One of the things I love about doing presentations is how it is an opportunity to revisit old presentations and rework them, be it just stylistically (I cringe a bit, looking back at some of the early presentations I did. I did love those animated builds!) or in regards to content. To me it is a bit like hanging out with old friends: You have some history together, shared memories maybe or places you visited together?
Well that’s what this process feels like to me.
Some things that I remember as being really central to a topic at the time, today I view differently, with an emphasis in another area altogether. No sure why that is… I suppose that over time, due to experience you have gathered and processes you have worked through, your point of view maybe becomes more differentiated? Be that as it may, to me this illustrates how views evolve over time, it’s a bit like being in a dialogue with myself – with ten years in between.
The other thing that puzzles me deeply to this day is what exactly people take away from these events, a question I still struggle with. So for me, part of this renovation process is attempting to strip what I am trying to convey down to its’ bare essence, to get clear in my own mind what exactly I am trying to communicate – in order then to then build on top of that foundation. The other way round, if you are not clear what your core message is, it is going to get very confusing and messy for all concerned.
This is one of the reasons why I make very sure that I can back up statements I make in public… well, most of them at any rate.
There is nothing more hollow than the speaker quoting “the newest research”. This is all very well, but you have to be able to back that up and substantiate what research you mean and what results out of it…. and also in what way it is applicable to the discussion. When people say something like that I am cringe inwardly and am like oh no, don’t say it, don’t quote research – and then they go ahead and do so regardless.
Because, when all said and done, if your argument is waterproof, trust your argument to convince people and do not use endless graphs, pie charts or quote research to add to its credibility.
Do not get me wrong, I have been guilty of all of this. This is very much the wisdom of hindsight speaking here…
In the end, I end up stripping the presentations down to their bare bones – and then start adding bits back in again.
For the NZAA conference in Rotorua, for instance, I realized that the time slots are only 30 minutes, which is not very much. But then again, it does not really matter, as long you are clear what exactly the point is you are trying to get across, because you can do that in three minutes if need be – or just expand it to whatever time is allocated to the talk. We shall see…
If you want to see the result of all this deliberating, come along to the NZAA conference in Rotorua on the 16 and 17 October. Or some other place in due course… and probably by that time whatever I am presenting there will have changed again. 🙂
Lifelong learning and all that jazz in action!