This morning I gave my first presentation to the departmental postgraduate research seminar, and I think it’s fair to say it was a hit.
I did give myself a few challenges in the process. It’s reasonably common at these seminars for students to present a view of their current stage of work. I decided I wasn’t interested in presenting a general outline of my proposed research, so I took the current obsession in my literature review and created an interesting reflection on some really gnarly methodological issues and choices. I also decided to use Prezi, which I had seen but not used myself. Having seen some less well designed Prezis, I was alert to the potential for triggering motion sickness and this made me think carefully about how I was directing my presentation as well as the ideas themselves.
There’s usually a blazé point for me in preparing for most things, in that I’ve had enough and it’s too close to the performance to tinker with it much more. I reached that with this presentation yesterday afternoon, and so I was able to go and enjoy choir practice knowing that it was as ready as it was going to be.
To say it went well would be an understatement. I received overwhelmingly positive feedback and had some really useful ‘content’ conversations with faculty and fellow students afterwards. I also got the informal plaudits for the most engaging and innovative presentation. Importantly, the faculty meet after these seminars and discuss the student presentations. I have been informed by my primary supervisor that being talked about less is a Good Thing, and that the more time a student is discussed the more concerns there are about their progress. Apparently, my presentation got about two to five minutes discussion (which is really short). One of the faculty members in particular mentioned to me, to the faculty meeting and to my supervisor personally that I should seriously look into developing the presentation into a publication. The comments from faculty included appreciation for the sophistication of my argument, taking a historical look at one of my key terms and that my presentation overall was one of the most sophisticated and advanced seen in the department for someone at this stage in their research.
So, I am right pleased, and have a lot to be proud of. I’m also really happy to have this under my belt as something I can come back to when I’m in those moments of anxiety. I am ambitious. I want my research work to be Amazing and Important, Significant and Engaging. I have a flair for presentation and performance and I think I’ve given a taste of that today. I have much to refine as well, and that’s okay. I did go over time and there were a couple of points that I didn’t connect as well as they could have been, but these were small things and there’s got to be room for improvement.
So now I’ve set the bar just that bit higher, with a bit of good natured complaints from my office buddies. I’ve also turned a few people on to the Prezi potential, which I think is great because I am over Death by Powerpoint. I’m a face with a name around the wider department too, rather than someone just seen in the corridor, and my research is a bit more known too. It’s generating interest which is even better.
I must get around to designing a series of badges for this game!