thoughts on a presentation

I recently delivered a presentation on the use of Wikipedia in the classroom at a conference. I’m not experienced in this, and do get nervous. I came to a couple of important conclusions (for me) at the last one.

1. The reason that people tend to cover similar topics again and again is because they develop expertise and experience on that topic, and each time you deliver the variation on a theme, it becomes easier. You begin to develop a feel for what questions people will ask (and prepare for them), can anticipate what will resonate with people, and can develop a sense of what might be new, and what might not be new. Now that I’ve discovered this trick, eventually I’ll have to figure out when it’s time to retire (or substantively re-write) a presentation. But later. I’ve got time.

2. Probably, since you’ve actually thought about your topic, done some research and organized your knowledge in a coherent flow, you know more than most of the audience. You can’t of course take this for granted, and some discussion questions are good to have in the back pocket for a knowledgeable audience.  When I presented on Wikipedia, however, two people came to me later and said that I’d helped them reconsider what they knew about it. So the presentation was effective for some; a success!

Those were my two big epiphanies; stay tuned for more.


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