Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The opportunity for self-criticism

I have given dozens of presentations over the last several years, including internal presentations at our offices and at other locations within our corporation, external presentations to customers, and presentations to various third-party organizations.

August was a busier-than-usual presentation month for me, in which I gave an information technology presentation relative to our vertical market, as well as a product presentation for an internal audience. I'm slated to give an Unconference presentation at Oracle OpenWorld in September, and a customer presentation in October.

However, I am usually unable to watch myself present. The last time that I saw myself presenting was during a Dale Carnegie course that I took around 2001 or 2002.

Luckily, I had another opportunity to watch myself, inasmuch as last Thursday's presentation was recorded.

On Tuesday morning, I arrived back in the office and was able to find the recording of Thursday's presentation on our internal network and, for the first time in several years, I watched myself.

The experience wasn't as bad as I thought. I chose to publicly record my impressions on FriendFeed. As you can see, my presentation occurred after 3 hours of presentations had already taken place. However, I don't think I put anyone to sleep (someone did sleep during my 8:00 am Louisville presentation earlier in August). I've annotated as necessary.

3:06:57 - I'm up! At least I can be heard.

3:07:44 - I know they said business casual, but perhaps next time I should wear a long sleeve shirt.

3:09:02 - This was given in an auditorium and also broadcast. I looked toward the center of the auditorium and didn't really look at the camera.

3:09:46 - Not too many "ums" or "uhs."

3:11:11 - Got my Oracle mention in. Give me my check, Larry.

3:12:13 - My words did not exactly match the terms used on the slides. Problematic, since I couldn't use a pointer device to point at items on the slides. (Slide display on the presentation was not under my control; I only controlled slide presentation within the room.)

3:14:25 - Because of technology constraints, I also was unable to animate slides. Perhaps this is a good thing.

3:15:05 - Although not a monotone, my tone didn't vary all that much.

3:16:51 - Just confirmed that a particular slide DID display. My boss (who watched live) said he didn't see it.

just clicked the wrong button - reloading the presentation broadcast again. argh.

3:17:25 - The purpose of the aforementioned slide was for me to feature a hardware device I was holding. I could have shown the device a little better.

3:19:40 - My hand gestures are partially hidden by the podium at times.

3:20:36 - This slide uses yellow text on an olive background. I should have changed the colors.

3:21:27 - I said "documented savings" but didn't provide the savings or the documentation.

3:24:27 - Edited my verbal presentation because of time constraints. It worked well.

3:27:18 - I finished, less than one minute over my allotted time.

After watching the presentation, I gave myself a B. I got the message across somewhat, but perhaps could have done it a little more effectively.

However, I urge all of you to take advantage of any opportunity to watch yourself present. It can be valuable.

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