Present. Tense?

It can't be any worse than unruly teenagers surely?

Yeah, I got a biggie coming up.  A week on Tuesday I will be delivering my first live presentation.  It’s only going to be around 15 mins long, but it’s still kinda a big deal.  Up until now, the only presentations I have prepared have been for interviews or assignments on my course.  I have never really delivered a presentation for more than three people.  That said, I do have some experience of talking to an audience.  Although the kind of audience that I have dealt with in the past is a little…er…different to the kind of audience you get attending these kind of events.  Different in that they were teenage boys.  Yep, after completing my undergraduate degree I went on to train as a secondary school teacher.  I can barely believe it myself looking back.  I don’t regret the experience for a moment, although I may have said otherwise at the time.  One thing is for certain, if you can hold your own at the front of a class of 25-30 teenage boys, you can cope with almost anything that gets thrown at you (and there were a lot of things…ah, too obvious).

I know there is a lot of stuff out there advising on how to deliver a presentation, but I think a lot of it can be taken with a pinch of salt.  Many of the ‘rules’ are not really universal.  I’ve seen excellent presentations delivered with bullet-pointed slides.  I’ve seen terrible ones that are delivered in the ‘right way’.  The deciding factors in whether a presentation sinks or swims for me as an audience member?  Passion and enthusiasm.   Present with those in your armory and everything else is irrelevant.  Hey, there’s a way to put more pressure on myself beforehand.  Now I am going to be conscious of whether I am conveying enough passion and enthusiasm.  Way to go.  Let’s back out of this paragraph now before I start pontificating further on what makes a ‘good’ presentation and really shooting myself in the foot.  Pretend you didn’t read any of that, ok? Hey! HEY!  Don’t re-read it! Move along!  Next paragraph…

So anyway, I’ve just realised that I haven’t even explained what my presentation is about.  I guess that should really have been in the first paragraph.  What the hell, I’ll introduce it in paragraph four.

Just recently I’ve become involved in CPD25 – a  staff development and training organisation in association with the M25 consortium of academic libraries.  Shortly after attending my first meeting, I was asked if I would like to deliver a short presentation on Voices for the Library for an event.  Despite my determination to avoid any speaking engagements on behalf of the campaign, I accepted.  I thought it would be good to get the experience under my belt and ultimately it was one of the main reasons I asked to be involved in CPD25 – to challenge myself and push me into trying new things.  What better way to start than by delivering a presentation?  Although it is only going to be around 15 mins long (hardly a keynote speech), it is 15 mins more presentation experience than I have previously had.  Normally I leave the speaking engagements to others, I’m far more comfortable behind a keyboard than behind a lectern.  But who knows, maybe I might step out a few more times once I get this out of the way.  And then maybe I could write one of those ‘this is how you do a presentation’ type posts…

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