Preparing Presentations

Today and for the next few days I’m updating slide decks and practicing public speaking for two presentations I’m giving over Zoom next week. Normally, when I teach or give a talk, I take great care to hide all the paddling that goes on under the surface. This time I thought it might be interesting to share my process, either because you’re planning to give a talk and want ideas on how to prepare, or you’re just curious. 🙂

The first talk is eTextiles, which I’m presenting to the Whidbey Island Weaver’s Guild on Thursday morning. This is one of my favorite presentations; it’s a secret indulgence when a weaver’s guild lets me teach a workshop or present a seminar on the subject, since it’s only tangentially related to weaving, and yet the content is SO COOL!

Screenshot of Keynote Mac OS program showing the editing pane, where Syne is editing the eTextile slides.

This is a remix of a two-hour talk that I gave at ANWG up in British Columbia in 2019, in the good old days, when live seminars were still a thing. 🙂

The Whidbey Guild wants a one-hour presentation, which is fine. It’s always easier to cut material than to add. The shorter time frame works out well in this case because typically I play a series of video clips (of the etextiles moving and blinking, etc.) and then talk about them during the presentation. Over Zoom, I’ve found playing videos from YouTube or Vimeo problematic. My rural DSL just can’t handle downloading video and uploading it at the same time. Because this talk is shorter, I’m solving both problems by creating a PDF with all the links in the talk so the audience can watch the videos later as homework, and have a pretty nifty reference of articles and materials sources as well.

Note: If you were at my eTextile talk at ANWG in 2019 and want a copy of the PDF, reach out to me through the Contacts page on this site. I just remembered that I’d promised to send a PDF out to ya’ll and don’t think I ever did… I hope I’m wrong on that. Yikes!

The other thing I’m doing is going through each link to make sure it still works, and then re-reading the article or watching the video, pulling out tidbits to talk about and refreshing my memory. I’m also updating the deck with some new content from 2020, as the world of etextiles is always moving. 🙂

When the slide deck is updated, the PDF created, and my research and memory refreshing done, I’ll start practicing the talk. My goal is to go through the whole one-hour presentation at least twice before show time. This gives me the opportunity to check my speaking time, get the patter down, and work out any technical glitches with the slides.

When I converted over from live classes to Zoom, I did a lot of practicing with the new tools and format, which is how I know that YouTube videos over Zoom are risky, bandwidth-wise. A big thanks to my friends and to R.V. at the Seattle Weaver’s Guild for helping me test things. R.V. and I worked out a process with fail-back after fail-back, so essentially I could lose internet altogether and still give a high-quality talk on time. If you present over Zoom and would like my notes on that, reach out to me through the Contact page.

Writing this post has given me a new appreciation for how much work I put in to prepare for a seminar, even one where I’ve already done “all the work” of creating an original seminar: researching the topic (which can include years of hands-on experimentation), writing the content, and building the slide deck and other materials. I’m proud of me!

Well, that’s enough time for a break. Time to get another cup of barley tea and get back to it!

Please share your thoughts: I enjoy your comments and feedback!