How NOT to deliver an effective presentation

26 06 2012

I have this really annoying habit when I’m watching people present: I can’t stop myself from correcting the spelling and grammar mistakes in their presentations.  I am BY NO MEANS an expert presenter, but there are basic rules, surely, that we should adhere to if we want to deliver an effective presentation. 

These are some more of my personal bugbears gathered from all the conference presentations I’ve ever sat through:

  • Please don’t use clipart in your powerpoint!  It makes your presentation look outdated and child-like.  Use photos of what it is you’re talking about; it provides context and makes your talk a lot more meaningful to an audience.
  • It’s really annoying when you just read out what is written on the slide.  Especially if it’s a really long sentence.  I CAN read for myself.  And it’s turning into bullet point overkill.
  • If you use capital letters in your presentation it gives the impression THAT YOU’RE SHOUTING AT ME EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE NOT!
  • I know it’s nerve wracking to get up in front of people and speak, but you look like you’re being tortured in some way – please just smile at me and I’ll probably listen more closely to what youre saying.

Sorry if that makes me sound over-critical – it wasn’t intended to, and it’s a flaw in my character that I’m so anal about such things. 

What do you think?  Are there some presentation no-nos that get in the way of the message that the presenter is trying to deliver?  There are some good ideas from thewikiman in ‘Stop breaking the basic rules of presenting’.  Enjoy 🙂


Thing 8: Google calendar in the NHS isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

25 06 2012

We use Google Calendar to organise the staff rota and to schedule in meetings, events, training and appointments.  We’ve been using it for a few years (since 2008 I think), and to be honest if I was going to set up a shared calendar now I probably wouldn’t use it. 

This being the NHS we also have issues relating to Internet Explorer (IE) – we never have the latest version of IE and the full functionality of Google Calendar isn’t supported by IE7 which is what we’re currently using.  As NHS staff we have access to NHSmail which provides a calendar function that is arguably more secure and future-proofed.  I also have some concerns about putting staff locations, days off, personal appointment data online and the potential security implications.

So, you can gather that I’m not a big fan!  But what Thing 8 gets me excited about is the other uses for an online calendar – scheduling alerts for journal subscriptions, creating reminders for users to return books and advertising library events to the public.  These are things that I’ve never considered doing but I can really see the value of. 

I wonder if anyone who is an uber-fab of Google Calendar can encourage me to see more of its good points?!

Thing 7: real-life networks and non-library conferences

22 06 2012

I’m a CILIP member and really only because I feel like I ought to be (and because I need to be to do my Chartership).  I don’t really feel like I get value from the money I pay for my membership.  I’d like to see more training available away from London and also for that training to be a lot less expensive!  That’ said, I have attended a CILIP NW Branch Day and found it to be a good learning experience, but it’s rare that I can justify going to training and events that aren’t considered essential for my role.

Other real-life networks that I’m involved in tend to be specific to health libraries; I’m an active member of our regional libraries groups and always enjoy the sharing of ideas and networking that comes with these real life meetings.  I do find us librarians to be an interesting and friendly bunch of people.

I do love going to library conferences.  I never used to; I’d always feel shy and inadequate, but now I feel like actually I do have something interesting to talk to people about (I’m also quite nosy and like stealing ideas gathering inspiration from others!).  Going to non-library conferences is another matter.  I’ve been to a few medical conferences and they are completely different – less sharing and more competition!  I’ve been invited to speak at a medical conference in New Delhi, India – the details are still to be arranged but it could be the ultimate test of my real life networking skills, erk!

Thing 6: online networking

22 06 2012

I had misconceptions about Twitter; I thought it was just normal people (plus a few celebs thrown in for good measure) tweeting about what they had for breakfast.  It turns out while that is the case, there’s also a lot more going on that I hadn’t considered.  I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of weeks now and am using it mainly in a professional capacity – to follow fellow LIS professionals, listen to ideas, opinions and the latest developments in library land.  It’s a bit cheesy to say this, but it really does make me feel more involved and ‘part of’ the profession.  If it wasn’t for Twitter I’d never have found out about some of the amazing jobs that are out there for LIS professionals – Tropical Librarian, anyone?  I’ve also taken part in a live Twitter ‘Chartership chat’ with other people working towards Chartership. 

Facebook I use a lot for personal communcation, although I do have some library stuff and librarian friends on there.  LinkedIn I need to organise, but I’ve heard some people say (on Twitter!!) that they don’t find their LinkedIn profile very useful for online networking?  I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has found it useful and how they are using it to engage with online networks.

The LIS New Professionals Network seems like a group of really active and forward-thinking people, so I’ll check that out at home (NHS firewall blocks it!). 

I’ve really started to understand the value of online networks and feel that anyone not using them is really missing out!

Thing 5: Living a reflective life

8 06 2012

I’ve been working towards Chartership for the past two years so I feel like I’ve been in a reflective haze for most of that time.  At first I found that I had to force myself to reflect and that the “What? So what? Now what?”  mantra was necessary to stop me from digressing.  Further down the line it does come more naturally to me, but I do think I still have to work at being a reflective practitioner – it’s so easy for work / family / real life to take over.  I found that writing my reflective learning log (via PBWorks) makes me take a necessary pause for breath.  Often I think, “Right, I’ve got 10 minutes so I’ll just write a quick log entry”, then I find that 2 hours later I’m still typing!  It’s a bit like professional therapy for me.

One unnerving side effect that I have noticed is how wearing a reflective hat can overflow into my personal life; I’ll sometimes find myself likening children’s TV shows to professional development (I watch a lot of CBeebies – well, my son does).  Does anyone else find this?  Once you’ve activated the reflective switch it’s hard to turn it off!

Thing 4: becoming a Twit

6 06 2012

I know everyone has a smart phone these days.  Don’t they?  Well, I didn’t until 3 days ago when I became the proud owner of my husband’s cast off old iPhone.  After 3 days of constant use of my new gadget, I’m converted.  I’m also fairly sure that not having a smart phone has been what has been holding me back from online networking all this time. 

Thing 4 is Current Awareness (Twitter, RSS and Storify).  Has it occurred to anyone else that Current Awareness might be discriminatory against people who don’t have smart phones?  Do people really use Twitter via a PC or laptop?  Anyway, I can now proudly announce that I have joined Twitter and I am now a Twit 🙂  I’m following 20 or so library related people / groups and a couple of celebrities too #guiltypleasures.  I can see how it may become addictive.  So that’s what people are doing when I see them engrossed in their smart phones on the bus!  I can join in now! 

I already use RSS feeds a lot for work (for creating current awareness bulletins for our users) and I find it’s a really good way of keeping up to date myself too.  Storify looks fabulous, I’d love to use it and am wracking my brains to think of ways in which I might employ it.  I think I may need to get more firmly embedded in the social networking world first.