Thursday, July 8, 2010

NCVER research presentation review

Perth bell tower - apprently a 'must-see' over here

Yesterday I gave the presentation I've been stressing about for four months. A progress report on my honours research, covering an appreciative inquiry into the e-learning experiences of young professionals. It was part of the NCVER No Frills 2010 Conference, the largest one held yet apprently. I worried a little (but not too much) about the whole exercise being a complete failure. I've never presented at a research conference, or any conference actually. The last 'big-deal' presentation I did was probably in school, over 6 years ago.

Around 20 people showed up to the session, which I guess is ok considering the abstracts for the presentations weren't distributed until about 2 hours beforehand.

More than one experienced researcher has told me that as sign of a good, engaging, topical, presentation is lots of questions at the end. I definitely had more than a couple of people who wanted to know more about the specifics of my research - the moderator had to cut them off in the end, but I did exchange a few business cards and follow-up with some attendees after the session. It was also a really reassuring experience to be able to confidently answer questions about the details of what I've done and explain where the limitations of my research are as well.

I know I’m getting better at presenting because I wasn’t sweating like it was 40 degrees outside and I could control the pace of my voice to suit the questions and sections of the presentation. The only ‘tell’ that I was nervous at all was that once I leaned on whatever it was at the front of the room, I became instantly and permanently attached to it, and didn’t move for the rest of the session. I think the lack of movement could have detracted from the presentation.

Nevermind, the use of prezi worked well, I had more than one person come up to me during the conference to talk about it – including people who weren’t in the session! There were also some great conversations and connections made with other researchers on similar topics, who knows what that will turn up…

p.s. fun things to do in Perth and a review of the conference to come...