Rebooting A Presentation … Two Days Before Going On Stage

June 17, 2011 in Other Than That - news, business & other nonsense | Comments (1)


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It had been in my mind for a while, scurrying around the back corners of my brain peeping out occasionally then darting back into shadow. This idea, to tackle my next stage presentation about storytelling and the importance of one’s personal narrative as a part of their everyday life in a completely different way, was persistent. This scampering little thought scrabbled its way in and out whispering: “Go ahead Cathy … take a chance. It’s time to change things up.”

So that’s precisely what I decided to do … two days before I stepped on stage at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference in New York this week.

There are two schools of thought about this sort of thing, about taking something that is rehearsed, practiced, orchestrated precisely to the allotted stage time and throwing it totally out the window for something that is untested and marginally rehearsed. One school of thought is that you should stick to the script. The other is that it is precisely the moments of inspired last minute creativity that make a stage presentation rock.

What I would say is that the truth, as always, lies somewhere between the two, though in this case and in my opinion, skewed heavily towards the latter. To me, the caveat that nudges the needle a bit towards thinking twice, is how well the speaker knows the material.* If the topic/content is something deeply ingrained to the individual’s heart and mind on which they could expound (at any length) then shaking things up and tossing the thoughts through a fresh filter rarely fails to be anything but more inspired. This topic, the need to deeply engage one’s personal story in order to truly engage with others on any level, has been a deep passion of mine and while I have any number of changes & improvements I’ve already begun laying on this presentation I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

On a separate but related note – several people asked me where they could find more of my beat poetry. Considering this is my first foray, you’re looking at the sum total of my body of work … for now. I have decided that I will be evolving this particular piece as well as working on a few others … so stay tuned for more!

In the mean time, here’s “Shut UP and BREATHE: How Stepping Away and Connecting With Yourself Creates A More Powerful Network.”

Oh, and by the way, if you have suggestions/requests on topics for future pieces, just leave a comment!

*There is one more qualifier for the idea of starting from scratch close to presentation time for people doing stage presentations that have a strict time limit. If the stage presentation includes a technical product demo of some sort it is less advisable to do a complete and utter tear down/redo so close to presentation time, unless there is some technical issue that requires it. Always assume stage product demos will freeze, have flaws or outright fail. Taking calculated risk on this front is best.


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