18 August 2004

Meisi's BEJC Self evaluation

Self evaluation – Talk to BEJC, 12 Aug, 2004

I was late, even though I remembered the importance of punctuality to speakers (or guides, host etc). In fact, I ought to have arrived early. Having arrived on the dot, I ran into the problems of loading my presentation on the computer and all the last-minute fluster that were supposed to be avoided.

I realized the problem when we reached and the computer could not be connected to the screen, nor the net; luckily November brought along her laptop. Then, I had to borrow the computer in Joelle’s lab to upload the latest copy of my presentation online, because I did not manage to replace the original file in my CD on time. This is a mistake, I should not attempt to make changes last minute. It’s a good thing Joelle was so helpful, and Yueting suggested that she presented before me, to give me time to load my file.

Siva’s feedback on the talk taught me more things about giving formal talks, which I’ve never done before, apart from the presentations which we conduct during lessons. I hope I’ll pick up these advice soon.

Pre-talk preparation
I did not find out that this talk was for the Biodiversity and Ecology Journal Club, and about the crowd who will be attending. Initially, I had thought that there was going to be more young faces who are interested to participate in such overseas work, and who wish to find out more from the talk; little did I expect to see more post-grad students, Dr Benito Tan and working adults. This caught me off-guard but I’m glad I managed to compose myself in time for my presentation. I would say that I was ill-prepared with regards to the background work for the talk.

All three presentations were quite interesting, and managed to grasp the attention of the audience, except that it was a challenge for us to keep to the given timing. I am wondering whether I should rehearse exactly what I should say and time myself before I give a talk. I seldom do this as I am usually able to adhere to the time given to me, so I am not sure whether all speakers rehearse their presentations prior to the talk. I am glad I managed to keep my presentation short, however, the Question & Answer session was prolonged.

The audience was very engaging, despite us dragging the time on, they were friendly and did not show their impatience outwardly, this was nice for us first-timers. However, I cannot expect to get such nice treatment all the time, hence it’s important that I learn from this lesson, fast.

During Q&A, the audience expressed their interest in the various projects by asking many questions. I realised that, in order to control the timing well, we have to gauge the length of the answer which we should give to the question, and not to digress too much. Humour and slight digression may help in lightening the mood of the talk and promote further exchanges between speaker and audience.

End of talk
On many occasions we have apologised for having kept the audience waiting, for the glitches and delay during the talk. Putting myself in the audience’s shoes, I can imagine myself thinking, this is one of the few badly-coordinated talks I’ve attended. It is a sobering thought and I’ve started to understand the difference between a smooth-running presentation as compared to the short presentations which I used to do during lessons, it lies in the amount of effort put into the before-and-after of the talk itself.

This was a good and fast-track learning experience for us, It has left a deep impression and glad I experience it, although it was rather scary, haha…

As taken from the word document sent by Meisi
Posting on behalf of Meisi as she is momentarily unable to access blogger

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