’s not how I practiced it. Next time I’ll write the thought down and consider it later.

The third major point and the summary brings me in at just 30 minutes. I’m short of my goal by about 20 minutes. I didn’t want to take the full hour, but I wanted to take most of it. I think I clearly covered most of my points. But I know some of that wasn’t received well. The audience was not with me the entire time.

I Survived

I think my style is more slides. I want to push the button at the end of a thought. I can entertain with slides. I can be more effective if I’m not having people switch contexts between the slide changing and watching me. As an added bonus it will make changing the structure at the last minute prohibitively expensive in slide changes alone.

I learned some lessons. I’ll make some changes. It will be better next time.

I want to do it again.