I was recently offered the opportunity to “take the floor” at the latest NLPN networking and CPD event.
As well as 3 really useful sessions from info pros (which you can read about in this write up by Emma Dent), the NLPN team scheduled in some time for 3 short 10 minute presentations. This is designed to give someone the opportunity to present on a topic of their choice to a friendly, informal audience.
The criteria outlined by NLPN was:
- Are you passionate and knowledgeable about an aspect of Library and Information work that would be of interest to early career professionals?
- Do you have experience of working on a project that has enhanced your insight or practical abilities that would be of value to new professionals?
- Do you have practical tips to impart about how you have developed your skills or expertise?
- Have you contributed to or been part of innovative service development in your workplace?
- Do you have practical advice to offer from your career trajectory to date?
Since completing my dissertation, I have been on the lookout for opportunities to practice my public speaking and to share my research. I felt I matched all of the criteria; I am certainly knowledgeable after working on the project for almost a year. My topic is a perpetual problem in the sector, highlighted by my research, and by conversations with colleagues, therefore I figured people would probably be interested. As this opportunity was only 10 minutes, I had to apply. 10 minutes isn’t all that scary, amiright?
These are the slides that I initially sent to NLPN. I was so pleased when they emailed me to tell me they would like me to present. The one piece of feedback they offered was to trim down the content and I agree, there is way too much text. But the slides in their original form are probably best to link to online as I am not there to provide the context.
After delivering one 10 minute talk, I am in no way an oration oracle but I would like to share my experience as they may be helpful to others who are preparing to deliver a talk or a presentation.
I really enjoyed my talk. People seemed to be very interested and I received a lot of questions*. Answering people’s questions and discussing my topic was my favourite part. I felt we could have discussed the issue for a lot longer.
As a kind of safety net, I usually have reams of paper when I talk as they make me feel more prepared. I usually never look at them. In fact, it can cause me to lose my trail of thought completely. No one likes to watch someone awkwardly fumble with sheets of paper. I am starting to have more confidence in myself and my knowledge to go to my talks without a novel of notes.
For this talk, I prepared just two little cue cards with key points that I did not want to leave out and this was really helpful for me. Postcards are the perfect size and these ones looked good on the floor too.
I am aware I have a tendency to talk very fast but I think because I practiced and timed myself, on this occasion I did okay. I found it really useful to run through the talk several times and to time myself on my phone. I actually set up my timer on the day so that I would not over or under run on my timing. I also practiced in front of a colleague and my partner to ask for their feedback which they gave and I acted upon before the talk.
Top 3 tips for preparing for a talk or a presentation of any kind:
- Practice, practice, practice! So you know fully in your mind what you are talking about. This will allow you to confidently communicate your topic with the audience. Confidence is key – even if you have to fake it!
- Time yourself. Timing is very important – don’t rush through it but don’t blab on forever. Put your phone on silent and use the timer or get a stop watch and keep an eye on it.
- Enjoy it! How often to do get to have people’s (hopefully) undivided attention? It’s your chance to talk about your area of expertise, your experiences, or your work. You have something worth saying and by sharing this knowledge with people, you are doing something good. So enjoy 😀
I would like to thank the NLPN team and the sponsors for putting on these fantastic FREE events. They really are so useful to me as a new professional. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to share my work with others and to develop my skills further in a safe, friendly environment. The willingness of info pros to share their skills, their research and their time is why the profession is so fabulous!
*One of the questions was along these lines – “What’s next? Had I shared my research with my team? Have we seen an improvement in behaviour?” At the time my answer was “I haven’t done anything yet”. But I had my reasons. I was waiting to receive my dissertation mark and I wanted to devise a plan of action.
We are going to be making some big changes in the Library over the next few months and I will be sharing snippets of my research and my experiences leading this change.
So if behaviour management in libraries is your thing, stay tuned!