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November 29, 2012 / JaymeJ

Preparation, Perseverance, and Perspective

CC photo courtesy of roberthuffstutter on Flickr

A few weeks ago, I had a conference presentation scheduled for an online conference where I have presented before. My previous presentation at this conference had been exhilarating, successful, inspiring.

The topic was global collaborative projects, something I can talk about in my sleep. I have given similar presentations before and have resources at the ready. But I didn’t prepare. I didn’t read the presenter directions emailed to me well in advance. I thought I had this one in the bag.

Then comes “the day of.” 30 minutes before my scheduled presentation, I start prepping and looked at the presenter directions. Upload slides. Oh, I had forgotten about needing slides. Frantic scramble to find an old PPT presentation I could quickly tweak and reuse. Of course, it had to be PPT. I never use PPT anymore.

Fast forward. We are T-minus 15 till presentation time. Slides are uploaded. Ready to login…can’t connect. My computer needs a plugin. Download plugin. Still no luck. Try another browser. Download plugin again. Ok…I’m in…I think. Nope, still not in. Finally am able to login as a guest.

Meanwhile, my twitter feed is hopping – dear friends, valuable members of my PLN, asking where I am. Trying to let me know that attendees are waiting. They are uber knowledgeable about the topic of my presentation, but are still there to support me during my session.

I finally arrive 10 minutes late, just as the moderator is saying “It looks like Jayme is not going to be joining us today.”

Frazzled, I dive in – starting somewhere in the middle of my presentation. I forget to introduce myself and fail to provide any background info to qualify what I am saying. I neglect to follow my slides, jumping straight to the website I created to share project descriptions, work samples, videos, etc. The website is only displaying text. No slideshows, no videos, no music players. I proceed to describe “what you SHOULD be seeing…”

The sidebar chat allows attendees to post questions. It also allows for “private” chats which moderators can see. (Note to self, private chats are never really private.) Two well-meaning attendees who know one another begin chatting about how they are lost, how the presenter is all over the place, and they are totally confused. UGH! Harsh live feedback. Every presenter’s nightmare.

I manage to highlight all our projects, share resources, answer attendee questions, and wrap up.

Train Wreck. That’s my takeaway. I can’t believe what I just did. I was unprepared. I was late. I was incoherent. I was off my game. I was the antithesis of everything I strive to model.

I am so appalled by my performance that I email an apology to a friend who was in attendance. Anticipating a “we all have those days” response, I was taken aback by her reply:

Jayme,

You had technical issues trying to get in, and you didn’t give up. You had technical issues while trying to share the pages, and you didn’t give up. I honestly didn’t think it was a train wreck. I thought it was a great show of how well you perform under pressure.

I wasn’t there to learn about software. I actually am looking at ways that schools can collaborate more and get ideas. Software’s second. I enjoyed the session and learned a lot.

Thanks for a great session!

And that provided perspective.

Am I pleased with my performance? No. Am I proud of my procrastination? No. Was this an opportunity for me to learn and grow? Most definitely.

Deep breath. Carry on…

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