Thursday, January 31, 2013

My step dad was a barber

Why this post? Someone asked how I put my talks together.

Fact: my step dad was a barber for a long time. We used to joke he knew about 15 min (typical hair cut time) on any topic. I am not sure I am a lot different. So when I am asked to speak for 45 minutes, you get three 15 minute presentations or what I actually prefer is two 15 minute presentations and some discussion.

Seems some folks got desperate or they just knew I would say yes. Either way I am going to be giving several keynotes this year and hope to bump into you along the way.

Preparing for a keynote is always a process for me.
1. Curious as to what the planning committee would like for the keynote to accomplish
2. Typically ask if there are any specific points that should be made
3. Ask for additional links or comments prior to the event

The result is typically a slide deck with a bunch of words. I learned a long time ago that preparing too early only allows for my ADD to kick in at which point I tend to change everything. To combat this urge, I usually wait till the plane ride or even the night before to polish the slide deck. I have been known to finalize slide decks the morning of the talk but that has become a bit more risky for a number of reasons. I actually blew one event up, felt bad about it and decided to prep a little earlier than the morning before.

So a bunch of words on slides? I despise a bunch of text on the screen so I typically replace the majority of the text with pictures. Sometimes, the pictures have little or nothing to do with what I am talking about, but I use them as an aid to keep some sort of coherent thought process rolling. This is one of several reasons why my slide decks often look similar, but the message may carry a different tone. I haven’t used notes in a long time. I am not suggesting that is a good thing, I just never seem to be able to get in a groove with a written script.

I believe you have to have fun, tell a compelling story, and find a way to weave in a few good points. If no one falls out of their chair asleep, I claim victory.

I've never really considered myself a good speaker. I have heard some good ones, and am pretty sure I don’t speak like they do. Nonetheless, I am honored to be speaking at the following events and I promise they will get more than they paid for.

2/25 - CLC Speaker: NSGIC Midyear 2/24-2/28
3/19 - Keynote: Maryland GIS Conference
4/16 - Keynote: Nebraska GIS Conference  4/16 - 4/18
9/17 - Keynote: GeCo-West  9/15 - 9/20

Hope our paths cross at one of these events and you can decide I lived up to my promise. 

About Me

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States