Ideas for successful workshops and presentations

August 30, 2010

I have been updating our draft final report for the project and wanted to share a few thoughts from this.

Comments we have received regarding our workshops include:

‘Exceptionally well run.  Great Idea’

‘Exteremely useful.  Good group size and interaction’

‘Well presented, good pace’

‘Excellent use of time – thank you very much’

‘Really enjoyable and different’

‘Really good mixture of interactive/discussion/group work’

‘Very interesting day.  Useful networking and discussion’

‘Good open discussion’

‘Discussions very interesting – exercises good for stimulating these’

The ‘warts and all’ case study presentations and workshops have been very successful.  Seems to me that these are very popular and people like to come and hear real stories including business benefits of the piece of work, what we would not do again given choice, obtstacles overcome, and obstacles still to be tackled.    We have been asked for ‘More of the same’.

Perception of some presentations and events I have attended has been ‘isn’t our system/process/widget wonderful’ .  I know that in some cases these presentations have been based on models, pilots, or ideas that are not actually being extensively used but presented as if they are!

Although some scene setting and speculating might be useful I  always think too much focussing on ‘what if’  can be counter productive.

Our solutions are not generally based on being able to provide the best, most high tech solution,  but on providing a fit for purpose functionality with limited resources.  We hope that presenting frankly will help highlight the limited resource applied to Systems and Processes to support Research and facilitate constructive feedback that can be used within the constraints that Higher Education Institutes have.   I think it would be a good idea to encourage this at conferences and workshops and might suggest we do a workshop like this at the next ARMA conference. 

Personally I don’t remember any ‘Death by Powerpoint’ event that I have attended being fun or a good way to gain knowledge.   Interactivity is key.  We like to mix presentations with discussions and activities.

I initially thought I move through material too fast but that seems to be generally a good format – it stops people getting bored. 

We are quite enthusiastic and I think this goes a long way to brightening up a presentation.

People like good time keeping – we avoid someone rambling on for 20 mins more than allocated, or holding everyone back at the end of an event.

As I am not a great presenter I’ve also found being less formal very useful.  By being prepared but avoiding a rigid  script the events are more lively and participants say that they feel more able to ask questions and make comments.

Finally a confession – I never really appreciated networking till quite recently – but now I see the light! Some of the events have been excellent opportunities to discuss common issues and make contacts for the future.


‘Learning How to Play Nicely’

May 18, 2010

I attended a JISC/ARMA Repositories and CRIS event ‘Learning How to Play Nicely’ held at the Rose Bowl, Leeds Met University.

The event focussed on how Research Systems and Repositories overlap and how the teams that support these systems and processes work together to support research.

See the following links for more information and presentations:

http://welshrepositorynetwork.blogspot.com/

http://www.rsp.ac.uk/news/news2010-05-11cris.php