Shannon Bennett, Student
In the introduction to the course Lecturing Skills Including Preparation, author Thomas MacEntee writes how he became the genealogy speaker he is today. Guess what? There was no magic formula, just a lot of hard work. I figured this was the case, but you know that I was secretly hoping there would be an inkling of a formula. Well, I will just have to keep reading and see if I can figure out my own personal formula to becoming a successful speaker.
The first two modules of this course led the students through creating a biography and resume to use for speaking engagements. We were also given the basics on how to write a lecture description, handout, and slides. Yes, it was a lot of information, but it is what will help lead us to becoming successful presenters. I even learned some tips that I had not thought of before, which I can use in the future for PowerPoint presentations.
Below is the sample outline we were given as a suggestion to organize our lecture descriptions.
While not all of this information may be needed for each lecture proposal, it is a great checklist to have on hand. In the end, I did modify it to make it my own and reflect my writing style. That is the great thing about a template. Of course, over time things may get tweaked again, but that is why you created it in the first place. If you do the template right you should need to only correct it a couple of times and afterwards, you should be able to use it for quite a while.
To my template, I added a header so that even if I have multiple pages my name will always be front and center. I also realized that I like to write in a narrative style more than a list style. In the future I think I will use the bold bullet points as section headers and the sub points as suggestions on what should go into those main points. That may prove impractical, but I like the flow better and prefer it to a series of bullet points.
This template looks like it will be a great way to organize thoughts, ideas, and proposals for future presentations as well. In addition I can see using it regularly for brainstorming sessions. Also, it is a great way to keep all of your information on one topic together. One way this could work would be by making this your main page or a table of contents for your proposals on your computer. Saving the file names for various sections to this main page so you know where your files are, and in some cases which devices they are stored.
I can also see how this could be your way of selling yourself and your presentation to a future selection committee for an organization you would like to speak to. You have to be clear and concise but still sound interesting. Your goal is to get selected and the committee’s goal is to attract conference attendance by offering great presentations. By the end of these two modules I can really see how fine a balancing act this could be.
Off to the next modules. See you online!