All entries for 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.


December 07, 2011

P4: Watching other people give presentations

I find myself drinking a /lot/ more water. Irrelevant, but it also looks like I go through most of the day dehydrated. The maths water cooler is pretty nice :)

Even one-on-one I stop paying attention to people while I’m speaking. Paying attention while they’re speaking is simple; while I’m speaking is harder. And now it’s time for the holidays so chances for observation go way down :|

Mostly watched presentations by some students/lecturers. Massive variation.
*Most of the presentations were really good. One poorer thing at higher level voluntary talks is that they start at a reasonable level and quickly ascend to the stratosphere.
*Writing a decent amount so your audience can take notes is friendly, but prone to wasting a lot of time by writing too much/using inefficient notation. Providing notes/slides/whatever is my preference as a viewer as it lets me focus on the presentation, with whatever slight embellishment may be present.
*However, if there’s no embellishment, providing notes just draws attention to that.
*If you’re giving a proof write little and explain lots. Don’t write down every step.

Watching people who are sitting down is far harder than watching people who are standing up.


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