A different perspective on presenting

I know how tough it can be to give a presentation/talk/speech/seminar etc. Even after having done quite a few over the years, I still get nervous beforehand, but have learned now that I can handle them and it will all be OK once I have started.

However, there are many people who never get there.  I know that I was terrified at my first conference presentation, but because I survived it intact and because I got good feedback, it gave me the courage(?) to go back and try again.

So anyway, I’m looking at my son the other day, who was getting all excited about his own presentation (he’s 9). The differences between his and mine? He’s a child and his presentation is called ‘Show and Tell’.

We all remember ‘Show and Tell’ at school. How we would get excited, particularly after Christmas, birthdays and holidays, at being able to tell our classmates all about the wonderful new thing we got from said occasion. We would extol its virtues and proudly show it off without fear of judgement or ridicule.

What happened to the excitement we used to have when presenting “Show and Tell”?

Are we more concerned about the opinions of our audience than we were then? Maybe, but if we got a bad review then, we shrugged it off and either dished it back to the bad reviewer when it was their turn, or came up with something even grander at next “Show and Tell”.

Are we less excited about the subject of our presentation than we were at “Show and Tell”? Could be, but if we aren’t excited, then why aren’t we? We do really great stuff in libraries and we get the chance to present on these things, because other people think they’re great too.

What else is there? Can we step back to our childhood and recapture that confidence and excitement we had for “Show and Tell” and bring them into our presentations today? Can you imagine if every presenter at a conference had that? It would make for an amazing conference – over the top maybe, but I imagine you wouldn’t be able to help but get excited about what they were presenting on.

So can we get past the adult blocks that stop us from presenting or presenting well? A little bit of childhood magic might just be the trick. I’ll have to try using that mindset next time I present – I’ll let you know what happens.





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    • Kim on August 26, 2011 at 11:36 am

    What a great perspective! I am terribly scared of public speaking and need to give a presentation to about 150 staff next month… I might use this perspective and try to get really excited about the topic I am preparing for and focus on that… love the idea!

  1. That’s wonderful Kim, you’ll have to let me know how you go. Thanks for the comment and good luck!

    • Emma on August 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Enthusiasm is infectious! When I started giving IL sessions I was chiefly concerned about giving students the ‘right’ information and appearing as professional as possible. Over time my perspective morphed, so that now I don’t think about how I come across: I just want participants to be able to develop a reflective awareness of their own information landscapes. And the great thing is that it’s self-sustaining: watching the lightbulb moments happen in class is enough to keep that enthusiasm fuelled : )

  2. That’s a great attitude to have. There is great satisfaction in knowing you have communicated correctly to your audience. It really picks you up, even in the middle of a presentation. Thanks for the comments.

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