I am sitting in an internal library forum at my work place this morning. It leads me to muse on the importance of how and what library staff choose to talk to people about.
As a chatty extrovert it’s not a surprise that I enjoy clear, engaging, verbal presentations. Especially if they offer interactivity. However engaging does not have to mean highly articulate. One of the most engaging conference presentations I have ever heard (and I have been to a LOT of library conferences), was from an accountant in a public library who said himself that he was not comfortable with public speaking. He gave a talk on the library budget excel spreadsheet he had set up to show clearly Return On Investment (ROI) on his council’s library initiatives and programs. The talk went for 45 minutes, and despite verbal stumbles the interest of the speaker in his topic, his genuine enthusiasm in how this easily accessible tool could benefit libraries in fighting for resources, offered a deeply engaging talk. A room without adequate air conditioning played host to a rapt audience of 60 people, and questions continued well into the lunch hour.
So to me although as a professional I would expect library speakers to practice their talk, not start with a tale of how bad they are with PowerPoint and avoid reading directly from their slides – the most important factor for a speaker is a real interest in their topic.
This toptic relates also to one of my previous #blogjune posts about using stories to communicate across audiences.