I have to think about this video a lot. This is me presenting my team’s website, Relic, an online sculpture magazine. I’m staring out at the audience, but it’s a blank facade of a presenter and not me. The teachers in the program have been threatening to video record presentations since first quarter, but this is the first time one of them has caught me on video. This is a great opportunity to reflect on my presenting skills.
And I’ve had the additional benefit of interviewing my web design teacher of my performance and getting his reaction on video so I can review that as well. He said that I was awkward and looked uncomfortable in front of the class. Might I add, this is the largest presentation audience I’ve ever had. Both sections of the class were present for the finals, totalling at about 40 people. Half of which I have been presenting to for the last two quarters. A fourth of which I had the same section with last year, so they’ve been my audience for almost two years (five quarters). In this audience, about one fifth of them are students I’ve never been in the same class with and never really had an opportunity to speak with them until this moment when I am presenting this ex-website (why “ex”? Follow the progress and demise here.).
I recall the experience of this presentation clearly. My heart was pounding and I remember reading my outline in my mind’s eye and perhaps that’s why it seemed to come out so monotone. I felt like I had said almost everything that I wanted to say which made me feel good after the presentation, but when I saw the video of it, I noticed that sometimes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. I wasn’t engaging the audience in anyway. My presentation voice would have the subtitles in Helvetica. That’s how lifeless it was. Never mind my right hand emphatically waving about. See: Alien Hand Syndrome.
I normally pride myself on a good presentation. Clean slides, good explanation of those slides without reading off of them, eye contact with multiple parts of the room, not fidgeting. Total of “ums”: 9. Not bad. Not my best either.
I wish I asked about the time limit. The other presentation I had to make earlier in the quarter demanded that I be at least 10 minutes long in presenting. So, I imagined I needed to fill three minutes instead of not exceeding three minutes. I like to think I have no problem with being succinct.
It was really weird to talk to my teacher about it afterwards. He was very blunt. I felt a bit deflated hearing all of what he had to say about how he thought I was perceived, but it was great to look at the video and be like “yeah, I was awkward!”
Asking the question “Who here likes sharks?” was great for the science blog, Hyrax | Natural Science with a Twist. I needed to find that little moment where I can say “hello audience, I’m here for you.” And I didn’t do that. Next quarter is my last quarter at Seattle Central Creative Academy and I want to show that I am consistent and that I am consistently good at presentations, no matter if I am speaking to a room of five or fifty. That reminds me, if any teachers are reading this, perhaps you should challenge your students by finding an opportunity where they have to present to a large audience of strangers. That’s got to be really intimidating. Such a feat where anything less would seem easy by comparison. I’m looking forward to presenting more and to more people. In some cases it’s harder to say than to do and for me, graphic design is one of those things.