Saturday, January 6, 2007

day 3, part 1: openings and closings

i was extra tired this morning and felt a little out of sorts, and with my marathon coming up i opted for oj at breakfast.

today primarily about presenting. first, were some basics such as the role of the presenter, what the general public's perceptions of global warming are, and some solutions. and then we had an immensely helpful section on presentation skills and practicing the actual presentation.

the speaker, andy goodman is a former comedy writer, and the author of a book called "when bad presentations happen to good causes." he is a great teacher and presenter himself - i always enjoy a presenter who can make good use of comedy. we went through presentation skills 101, covering both what you should (maintain eye contact but not like a crazy person) and should not (do NOT read off the slides) and then got to the presentation itself.

we were sitting in our geographically defined groups, at tables of eight to ten, and our first task was the opening. writing an opening for a presentation of this magnitude is no easy task, but we broke it down into three parts: who are we (to the audience), why do we care about global warming, and what is the presentation going to cover. we had three minutes to write our responses, and then one by one we went around and presented to our table-mates.

it's been a long time since i've written with the intent to actually speak the words i was writing. the last time may have been college. (i do not count work-related-powerpoints as that is, in most cases, not very intensive.) when all was said and done, i was relatively happy with my opening. oh! i forgot to mention - seated next to me was ted roosevelt the fourth. kind of crazy, huh?

my opening was well received by my group, which i was happy about. as we went around the table, it became clear that even with the breadth of ages and backgrounds, the group that had been assembled for this training was a really strong one. i never really liked group assignments in school, and public speaking is a really difficult thing, even in small groups, but we had a really strong table. and it wasn't just us.

after openings, we were on to the closings. i had thought the opening was hard, but it really was nothing compared to the close. you have your summary, the q&a and the prepared close. we were focusing on the third. it is here that you need to ask & inspire your audience to actually do something. yikes. how do you know if what you write is going to resonate with people, that its even going to sound okay once it's off the paper?

as with the openings, everyone was very good and by the time it was my turn, my heart was racing. what i had prepared was a very very strong call to action, and i wasn't sure if it was too strong. i'm not going to tell you the content, in the event that i present and you actually come and see me, but at the end, i was very proud. while it was not close to polished yet, it has the beginnings of what i hope is a very powerful and compelling call-to-action.

and when i was done, my table had nothing but good things to say. and of course the best compliment of the bunch was "i got goosebumps."

i was a happy girl.

that's all i can manage for tonight...last segment tomorrow, but it could be late.



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