March 29th-31st there was a huge ELT event held here in Moscow organized by the British Council, the annual (2nd this time) E-merging Forum, aimed, of course, to connect teachers eager to share and learn and develop. So I decided to go and learn and develop – and share as well, given my recent courage and confidence =). Proposal being accepted 2 weeks before the event, I faced the reality or REALNESS of the fact: I was going (seriously) give my first talk ever. And I tell you, it was a whole BIG deal to me.
So here’s how I dealt with it (the stress, the preparation, the moment) and then my brief account of the day I spent at the forum.
I had my strategy to get ready for the presentation, I outlined the steps I had to take (notes on the ideas, ppt first draft, writing a talk, ppt second draft, rehearse rehearse rehearse). Now it was not quite as it happened, because being the me that I am I procrastinated for more than a week, of course being tortured by my conscience daily. This fact intensified the process=)
When the talk was ready and the ppt was done as well..that was the moment I had dreaded..how is one supposed to rehearse the talk?! I find it hard to talk to myself and I cannot talk to walls and cups and notebooks. More than that, I had a feeling that I wanted to keep it fresh, well not TOO fresh (not raw), but not to be pressed by what I was going to rehearse at the talk was crucial, in my opinion.
So what I did was what I remembered had been working for me during all the 5 years of university – process the same in different forms.
* I wrote the talk pen&paper.
* I typed the talk in a Word doc and printed it out.
* I arranged the talk in the doc in a table format, one box for each slide/idea, printed out, cut, highlighted key words.
* I recorded my talk using “mybrainshark” tool (thanks to Sandy Millin for giving me the idea – her post of IATEFL talk).
* I recorded the talk on my iPhone using “iTalk” App.
* I sent the written version of the talk to my mail.
* I wrote an outline of the talk on the paper.
Two days were left before the Day. How did I use the above-mentioned ways?
I listened to the talk on my phone in the metro 4 times, every time thinking it was complete nonsense and could be improved and I thought of better things to say, different every time))
I read the outline twice.
I read the talk (or rather skimmed through it) a couple of times.
I told the talk to myself in the bathroom once.
Another thing that I did was to cry for help)) I needed advice and practical tips from the people who know the thing. And because I have such an amazing PLN – I sure succeded (Facebook and Twitter being the medium connecting us)!! I did mention this in the talk as it serves a very vivid example of why PLN is so essential.
The summary of what Chistopher Graham, Vladimira Mikhalkova, Lindsay Clandfield, Michael Harrison, Stephen Herder, Sandy Millin, Tyson Seburn, Phil Chappell, Dayle Major, Josette LeBlanc and Michael Griffin recommended to a first-time presenter:
- read Ken Wilson’s two blog posts (the first and the second)
- don’t over-practice
- worry =)) – like this one, I coped with it like a pro
- try to anticipate the questions, but don’t be too intimidated by them (it’s your/my show!)
- be truly interested in people who come and make them feel good about their choice
- have some “tweetable” quotes
- have a strong ending/strong beginning
- make sure there are some practical ideas/applications that come from the talk (if relevant)
- talk to some people in the audience (early arrivals, those in the first row); they’re normal people!=) ask them some question in the beginning of the talk, CONNECT!
- think of what is really necessary to support the talk
- don’t rely on tech
- “chill out, you’re not a poser” – my favourite, Ty!!))
- do the presentation you would want to see!
Wonderful ideas, aren’t they?! Of course, many thanks to people and iTDi, who cheered for me before, during and after the talk! That was clearly felt!!
There were about 30 people willing to listen to me speak. Naturally, I improvised 50% of the talk (as I had expected anyway), left out many great phrases I had prepared, added some interactive moments and situations I remembered on the spot. 30 mins proved to be soo little to explain why iTDi is my perfect PLN shape!))
I chose several people who looked interested and were reacting to what I was saying by nodding, and looked at them)) Thank you, if you’re reading this post! Your attitude was really helpful! Anyway, I can say that it felt like the majority of the audience felt good about what I was trying to share – my enthusiasm)
I was very excited and sort of “high” for the rest of the day which Sasha and me spent there at the venue. We attended several sessions, 2 plenaries and had lots of fun and did some networking. I met Nastya Fetisova, who was also giving a talk (she studied at the same university as me and used to teach my friends and is still teaching would-be teachers at my university). Sasha had been there at the forum the previous day and had a chance to enjoy Amos Paran’s plenary where he actually occasionally mentioned my talk, and so we came up to Amos and said hello and I think he’s so nice. Shame I could not be there for his plenary on using narratives in the classroom, I hear he engaged the whole audience in activities and it was a lot of fun.
A special note: British Council people did a GREAT job organizing this event, that was outstanding indeed! Plenty of food, tech working, people smiling and helping…perfect, really brilliant!! *clap clap clap*
I also gave a short interview about my talk which is published together with a blog post on my presentation (you can read blog accounts of most of the presentations from the forum and more interviews). It was the funniest moment of the day, as there is the first, uncensored version of this interview, which is 21+ and cannot be exposed to public)))))
Why not rock E-merging Forum 3 in 2013 (end of March) together?!
Is it possible for you to come to Moscow, with a talk or without it, enjoy the time, meet new people, explore my city, have lots of fun?!
Just think about it! =)
UPD: here’s the official album of the British Council with the pics from the forum, all 3 days, professional pics.