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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Six Days to my NEARC Edu Presentation

I'm writing this post because I see too many tweets the few days before a GIS conference that say the same thing:
I'm writing my presentation now!
It's six days before I speak at this year's New England Arc User Group (NEARC) Educators Day up in Maine. So, what am I doing? I'm fine tuning the presentation to make sure I have enough time for the parts the attendees will do and figuring out how to document what they synthesize. The PowerPoint slides for my 30 minutes (about 22 minutes for the "presentation" and eight for discussion) are done. There are ten slides; several are blank. The key points have been nailed down for about two weeks.

Curious about my timeline for submitting and creating this brand new presentation? It's pretty much the same timing as for any presentation I do.

  • June - Submit abstract
  • August - Paper acceptance
  • Oct 1 (week of) - Draft Outline based on abstract
  • Oct 8 (week of) - Draft Slides
  • Oct 15 - Nov 3 - Practice actually giving the presentation in my office, to myself, find things that don't work like terms or examples, toss out examples, find better ones, begin using a watch to make sure timing is right, determine and integrate attendee participation (These tasks get two weeks because I ran, and then had to recover from, a 50 mile race during those weeks. For those interested: 44 minute PR at Tussey Mountain!)
  • Nov 4 (week of) - Tweak timing, set up short URL to links, review conference logistics
  • Nov 10 - Final rundown in my hotel room - presenting to the mirror.
  • Nov 11 - Conference Day!
Why take all this time for a 30 minute presentation at at tiny conference in Camden, ME? 

First off, I run a one person consulting firm. I am the product. This is one way I market my company. 

Second, I'm looking for a teaching job. I need show that I'm a good, engaging teacher - even (perhaps especially?) to other educators! This presentation is a kind of audition. 

Finally, presentations at smaller events like these have turned into keynotes at larger events, giving me more opportunities to show my "product" and make new contacts.

I'm not sure I can motivate presenters to take all the time I do in preparation for such events. However, if they can start even a bit earlier than a few days before the event, I'm confident conferences will be incrementally more valuable to those on both sides of the podium.