Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Presentation Reflection

Wow. Although I'm pretty sure that cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the US Constitution I just had to watch a video of myself giving a presentation and I'm almost certain that it qualifies as such. However painful it was I must admit that it was quite informative. Who knew a man could say "um" so many times in so short a span of time? Or so methodically twist a handheld marker for nearly the entirety of his presentation? Well, now I know.

That's not to say that it was all bad. I noticed that I seemed very laid back and that I spoke fairly coherently. My posture was fine and my gestures seemed natural enough. The biggest area for improvement, however, was in pacing. I noticed that most of the 50 or so "ums" that I uttered were a sort of filler while I was thinking of what to say next. While presenting it seems like a pause lasts forever, but looking at the video it was obvious that pauses are almost instantaneous and that silence is infinitely preferably to the infernal "um". Hand positioning was the other issue I noticed. I'd intentionally picked up a marker to find something for my hands to do and it most certainly worked. Perhaps a bit too well. I'm not sure if it was distracting to others, but my constant fiddling with the marker made me look nervous (fair enough) and distracted.

From a teaching standpoint, I can now totally understand why all my students find it so easy to approach/not listen to me; my laid back style seems like it would lend itself better to a question and answer format rather than direct presentation/lecture. Looking more collected and serious might be a good thing to work on and slowing down and speaking more deliberately to eliminate "ums" would be another big step in the right direction.

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