Our Speaker for Tonight . . .

It is done. It could have been done better, but it could also have been a lot worse. Learning from last time, I spoke louder, looked directly at the various grumbling miscreants on the back row and projected an air of confidence.

Even half an hour before I started, this was not the impression you would have received if you had been watching me. I only finished fifteen minutes before I was due to leave home. It had gone OK, but I had decided that I needed a few extra slides to ensure I hit my target of 40-45 minutes. These always take more time than you think, even if you are doing simple slides (two photos and a title). That meant I didn’t start to download the presentation to memory stick until the time I had set aside for changing clothes. and combing my hair.

The first memory stick didn’t have enough room for the presentation. The second was faulty, but, thank goodness, took the download. Because I use Open Office, I had to save as PowerPoint (using two formats as I wasn’t sure which one the screen used in the meeting room). It probably takes either, but there’s no point in taking chances. Fortunately I had established the need for PowerPoint  at a previous meeting – one of my few bits of forward planning. I just didn’t realise there were two formats until I started the download. That was how I came to leve home without any grooming . . .

Shuffling sheets of paper with your head down as you mumble lists of facts and figures is a very popular way of giving this sort of presentation. It shows commendable organisation and ensures that the audience gets all the information. However, you on’t be surprised to find that I don’t do it that way, I just switch the screen on and start talking. As I was later than I had intended that is what happened. Walk in, say hello, listen to the Secretary for a few minutes, be introduced and away . . .

Some Peace Medallions – 1919 – 1920

There are pitfalls to this approach, and wild hair, toast crumbs and a general air of dishevelment are only the start.

Fortunately I didn’t fall into many of them. Politics and royalty can be tricky subjects. My list of personal characteristics of Edward VIII (war hero, party animal, fell out with parents, altogether too fond of Nazis and American divorcees) linked past with present Prince Harry and even raised a modest laugh. It could, I confess, have gone either way.

I stumbled a little over the list of royal wedding presents in 1947. That Queensland sent 500 cases of tinned pineapple is well known, and 900 kg of boiled sweets sent by the Australian Junior Red Cross is easy enough to remember, but I had to consult a prompt card for 50,000 food parcels from the USA and 804 tonnes of food from the City of Toronto. Times were hard in 1947. Bread and potatoes were rationed after the war due to poor harvests (something we had avoided during the war, and medal design, as you can see from the pictures, was at a low ebb. (Yes, I have used those photos before).

Royal Wedding 1947 Obverse

Royal Wedding Medallion 1947 Reverse

I also forgot a couple of other things I meant to mention and  omitted to set my timer when I started, so I finished 5-10 minutes earlier than planned. However, it’s better to be ten minutes too short than ten minutes too long. In my view too many speakers ignore that simple fact.

That’s over 500 words. It’s enough.


10 thoughts on “Our Speaker for Tonight . . .

  1. jodierichelle

    Oh, yay you! To “raise a modest laugh” in a presentation is an A+. And just the little bit you shared with us was fascinating. Plus toast crumbs. I’m sure they all went home happy. I’m proud of you, Simon. Good job.

  2. Laurie Graves

    Yay! Sounds like your presentation went very well. Must be quite a relief to have that in your rearview mirror. And finishing 10 minutes too early is definitely better than going on 10 minutes too long. Always leave them wanting more.


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