Getting to the Goat

One of the things I most enjoy is finding the ways and words to explain to folks how to find and use the (primarily) technological tools they want to use.

The process goes something like this:

- I identify the proper tool for the job.
- I learn how to use said tool with as much expertise as possible.
- I find the ways and words as mentioned above.
- I am declared sheer genius. (Just kidding)

During the past year or so I have been "learning" about Social Media and using all of the tools I could find. Along the way I've discovered I have a bit of a knack with this medium, and I had hoped I would get a chance to share that knowledge with folks who wanted to learn how to use those tools.

Thanks to my friend Cat, the opportunity came sooner rather than later and I gave my first social media presentation this past Thursday for the Greater Linden Development Corporation's business network.

I've got one word to say -


I have loads of experience speaking in front of people, but for some reason despite several attempts to convince myself otherwise, I was a nervous wreck.

Naturally, as it turned out I had nothing to worry about and the talk went fairly smoothly.

I did learn a few things that I will apply to my next talk should I be fortunate enough to have that opportunity. (I'd really like to make this almost a full time gig. I had that much fun.)

I thought I might share what I learned in my post today.

Here we go...

1. Know the size of your audience.

Fielding questions from 8 audience member is quite a bit different than fielding questions from 80. Eight questioners are much more focused in their efforts and yes, I did feel more pressured. Though I think I was able to field all of their questions accurately.

2. Ask you audience if they can all see.

I had tested my projector and clicker to be sure that they worked with my laptop and such, but had not tested ways to make the image larger or smaller beyond focusing the projector. Eventually I was able to move the projector far enough back from the screen wall to be acceptable, but an extension cord that I didn't have would have been so helpful in this situation.

3. Ask your audience if they are currently using any of the technology you are covering.

This way you won't be caught off guard when one of them says. "If I might interject..."

4. Don't mention a topic early in your talk that you plan on talking about later. (especially when your audience is relatively small and more focused in their efforts.)

Early in my talk I referenced Twitter which I had planned on covering in more detail later. However, one audience member who had obviously heard about Twitter immediately began quizzing me about what it is and how it is used and how could he use it and any number of other very valid questions that I had hoped to cover later in my talk. Ultimately, I punted - did a quick mental rearrangement and (hopefully) answered the gentleman's questions as they were asked.

5. Have examples or screen shots of everything - don't assume even, (what you might consider) the simplest knowledge.

Trying to explain to my audience how they would add Twitter or Facebook to their website or blog I said, "It's very easy you just click a button that says, 'Add this to your website or blog,' copy the text that results, then go to your website or blog's editing space and paste that text where you need it. It's really simple and usually very intuitive."

Um, it's intuitive for you Jimmer you geek, but not everybody knows that text is html code and not everybody edits their own web space.


Okay so lessons learned I hope I am lucky enough to give this talk or maybe another sometime soon. I want to give a shout out and thank you to my wife Netter who helped quite a bit with the design of my slide show, K & D who watched the slide show and said all the appropriate things to give me confidence, ("It's great Daddy!"), Gerald and the library's Organizational Development department who loaned me a projector and clicker and plenty of moral support, and my friend Gregor who helped me wind down and debrief after my talk, and all my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter who helped to ease my nerves leading up to my talk.

I appreciate all of you.

If you have time, take a peek at the slide show in the post that precedes this one, and thanks a lot for reading.

Huh? What's that?

You watched the slide show already? You want to know about the goat you say?

The picture of the goat and all the pictures in the presentation are from our Vacation at Beechwood Acres last August.

The goats were penned at the front of the campground very near the camp store / check-in area. Because they weren't just puppies or kittens, (which are cute at first, but people often get bored with after awhile) folks would come to the goat pen every day to see what the goats were up to.

Campers, would gather together and chit-chat. You know, "Hi, how are you? Where are you from etc...?" Very often folks would find some common ground, some connection and get together later for dinner, or to meet at the pool, something like that. When we went two years ago we met a very nice family from Pittsburgh who we swam with at the pool for the majority of the week.

While they were looking at the goats and were so near the store campers would also very often spend some money they may not have otherwise spent.

A souvenir for K & D, extra beverages, some ice, and firewood were items included among our purchases, all because of the goats.

Bringing people together, building relationships, and ultimately benefiting business.

I guess for campgrounds my talk would be retitled "Goats for Your Business."


Cat said...

Great presentation, Jim! I'm so glad it went well, but I knew it would. :-)

I love the goat story. Perfect!

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks Cat!

It wouldn't have happened without you.

I'm forever grateful!