Last week marked my first ever IA Summit (for more details leading up to the event check out My First Time). I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t the happiest IA on the planet once I realized I was able to attend. The event was little short of amazing, and I can’t wait to attend next year’s Summit in Baltimore.
Not only did I get the chance to attend, but I was also granted the opportunity to speak. The topic I chose pointed out the importance of bringing the business along with us in our IA work. I mentioned that to do that we needed to Learn the Business Behind the IA Business. If you missed it, I have provided the slides here. Also, if you are local to NYC and missed the Summit, be sure to check out the NYC IxDA Redux where I’ll be presenting this talk for a second time. Lastly, if you made the talk and have feedback or thoughts please contact me as I’d love to hear them and incorporate them into upcoming presentations. Thanks!
A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled UX Designers: Why are we hiding? In it, I highlighted thoughts on the New York Tech Meetup, as well as the tech scene in general and how we as UX professionals are not present in it. While at the same NYTM that inspired that post, I witnessed something that everyone present as well as watching on the live stream thought was incredibly awesome. A brave, talented 6th grader got up in front of the entire audience and talked about his school (one where they focus on computers, game design, etc from a young age) and demoed one of the games he created for his class.
If this wasn’t cool enough, especially for a crowd full of hundreds of techies, what really struck me was the way that he presented his materials. He actually read everything straight from his notes, a big no no for presenters today, but something that brought me back to when I was learning how to give presentations. I remember when I was in middle school, if I had to talk to the class or a big group, I’d sit down and write out each and every word and review with my teacher to make sure it was perfect. Watching this child present, I began to relive my memories of those moments. What I was remembering the most, was the process that my teacher instructed me to take. He/she wanted me to write an outline, move on to a summary, then intro and ending, then the body, etc. I could see that this young guy had gone through a very similar, if not the same process.
The point of me bringing this moment up here is not to reminisce on my youth but to point out that this presentation was probably the most detailed, clear and informative of the entire night. Everything that he said made since to me, and I clearly understood the point of him standing up there, what he was showing and why and what that meant to me. It was odd that this sixth grader stood out to me much more than any of the other presenters who were businessman/woman trying to show their ideas. I started to think that the reason why had to be his framework for writing his presentation. How many of us go through that rigor when presenting? I know that I don’t nearly as much as I should. This kid nailed it! And because of his preparation, it was a wonderful experience to hear him speak.
I obviously don’t think that we should be reading each and every word from a note card like we did back in the day, but I do think there is something to be learned here about providing a clear and informative talk using a framework that is fairly well known throughout most elementary and middle schools. Perhaps, this is what sets the great speakers apart from the bad ones to begin with? What are your thoughts? It would be great to hear your presentation prep framework tips. I’d also love to hear any thoughts or opinions on what I may be missing or if you took this an entirely different direction, especially if you saw the presentation I’m referencing. In any case I know I can say that that little guy is my inspiration from here on out for presentations.