Monday, May 06, 2013

Conditions for an excellent presentation

I rejoice in experiences of speaking in churches and synagogues far and near to small and larger gatherings of laity and clergy. It is exciting, honest, and dynamic work.

Now I want to speak to those who invite me. You want the best experience for all present: good pedagogy, good exchanges, and substantial discussion. I want to do everything I can to make that happen. May I say that the only way to ensure an excellent presentation and a great Q&A, is to provide technical support of the best quality? If you invite me to tell you what technology I need for my presentation, and you promise to provide it, and the IT support, please make sure you deliver in advance of the presentation. If necessary, stay to make sure it continues to work.

Here's my point. I need to be in the best possible frame of mind to provide you and those who have taken the time and trouble to come with the best possible event. I need to be alert and yet relaxed; calm and yet fully prepared. If I have to bring my laptop because I am anxious that yours won't be there, or if I arrive at the event well in advance of the starting time only to find that there is no IT person there and no IT equipment in sight, you will not get the best possible presentation. Because now my energy must go into locating the event organisor to find the IT person or equipment in enough time to start the event on schedule. And if equipment appears without IT support, I must now figure out how to make it work. Or, worst case scenario, how to deliver the presentation and engage participants using plan B, C or Z without technology.

I believe myself capable of connecting my laptop to a projector you provide. But I'd prefer not to have to do this right when I need to be concentrating on content and delivery of my presentation particularly if I want to meet any of the participants in the room before the presentation. For pedagogical reasons I'd prefer to focus on them and their interests in being there, not on technology.

Everyone will be happier and the event will be much better if you attend to these details.  

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