Often, things don’t completely succeed first time; take this blog, for instance. I hadn’t understood about many of the component parts, so I had a link to page with nothing on it; no possibility of anyone following me by email; a slightly wonky picture for background; fonts in colours not so easy to read and a few other things.
After a lesson from my elder son who teaches IT and thanks, also, to modern technology with video-links and screen-sharing, so that he could have been sitting next to me on the sofa and not 12,000 miles away in New Zealand, I hopefully have a body font and headings that are easier to read, no links to nowhere and some widgets that make sense – you can follow individual topics if you have a particular problem when you are giving your talks and you can also follow me by email. I still have a few things to sort out, such as the wonky picture but watch this space, as they say.
The point is that, although I felt a bit embarrassed at my mistakes, particularly the link to nowhere, I have taken advice and am making changes.
The same should apply when you are speaking in public. The first time will probably be not quite right, you might have forgotten some of the advice you might have read or, perhaps you did not cope well with last minute surprises, such as the weather or roadworks making you late or you forgot something important that you were going to show. Maybe you didn’t feel that you dealt with the questions very well. It doesn’t matter – learn from your mistakes and aim to improve next time. Don’t give up!
Make a list of all that seemed to go wrong. Leave space to write or type on the other side of the page what you could do to improve each item. When you are preparing your next talk, refer to your list and do not plan to do things the same way as before.
If there was anyone you know and trust who was present at the previous talk, ask for feedback and constructive criticism. You must be prepared to accept it with good grace and use what is said to improve next time.
Those you ask for this criticism must know that they may speak honestly but ask them to be as kind as possible and give useful criticism. Just being told, “I didn’t think you came across well at all,” isn’t constructive. It needs to be something like, “You didn’t come across well because you never looked at your audience and you constantly looked at the ceiling.” Nobody likes to be criticised but it is, usually, necessary when anyone is starting out on a new enterprise. Don’t be too arrogant to accept it.
I am happy to receive constructive comments about this blog, so that it can be improved. I would like to thank my son, Richard, for his input and if anyone is an IT teacher looking for advice and to share ideas, you might like to view his blog at http://ipad4schools.org/
The link is on my next blog.