Smiles, a Day Late
I have occasionally told people that if they gave me any topic and two minutes to prepare, I could talk for half an hour on the subject. That is true partly because I have knowledge of a wide range of topics to draw upon and my years of writing has made me very good at organizing facts. But my wife, Muri, will tell you that I am also very capable of making things up if I don’t know the facts … and I can be a silver-tongued devil in making you believe what I say. That’s why I’m good at Balderdash. Being a writer of fiction and of slightly exaggerated blog post has certainly honed those skills. I have also been speaking in front of audiences of from 10 to several hundred people for over fifty years, mostly on esoteric technical subjects. There is no doubt that repeated public speaking has made me able to be more relaxed in front of an audience and able to convert what could be nervousness into excitement.
This week, I have been preparing for an important presentation to a customer with whom we have had little direct contact, even though we have been working for them for over a year. The subject matter is a very different approach to their problem and our proposed solution is usually hard to understand at first. Many years ago, a mentor … who is now my business partner … taught me to know my audience and take time to anticipate their questions. He also taught me to have examples in hand that make it easier to make them think they understand the subject matter. But we know very little about this audience, so I’ll admit, I’ve been obsessing about this presentation and putting together more material than I’ll really need. A customer briefing is not time to make up facts.
Yesterday, the four of us who are working on this program … three of whom are giving the presentation … got together to review our charts. As I expected, we removed a number of charts from my portion of the presentation and made some changes on others. There is a little fine-tuning left to do but I’m essentially done … and satisfied with the results. Am I ready? We’ll find out next week. But today is the first day that I’m not writing code or designing view graphs in my head day and night. That feels good.
It’s Tuesday … I’m smiling. I was smiling last night, but I was too tired to post. Mea culpa.