Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Thing 15 - attending conferences

I haven’t attended that many conferences, lack of funds has been a barrier in the past, but Jo Alcock's post on applying for funding has inspired me to be more proactive in trying to attend.  Last week I went to my first 'unconference' at Library Camp UK 2011 in Birmingham, you can read about my experiences here.

I have also gone to lots of CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) events.  These tend to either feature a particular training topic or provide an opportunity for different libraries in Cardiff to present what they do.  I once had to speak at one of these events, as I am a web administrator for the CLIC website and we were launching the site.  It was very nerve-racking as it was the first time I’d ever done anything like that, but I imagine it was far less nerve-racking than speaking to a room full of a couple of hundred people.  Still, even though I found it a scary prospect, if the opportunity comes up I’ll do it again, because I think it’s important skill to have.

Helen Murphy presenting at NPC2011

I found the tips on presenting at conferences from Jo Alcock and  Ned Potter very useful (I didn’t for example know about embedding fonts into PowerPoint, so thanks for that Jo).  I would just echo Ned's point about not reading from notes.  I’ve sat through plenty of talks and lectures where the presenter has never raised their head from their notes, not only is it off putting that they never bother to make eye contact, but the pitch and delivery become monotone and nothing is more guaranteed to make my thoughts start to drift.


  1. I went to a conference session where the presenter didn't lift her head and read aloud what was on the ppt. I thought it was terrible and vowed not to do that if I ever presented ...

  2. I sometimes think that how ever much you are coached on good presenting techniques, until you've actually sat through a really bad one you don't entirely understand how awful it can be. Perhaps it should be a course requirement to attend the worst one you can find.