Today my group and I presented on InsurTech to for an industry group’s free training day webinar. It went really well, which I expected because it was our second time making the same presentation. Still, I think that we all improved as speakers. We made our points more clearly and more cogently than we did the first time, and did so with greater focus and energy. We did some ad-libbing, answered some questions from the audience, and covered all of our material with only a minimal amount of rushing at the end. The best feeling for me was that I very much enjoyed listening to my speaking partners as they presented their sections.
Overall, I think the presentation went very well. Human nature being what it is, though, I remember the two very minor vocal stumbles I made during the talk more than the thirty minutes of good performance I put into it. I also second-guess whether my reliance on a script—which I was not reading, per se, but did need to remember my lines—makes my part of the talk sound like I am reading an essay, which could be exhausting to listen to. No one has ever said that to me, but I wonder about it just the same.
Working out what I am going to say out loud has always been part of my process when preparing a talk. Writing it down and editing it to exactly what I would want to say is a newer approach, which I think works out very well. It does, however, lead to an unnaturally efficient way of speaking, where no word is wasted—as long as I can remember my script. The next time I present to a live audience, with less accessible speaker notes and interruptions from the audience to handle, will put my new approach to presentations to the test. At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, though, my next live presentation will likely be somewhat far in the future.