Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Presenting

Without sounding all high and mighty and ‘he likes to talk about presenting’, I’ve noticed an interesting discomfort in sessions I’ve had a hand in facilitating. I cut my presenting teeth facilitating conversations at edcamps: start a conversation, give some context, then get out of the way and let the knowledge in the room surface and build ideas collaboratively. This is the type of conversation I like to be a part, in part because this is what my classroom looks like. If I spend more than two minutes at the beginning of the class period talking at my students, I have done some serious thinking and determined that this is the best use of our time together that day. This is where I am most comfortable, both in my classroom and when presenting/facilitating conversations with other educators.

This style works well, particularly for edcamps or other conferences where participants haven’t paid their hard-earned money to be at the conference: my expertise (or lack thereof) wasn’t paid for by anyone - I wasn’t chosen to present, so I can move to the side. I don’t feel the need to talk.

However, at conferences that people pay to be at, I feel like it is my duty to give attendees something tangible to make their time with me worth it. This means, for now, I talk more. More than I feel like I should. I always ask for feedback and generally my feeling isn’t borne out by the people I’m presenting to.

However, as I watch presenters I look up to, I know that this is an area that I need to improve in: talk less and let participants do more. I’m hopeful...