NLPN: Voted by you: Amy takes the floor

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.

So… voila!

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.

amy pres.PNG

Oh hey

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.

cue 2

The cutest of cue cards

cue

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Advertisements

Thing 12: Attending Conferences

CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ 21st March 2015.

As someone who has only been involved in the library profession since the commencement of my graduate traineeship in December 2014 it seemed that the CILIP and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event in Sheffield would be a useful event to attend. I cannot actually remember how I found out about it, although I am pretty sure it was through CILIP or NLPN or most likely, Twitter. I am not sure if this counts as a conference but it involved meeting people and listening to presentations so I am going to count it as one.

I was encouraged as a graduate trainee to attend networking events and professional development events and this was a free CILIP event. I was able to attend the event on work time which I was very appreciative of. They also paid for my train tickets to go down to London to the BIALL, CLSIG & SLA Europe Graduate Open Day which was a free event aimed at new professionals, graduate trainees, early career librarians and students, so I have been really lucky in that I haven’t had to pursuade anyone to let me go.

The “Get Career Ready” event was the first conference I have attended since starting my work in libraries and it was a fantastic one to start with. It was a little bit daunting for me to enter a room full of library professionals and library school students (and prospective ones). I had a preconceived idea that everyone would be a lot more experienced and I would not have anything overly useful to add to the group discussions and activities. I was of course wrong as I felt comfortable engaging with the activities and networking with the group who were all very friendly.

I used the good old traditional pen and paper method of taking notes and I think I prefer it that way. I like to keep paper copies of my notes in files so I can go back to them at a later date. I can better express my opinions and ideas on paper than when I am typing notes so it’s more useful when I come to reflect on them at a later date.

People talked honestly about their experiences and their insecurities and this helped me to realise that I am not alone in mine. There were four presentations that were all very different and interesting. One speaker talked about her experiences and concerns about moving from public sector libraries to academic libraries. This made me realise that even super qualified and experienced people still have moments where they second guess themselves. You just need to be confident in your own abilities.

Other speakers talked about their first professional positions. Listening to the five talented speakers and talking to several others during the speed networking hour, opened my eyes to the variety of work available to library professionals. But the main thing I took away from the experience was that there are many support networks and networking events out there. People within the world of libraries are encouraging and supportive and are always happy to help.

I am attending the upcoming LISDIS conference which is a new conference where recent graduates can talk about the research they completed as part of their dissertations. I think it is a fantastic idea because so much time and effort goes into them and then they just end up on a shelf, unloved and gathering dust. I know my undergraduate dissertation is living in a box under my bed. I am hoping to get some dissertation tips and advice as I will be doing my own MA dissertation next year, so if I can get a leg up and find some inspiration that will be an added bonus on top of finding out about brand new research. From the events I’ve attended I will probably try and take better notes and try not to worry about meeting new people. I do find it difficult sometimes to just start conversations with people, but once we’ve said hello, it is usually all OK. I think meeting new people is something that will always create a tiny bit of anxiety but everyone is lovely and I’ve had no problems so far.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.