Preparing for My Conference Presentation

Back in the spring I submitted a presentation proposal for my local library association’s conference and it was accepted.  That’s one reason for the longer than expected delay in returning to weekly posts from every other week.  I posted a screenshot containing details from the conference program below:

Screenshot of program

This disaster planning presentation has been a labor of love.  I wanted to take to the conference sooner (most research and the study was conducted in 2011), but funding prevented it.  This time a combination of two factors saved this once-again-jobless-except-for-substitute-teaching person.  First, I had planned to stay with family who lived in the area, thus saving $109+ a night for a room at the conference center’s hotel.  Second, I applied for the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award.  This honor society, into which I was inducted as an undergraduate, offers awards for professional development and research.  I found out at the end of July that I won one of the 147 Love of Learning Awards for 2014.  So guess what?  They picked up the bill and now I can stay at the hotel and be closer to all the action.

However, back to the presentation.  How does one plan for something like this?  First, I went back to all my old files, notes, and slides from when I presented at the graduate student conference in 2012.  I also requested a copy of a book published since my original work and took notes.  Then I looked up library disasters that happened since my original research (most notably the Mold Outbreak at the University of Missouri’s off-site storage and libraries affected by Superstorm Sandy).  This way I could incorporate new material to make the presentation better and more informative.  The new book helped me to add a few bullet points about planning for disasters while the more recent disasters provided a wider example of what types of disasters can occur and how they were handled.

Then I had to make a decision about the best format to present the material.  I thought about using Prezi, a newer presentation program (mentioned in an earlier post), but opted to stick with the traditional PowerPoint slides.  Why? Prezi is great for visuals, but this presentation would be text heavy.  This is the case because I had to make sure that my subpoints were included on the slides since they would be posted later for those who could not make it to the presentation.  I would not have done that had everyone been present and could take notes.  Another reason was the long list of bibliographic material at the end.  Prezi never would have displayed that correctly.  In fact, because of the fact the last half of the presentation is graph and citation heavy, I thought about splitting the presentation where the first half was Prezi and the latter half PowerPoint, but I opted not to.  Why?  One, it would make it harder when posting material to the conference website afterwards.  Someone could easily miss half.  Second, I have no guarantee the internet will work at presentation time and Prezi is internet-based.  Last year, I saw people unable to connect!  The wireless system could not keep up with the demand on it between the presenters and those using mobile devices.  In all, PowerPoint was simply the best format for the material.

Preparing everything for the presentation has been time-consuming.  I have revamped the PowerPoint from my original one, more than doubling the number of slides.  I also incorporated photographs of the various disasters to add visual interest and show the types of damage that can occur.  As mentioned above, I have expanded by including subpoints on the slides.  Therefore, each main point has its own slide instead of multiple main points sharing a slide for reasons mentioned above.  Plus there was all the new research to conduct and incorporate.  And all of this in on top of the original study and research conducted and the first presentation prepared, which took countless hours several years back.  And then there is still the need to practice the presentation to ensure everything goes smoothly and fits within the time frame given.

After I present, I’ll follow-up with how things went and post links to the material here.  I’ll also highlight anything of interest about the conference itself.  Until then, does anyone have any questions?

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7 thoughts on “Preparing for My Conference Presentation

  1. Congratulations. I wish you well and look forward to your recap once you return. Did I miss the when and where’s of your conference? May this presentation be a step in you getting that full time library position that you seek. Remember to take along plenty of resumes!

    • Thanks Cathy! And, no, you didn’t miss the where. I deliberately left that out. I try to do that involving everything with geography until after the fact. I’ll answer that part for you on Facebook. And I hope you are right about the step in the right direction!

  2. Pingback: Review: The Roosevelts | Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

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