Tuesday of this past week was my first time giving a presentation at my new job. Every Tuesday during the noon hour my floor presents half hour sessions on topics we feel are of interest to our users and that also help to promote the library. I presented on Twitter. Specifically what is twitter, why would you want to use it, followed by an overview of how to set up an account and how to use your account once it is set up.
This was my first time giving a presentation of this nature. While preparing I thought “wow! I have half an hour to talk about Twitter – how am I possibly going to fill up my time?”. Clearly I did not have any reference point as to how long these sorts of presentations can take! Half an hour is definitely NOT enough time to cover all that I wanted to cover in an introductory Twitter presentation.
My major oversight was not completely understanding the knowledge level of my audience . The audience at a public library, in general, has an extremely limited knowledge of technology and concepts that I would consider basic, such as how to use the internet. This was highlighted to me when the first question that was asked during the presentation was how to get to the Twitter homepage. It is a tough balance trying to determine what is too basic to discuss in a presentation versus what is too complex. This balance will be determined in time, but for now I know that it is necessary for me to take a step back and start at a very basic level and move up from there.
Because I had incorrectly assumed a level of knowledge from my audience I was not able to cover all aspects of Twitter that I feel are important. Most of my time was spent showing how to set up an account and how to find and follow other people. I was barely able to touch on hashtags and searching for topics that you might be interested in.
The great thing about this session was that it was extremely well attended compared with other sessions my floor has offered. And the audience that was there to learn about Twitter was engaged, they asked questions and were genuine in their wanting to understand and engage with Twitter.
On a personal note it was nice to have completed a presentation as now I feel much more comfortable thinking about preparing others. I also got very positive feedback from the audience and my managers so even though I felt it could have gone much better, the people who were there looking for information got what they were looking for. And that’s really all I can ask for.