After stumbling through the organization and presentation of a session for college staff, I offer the following in the hopes it will help somebody else.
- The presenter(s) should not be the organizer(s) of the event. One party should worry about content and the other worry about the logistics.
- If organizing, make sure your first catering choice is available at the proposed time of the session
- Invite others to present who are:
– Already well-known on campus
– Accustomed to public speaking
– Have a sense of humor
- Have an outline and maybe some introductory remarks prepared, but don’t “can” all the material; some of it should be fresh
- Presenters kibbutzing with each other, in the spirit of camaraderie, adds to the entertainment and engagement of the audience
- If appropriate, a YouTube playlist of inoffensive but entertaining videos make a good intro. See: CC Lab Guy’s Email playlist
- Don’t let the time run out before you pass out the evaluation forms!
Our session was very successful but not without some bumps. Namely, that I had organized the whole thing and was anxious about logistics (are there enough seats in the room, how will I get extra food items over to the venue). Our cafeteria company was not available to cater the event, since it was during Spring Break. (Jimmy Johns filled the gap with sandwich platters). Meanwhile I also had to worry about presenting in front of a large group of people, in a non-library venue. I’m comfortable on familiar territory but venturing outside of the library is where it gets a little dodgy.
And if you want to know what our session was about: we called it “Organize Your Outlook” and talked about the many ways of dealing with email in Microsoft Outlook, sometimes on a philosophical level, sometimes on the level of quick tips. We also got some calendar and scheduling stuff in there. We had close to 40 attendees and got good reviews, and have been called on to do a repeat and more sessions like this, possibly one on Excel.