Category Archives: talk

Notes from the City of Toronto Web 2.0 Summit

Thanks to Aaron Kim’s referral, I participated on a panel about Generation Y and Government 2.0 at the City of Toronto’s Web 2.0 Summit. I told a couple of stories about characteristics of my generation and opportunities (for everyone!) opened up by Web 2.0, including Clay Shirky’s story about 4-year-olds and televisions (hmm, got the details wrong on that one). During the panel, I learned about the City of Toronto’s push towards citizen-centric views of information with their 311 project, some thoughts on using subscriptions, aggregation and filtering in order to deal with information overload, and concerns about digital divides and lack of access to computers or the Net. I also heard a story about how one company uses the Web 2.0 equivalent of a swear jar – people who send attachments through e-mail get poked about how they can be using more effective tools to collbaorate. =)

What went well?

  • People: I enjoyed getting to meet the organizers, the other panelists, and the audience members. People had interesting stories and questions. I particularly enjoyed Mark Surman’s talk about lessons from open source development that may help cities become more open and participative. =)
  • Webcast: There was a live webcast of the event, and Lan Nguyen told me that more than three hundred people from all over Canada logged in to watch the streaming video. Moderators also took questions from the online audience and brought them into the discussion. This was a terrific idea because it allowed more people to participate. People were interested in simultaneous webcasting for all city sessions, and I think that would be a Good Thing.
  • Twitter backchannel: Towards the end of our panel, I noticed that one of the online comments mentioned the #to20 Twitter backchannel. I pulled out my iPod Touch, keyed in the wireless user name and password the organizers gave me, and navigated to the #to20 search page. After I scanned through the previous discussions, I started bringing ideas from the backchannel into our panel conversation. People’s tweets reminded me of interesting points to bring up. I’m really glad I had access to the Twitter backchannel without doing something as awkward as bringing out a laptop, and that I could get to know different aspects of the people I’d just met in person. Good stuff! I’ll be relying on Twitter to keep me up to date tomorrow, as I won’t be able to attend in person and rumor has it that the live webcast requires Internet Explorer.
  • Experience: I’m usually anxious before panels and presentations like this because I don’t feel at all like an expert. Who am I to talk about Web 2.0, or Generation Y, or something like that? I make up for it by reading a _lot_ about the topic, collecting stories, and talking to a lot of people about the topic. This time, I was even more anxious because I’m not a citizen of Canada, I didn’t grow up in Toronto, and I don’t know much about the way the Canadian political system works. But the pre-event call reassured me that they’d be okay with my newcomer perspective, and during the panel, it turned out that I had plenty to share: stories from other organizations and people, ideas I’ve written and spoken about, experiences I’ve reflected on… It all worked out well, and I’m glad I got to share some of what I’d learned. =)
  • What would make this even better?

  • Focus: A development issue pulled my attention away during the last panel session, which was a pity because it seemed like an interesting one.
  • Planning: I really should get into the habit of asking for the registration list or even just looking speakers up so that I can have richer face-to-face conversations with them. Names alone are hard to search for. The next time I help organize a conference, I think I’ll ask everyone for blog addresses, Web addresses, profile links, or a short self-introduction… Hey, maybe I’ll do that for my tea party! =)
  • Linking: Should’ve found the webcast URL before the event and posted it on my blog, so that more people could tune in! I’ll keep an eye out for recordings. =)

Lots of people to follow up with, lots of conversations to continue…

Slidecast: New Media, New Generation

new media, new generation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: enterprise2.0 web2.0)

I gave a panel presentation entitled “New Media, New Generation” at the Corporate Voices meeting in Washington DC on September 9, 2008. Around 40 director- and partner-level people (many in HR) attended from private corporations and nonprofit organizations. On the panel with me were Paull Young (Senior Account Executive, Converseon) and John Wolf (Senior Director, PR, Marriott). Things that went well:

  • People loved the informal style of my hand-drawn presentation. They told me that the stick figures were both clear and engaging.
  • People also really appreciated my energy, enthusiasm, and passion.
  • I met lots of people and gave them tips on social media.
  • I enjoyed figuring out a good structure for the presentation. The symmetric structure (new media = social media, new generation = net generation, and a 2×2 matrix) was easy to remember, and I figured out how to make the topics flow into each other.
  • I told stories as part of my presentation, and those stories were easy to remember as well.
  • Joining people for dinner beforehand and listening to a number of the other presentations gave me not only a sense of what people were interested in, but enough rapport with people so that I felt comfortable chatting.
  • I remembered to record audio and video, and to ask someone to pay attention to the video camera. Most of the talk was captured on video – hooray! I’ve added the recorded audio to my presentation on Slideshare (see above), and I’ve synchronized it with the slides.

Things I can do even better next time:

  • I can update my Talks page before heading to the presentation.
  • I can ask the organizers for an attendee list so that I can get a better sense of who the audience members are.
  • With a little more polish, I can make the presentation handout a good opportunity for more branding and help.
  • I can work on pausing instead of using filler words like “right?”
  • A proper video camera set up on a tripod near the front would give me better-quality video recordings.
  • I can ask the organizers for tips on which airport I should use.
  • I can ask my frequent-flyer friends how they make the most of travel time. Two hours is too short to really get into code. Maybe I should go earlier? Maybe those frequent flyer clubs are useful for something after all. Maple Leaf Club Worldwide (Air Canada) is CA$599/year. How much would I need to travel in order to make something like that worthwhile, and do I want to travel that much?
  • I can bring a phone that isn’t on the fritz. =)

Networking for new hires

I gave a presentation on social networking for new hires to the GBS Application Services Foundations new hire network.12 people attended, and a few more dialed in, including one person from Poughkeepsie. (Yay international companies!) We had a lot of fun during the roundtable introductions. After things settled down, I gave my presentation.

