Friday, September 08, 2006


I did my first formal program tonight at the Cincinnati Nature Center. This was different than the ones I did last weekend, in that tonight, I was up in front of a captive audience.
I can truthfully say that I didn't suck, but there was alot of room for improvement. I sort of ran out of words, (I know, it's bizarre, ME running out of words!) and thank goodness Marc was up there with me. He filled in when I trailed off. What bugs me is that I have TONS of info in my head about raptors. Tonight we had all of our owls (screech, barred and great horned) but I would get stuck and Marc would take over. What really got me crazy is that Marc and Cindy were there, and David Tennant, the former director, was also in the audience and to give a presentation with your peers watching is unnerving, especially when you are new at it like me.
David's wife (A lovely woman, by the way) said I was too hard on myself. But one thing I know about myself is that when I chose to do something, I HAVE to be good at it. I'm not good at everything, God knows, but the things I chose to care about, I jump into wholeheartedly. I am bugged. Annoyed at myself. Next time will be better.


LauraHinNJ said...

Do you have a *script* for yourself?

With teaching, the first couple times I teach a particular lesson I have to write out every single word I want to say, and then I sort of practice it over and over until I nearly have it memorized (you don't want to read in front of an audience, but an outline should be okay - to refer to if you forget).

If I don't do this practice even though I know what I want to say - I stand up there and can't think straight - and my knees start to shake - and I mumble and can't think of a single worthwhile thing to say. When you know a lot about a topic it's easy to assume that your audience does also - but you're there to teach them.

I think only really expert speakers can get up and talk *off the cuff*.

NatureWoman said...

I have to do the same thing as Laura when I teach. And my professors at school who had been teaching for 1,000,000 years (okay, 30 years) had to bring in their raggedy notes, too, so they would remember to tell us all of the key points they wanted to make. I'm sure you did excellent!

Egret's Nest said...

I'm an elementary teacher now and was a computer trainer for eons. I know how you feel. What I recommend is that you decide on a topic that you can riff on without much prodding so that when you feel yourself running out of things to say, you can simply plug in that topic. Go off on owl pellets or something. :) It will give you a guarantee of filling the space with something.

What I used to do -- not an option for the kind of talks you do -- is to use PowerPoint slides as a way to organize my talk and it also prodded my brain to shift to that topic. Maybe you could do something else . . . sort of have an organization to your talk. Go over the generics of the raptor you have in hand, head to toe, and then talk about what makes it unique. Then when you move to the next one, you can go head to toe over them again focusing on the differences.

Just a thought -- there are lots of ways you could organize it with visual cues for yourself (ie, head, shoulders, knees, and toes . . . :). Something easy to remember.

Still, I bet you were WAY better at it than you think. We're always way harder on ourselves than anyone else is!!!

Anonymous said...

The fact you weren't happy with your performance is of itself indicative of the fact you'[ll be pretty good. Only decent speakers worry about these things, the poor ones don't worry about 'em.

When I talk about a plant or animal I try to think about what questions an audience member is likely to ask and that reminds me what I should be trying to convey.

Anonymous said...

That last message was from Tai
Haku at ~Earth, Wind & Water btw (stupid betablogger is making me leave all my comments anonymous and i keep forgetting to sign)

Dave said...

Index cards. We still use index cards to keep track of our presentations. Sometimes an audience makes you nervous and you loose track. The index cards help you keep your place. Don't be hard on yourself, we've all been there and will be again I'm sure.

Babu at the Timbuktu Zoo said...

I always find that if I run out of facts about the animals, it perks the audience up if I offer a recipe or two for delicacies such as Pan-fried Panda or filet of finch.

mom in law said...

Happy anniversary. Jim is with the girls while they fall asleep. i will talk to you tomorrow about some of my botched presentations. You are being too hard on yourself. mom-in-law

Susan Gets Native said...

Thanks for the advice and cheer, guys.
I don't know if I was too cocky in my knowledge or just unprepared...I really thought I would be fine.
I will take the advice given here...outlines, "head, shoulders, knees and toes", etc.
The next time I blog about my performance, it will hopefully be rockin'.