All entries for Monday 26 December 2011

December 26, 2011

P4: Watching other people not give presentations

Remembering I’m supposed to be watching people is certainly harder outside of an academic environment :D. Mostly one-on-one, simple checks like “is X clueless/tired/bored/interested/disliking tangents?”

I can remember people are present (and pay attention to them!!) by being more spontaneous and less overprepared. However, this requires that I have an excellent knowledge of what I’m presenting, so it’s probably worth overpreparing anyway and then deviating from the script. This is still something to work on – “what I’m going to be talking about next” seems a much more important topic than “what are my audience thinking”, and I suppose it’s similar when I’m in the audience – “what is he saying right now” is less important than “I wonder if the converse of that theorem five minutes ago is true” or “I wonder if this can be applied to ” and then I go on a tangent by myself with the knowledge that I can just rush copying down the notes and look at them later, when I should really be tabling the problem, trying to grok the lecture material at the time, and doing the problem later, oh well!

On being calm: I find the most important thing is to really know the material, preferably to a much greater degree than you’re presenting. Ideally you’ll be presenting to an audience that knows nothing, so you don’t have to give any focus to the mistakes you make, and can just move on without disrupting the flow. See it as an opportunity to share your interests instead of a social ritual by which people will judge you (whether that is true or not)!

I suppose all I’m looking for here is confidence that I know the material better than the audience does – preferably a lot better.


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