Giving an academic presentation.

I have not been able to write as much as I like on the blog because of Easter week being incredibly busy at the church and preparations for a recent first-time experience.  This weekend I presented an academic presentation as part of the McDonough Leadership Conference at Marietta College.  It was a great honor and privilege to have this opportunity.  As a requirement of my Ph.D. program, the presentation was a demonstration of a future scholarly capability to do research.  What follows are a few things I learned during my 20-minute presentation.

Practice, simplify, edit, and realize you’ll want to edit during the presentation.

No matter how much I practiced, simplified, edit, and rearranged my talk, I always thought of ways to improve.  Especially, during the presentation.  Like so many things in life, nothing can adequately prepare you for the actual moment (though it certainly helps).  However, maybe my over-analytical nature means I am always evaluating what I am doing.  So, I know if I gave this presentation again, it would already be different.

A different audience and subject matter.

I am used to preaching to congregations.  I am used to teaching to a group of students about theology and ministry.  However, while the subject matter I presented is related to my ministry, coming at it from a research perspective stretched my mind.  Also, there were students from several colleges and levels of education.  There were also professors.  More than just one.  And, business executives and leadership professionals.

People want to ask questions

The presentation slot I was given was shared with an individual with a similar topic.  We worked together to organize our time and wanted to include a Q&A.  However, with the keynote speaker going over their time, it made it difficult to share our independent works.  However, I think sacrificing some of our talk for questions would have been a drastic improvement.  It may have simplified the presentations, avoided to much extra talk, and allowed for better and more pinpoint clarification.

Enjoy

I was nervous.  There is no doubt about that, but I was able to transfer that into a passion about the topic, which is always good if it is controlled.  However, since I presented first and was able to step back for the rest of the session, I really noticed how much I enjoyed the entire process of research and presentation.  With adding open discussion, it could only get better.