Friday, 29 March 2013

On public speaking and going a bit off track

I enjoy public speaking.

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to students on the Search and Social Media Marketing course at Salford University, discussing advertising through social media. They were a great class and Media City is a lovely place to spend some time. A good start to the Easter weekend.

On the way home, I was replaying bits of the presentation in my head; the parts that went well and the sections that could have been better. On more than one occasion, I left my slides to expand on a point or answer a question during the presentation. I couldn’t decide if this was a good or bad thing.

I’ve sat through hundreds of presentations, but I can remember just a handful of them. The most interesting ones, the ones that added the most value, all had something in common. At some point during the speech, the speaker went off the PowerPoint rails and just started talking.

I’ve occasionally spoken at Tales of Whatever and my decision to practise my stories beforehand raises a few eyebrows. But, I don’t learn it all word for word; I remember the key points and flesh out the rest of the story on stage. Sometimes this means I talk about interesting things I didn’t really plan on discussing. I think the same can be said for presentations.

Presentations should add value; they should be structured, informative and answer questions. But I think you might get the most out of them when they go a little bit off track.

Additionally, I said I’d include an example of Storify for the students on the course. Various tweets from the talk are below:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Finding a home for podcasts

I've never been able to find a home for podcasts.

I think the medium is the issue. At home, I listen to the radio or Spotify; noise to fill up the flat as I work or read. Trouble is, I want podcasts to add value, rather than just serve as background noise. I want to be an active listener, as opposed to keeping half an ear out while my attention roams elsewhere.

Recently (yesterday), I've been giving some thought into how I can start getting the most out of podcasts without it eating into the desk time I'd reserve for writing or Minecraft. I think there's a space for them somewhere,a civil partnership to be made with some other routine, although I've yet to find it.

Some ideas I discounted fairly quickly:
  • Running - Unless the presenter has a 150bmp speaking style, I don't imagine it being very conducive to a good lap time.
  • Morning commute - Potentially, although my commute is ten minutes on foot and if my caffeine intake is a bit logy, I think it'll be a waste of an exercise. 
  • In the kitchen - If anyone could do a podcast that comfortably fills the six minutes before the microwave pings, I'd been all ears.
  • Asleep - Knowledge via 100 per cent cotton osmosis.
To be workshopped (verb, probably).