The presentation I gave was about how social networking could be used as a means to support staff in the workplace, which will hopefully have a flow-on effect in terms of improving recruitment and retention.
How it went
I have to say I was extremely nervous when I stepped up on the stage because it was the biggest audience I have ever talked to (160 people). Following the last conference presentation I gave, I made sure that I had practiced thoroughly beforehand, but that did not stop me feeling like I had dried up, and forgetting half the things I wanted to say. I had notes with me, but forgot to look at them to remind myself what I was going to say. At the same time, I think it is really important not to rely on notes because that makes it so much harder to connect with the audience, as well as very boring for the audience to listen to.
Inadvertently, I made the audience laugh half way through the talk and that helped me relax, and then I felt things went much better. I do deliberately try to crack a few jokes right at the beginning of a talk as a strategy for warming the audience and calming my nerves, but I was too nervous to even do that this time. So I am extremely grateful for the audience's sense of humor which I feel rescued me - what made them laugh was a comment I made about the high cost of Internet access in the hotel.
I think it went alright. I didn't have any questions from the audience, which always worries me - I like questions because it means that the audience is thinking about what you say. Does a lack of questions after a presentation mean that the audience didn't like what you said, or does it mean that they are still mulling things over?
Having said that, I'm probably being much too hard on myself. I did have half a dozen people talk to me after wards and they were very complementary, with several people saying I had a very nice presentation style. They were mostly interested in the actual tools I talked about so now I am wondering if I should have spent more time talking about the tools and demonstrating them, as opposed to the more theoretical aspects of social networking.
Needless to say, it was a wonderful (if nerve racking) experience which will only help me consolidate my presentation skills. So a big 'thank you' to Aged Care Queensland for their invitation and sponsorship of my trip.
Web 2.0 & social networking for supporting practice