Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1st Time Webinar Presenter

Digital Preservation Workshop, November 2013.
Today I had the new experience of presenting a webinar or online workshop. I have listened to many webinars as part of my job, but this was the first time I was a speaker for one. My subject was identifying digital content for preservation purposes through conducting a collection inventory. I was part of a team of four librarians who taught Identify and Select, the first two modules in the Library of Congress' DPOE curriculum.

Some of you may remember that I wrote last summer about receiving training on digital preservation through a sponsored program for Illinois librarians. In November, I presented an in-person workshop with one of the other trained librarians at her academic library which was open to the general public. That workshop was a basic introduction to the whole digital preservation process six stages (as pictured on the poster above). Today was a more in-depth look at the first two stages and geared towards library professionals.

I enjoyed organizing the ideas we wanted to convey and helping create the slide presentation. I wanted to be accurate and true to what I learned from the Library of Congress so I wrote a script for what I would say. To prepare, I tested my audio connection a week in advance. Everything was coming together. I felt confident going into the presentation. It may have helped that it was audio and slides only with no web cam views. I could have been in my pajamas for all anyone knew. But rest assured, I wasn't.

So what was it like being on the other side of the microphone? It was kind of strange to be speaking in an empty room and not knowing how my listeners were taking in what was said. I'm used to looking at people, reading their body language, and adjusting my talk as needed. All I knew today was the number of people attending - around 50. 

We did have a chat box available for listeners' comments and questions. While I was speaking someone wrote in they couldn't hear me well and asked could I boost the volume. I stopped what I was saying and did that by turning my mic up to the max and moving the mic part of the headset closer to my mouth. I also tried to project my voice more. That seemed to do the trick because someone typed in "much better". I was so relieved.

Other than that incident, I only made a couple of flubs. I was the workshop's first speaker and I started really getting into what I was saying when I noticed I hadn't advanced past my opening slide. Oops. Fortunately I was still on the script for slide two so it wasn't too bad.

Another thing I noticed was that when I had practiced reading aloud my script, I had been good at speaking slowly, but when it was time to present for real, I found myself talking much faster. Pacing yourself probably comes with practice. I had a little jokey comment I wanted to say and had even made myself a note to laugh after it, but when it came time to say it, I didn't really pull it off. Again, it's hard to talk just to your computer and not know the expressions on your audience's faces. Of course, not everyone's a born comedian.

Before I knew it, my part of the presentation was over. When I was done, I simply muted my microphone and the next speaker took it from there. We only received one question at the end of our presentation and it was directed to someone else. I got off easy there. But my co-presenter was nice enough to allow me to weigh in on the answer as well. Afterwards, the sponsor for the workshop told me she didn't have any trouble hearing me and that the audio problem was probably due to the equipment of the person who complained. That made me feel much better. All in all, it was a very good experience. 

I don't think most of you have a strong interest in digital preservation for librarians. But if anyone reading this is interested and would like to watch the recorded presentation, please contact me by email and I will send you the link when it becomes available.

1 comment:

Liz Fisher said...

Sounds great Sarah. I would have found it hard too talking in a room with no one there.

You think it would be kind of easy in a way, especially if you are like me nervous of speaking to a certain amount of people. I would have had stage fright if literally there. But I know like you not seeing their faces it certainly would have made it hard.

Well done on your presentation.