The key thing I learned while preparing the presentation is that people can get by without paying special attention to social networking, but some effort can help people really transform their lives into extraordinary ones. I talked about the intersection of passion, knowledge and skills, and opportunities. If you learn more about what you’re passionate about, you’ll find or create or attract opportunities to learn more about and practice those passions or to use your knowledge and skills. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to appreciate your passions, and the more opportunities will be open to you. It’s a beautiful cycle that makes things get better and better.

I also gave a number of quick tips on how to be more effective at social networking using events, conversations, notebooks, business cards, personal sites, blogs, articles, presentations, and other tools and opportunities. All these things can help you learn, reach out, and share what you’re learning.

The key thing I learned while giving this presentation was that although people could quickly identify passions outside work, job-related passions didn’t come to mind. I believe that it’s possible to love your work. My dad taught me this. I know that even if there are difficult days and boring days and lost days, if there’s that underlying passion, all those days will be worthwhile.

I’m glad to say that my work allows me to exercise some of my passions. So, what am I passionate about?

I’m passionate about helping people connect. I believe that interesting things happen when we bring different kinds of people together, and that’s why I love how blogging and other forms of social media allow people to bump into people outside their teams. I not only get to help people connect and collaborate, I even get to help companies figure out how to help their people do so.

I’m passionate about helping new hires connect with the rest of the organization and vice versa. I believe that a good social network can not only help new hires learn what they need to learn but also get opportunities to discover and make the most of their passions. I want to help new hire networks challenge and catalyze people’s growth in addition to providing basic social support. I want to help new hires get connected and share what they learn. Because I’ve been helping people connect using these new tools, new hire networks approach me to find out how I can help them. =)

I’m passionate about helping people share what they’re learning. I believe that teaching as you learn helps you learn more effectively. I want to help people share the tidbits that they’re learning and passing those tidbits along to others who are learning too. I not only get to lead by example, I also get to coach others.

I’m passionate about spreading enthusiasm, energy, and passion. I believe that people can be happy at work and in life. I want to learn from people who are happy and successful, I want to be an example to others, and I want to help others along the way. I not only get to share my passions with my coworkers and with other people outside the organization, I also get to encourage others when they need that extra burst of energy.

I’m passionate about communication skills, presentations, public speaking, and storytelling. I believe that presentations should be more than just bullet points and that communication should be more than just talking at people. I want to share what people are learning, inspire people to action, and help them inspire other people in turn. I not only get to learn more about communication skills and practice them by frequently giving presentations, I also get to share what I’m learning and influence the way other people communicate.

What are you passionate about? What knowledge or skills do you want to develop, and what opportunities would help you be even more effective?

Kaizen Presentations: Web 2.0 and the University

I’m still buzzing from the first client teleconference presentation I made. I gave a brief overview of Web 2.0 and universities.

Here’s what I learned because I did it well:

  • Energy and excitement really helps. I focused on topics I was passionate about, picked highlights that I wanted to share, and told myself not to be intimidated by the collective IQ in an audience I couldn’t see.
  • Standing up is good. It makes it easier to project more energy and pretend to be giving an actual presentation. This also makes it easier to gesture.
  • If you need to use the handset, use your hand to hold it against your ear instead of scrunching your neck. This not only saves you from a sore neck, but also allows you to improve your breathing. If you have a noise-cancelling headset, use that instead. I don’t have one of those yet.
  • If you’re running out of preparation time, practice your opening and closing, run through middle parts quickly, then go back and practice enough of your opening to give you a confident start. It’s important to make a good first impression. Not only does the primacy effect mean that people will remember the beginning of your presentation more than the following parts, but a strong start will give you confidence and make the rest of the presentation flow. A strong close that recaps important points and energizes people is also very helpful. Things in the middle will come to you once you get into the flow.
  • Upload the presentation to Sametime Unyte instead of sharing your screen. Not only will this be faster for your audience, but you’ll also be less worried about random things popping up. (It’s still a good idea to set Sametime to Do-Not-Disturb or something similar, though.)
  • Call in and start recording the Unyte presentation at least ten minutes before the start of your session. Things get really hectic right before the presentation. It’s easier to spend 10 minutes just waiting on the phone than to try to remember to set up all of your recording while the organizer’s announcing you.
  • Check your social network for resources. Cattail was really handy. =) Also, thanks go to Stephen Perelgut for links and de-stressing!

Here’s what I can do to make things even better:

  • Bring a glass of water. No stage doesn’t mean no stage fright.
  • Create an activity template to make sure I remember to do everything. I’m starting to believe in Activities – I used it as a last-minute checklist for myself.
  • Make sure I get a quick brief from the organizer as early as possible. I went down the wrong path with my first draft. Fortunately, the client rep briefed me last Tuesday, so I spent the rest of the day (and the night) hurriedly revising the presentation. It came out nicely.
  • Reserve a room. I hadn’t reserved a room because I was planning to take one of the smaller non-bookable rooms, but all of those rooms were full. Moving to the “think bar” near the windows didn’t help. I should book a conference room. Even if the room is more space than I need, using that space is better than distracting more than six people. This will also minimize distractions from people asking me to quiet down. ;)
  • Keep a library of materials. I need a good system for organizing slides, images, stories, and so on.

Happy! =D

May 8, 2012
I remember this talk. I was nervous, but I pulled through, and things were just fine. Many of the tips I shared here ended up resurfacing in my “Remote Presentations That Rock” talk. I’m still in the process of building a library for slides. Slideshare gives me a visual library of my past presentations. I’ve been using Emacs Org to collect ideas and snippets, and I use Evernote to store some of my hand-drawn images.