When I’m in front of an audience I can see, I adapt my presentation style based on visual and verbal cues the audience gives me. An online seminar removes all of that useful feedback, and if I can’t tell how I’m doing, I lose the plot, and when that happens, it’s hard for me to pick it up again.
I felt like I was talking to myself in an empty room, which of course I was3. I wasn’t prepared for how this format would change my delivery. I was nervous, I didn’t feel engaged with the topic, and I certainly didn’t feel engaged with the audience, through no fault of their own. It just didn’t work, and being the perfectionist I am, I haven’t been able to let this go.
If I ever do another seminar in this format, I’ll do several things differently:
- Write a shorter script (my script was approximately 8 printed pages long, not including screenshots)
- Deliver the seminar to a live audience, solicit feedback, and leave enough time to incorporate any changes.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Stick to subjects I’m (very) familiar with
- Use fewer examples with greater detail
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the real lesson in all of this is I work better with a live audience, and I should just stick to what works…
- I hate this word with a white-hot intensity. I’ll use it only once in this entry. My apologies. ↩
- My dearly departed mentor Jeffrey Woodyard was instrumental in helping me develop an understanding of performative pedagogy when I was an undegraduate student. I call on his memory whenever I step behind a podium. ↩
- Unless you count my cat, and she wasn’t interested at all. ↩