Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Speaking at USF (Part 5): Structuring the talk

[From Part 4]

Not sure if you're familiar with the superhero character called Midnighter (if not, check out Warren Ellis' The Authority and Stormwatch series -- great stuff, imho).

I'm referring to this guy.

[Source: Wikipedia.com]

He fights on the side of goodness. He has the ability to calculate and guess his opponents' moves before his opponents even realises what they'd be doing next. He's fond of saying that he's plotted all the possible moves and fought the fight a million times in his mind, and he's won it before the fight has begun. And he wins. Always.

So I'm thinking about the Midnighter character because in structuring my talk (one more day left!!!), I can think of so many ways to approach it.

Right now, I wish have Midnighter's cockiness.

Wish I could say I've already figured out, a million times in my head, how the audience will respond to my talk before they've even heard it.


At least I still have a little sense of humour. Not yet at the panic stage (or maybe it's because I'm panicking).

Nah. Don't think so. Not after reading this comment from one of David's student's.


Super-engaged is what I'll call Kelly. :)

I simply had to share her comment with the folks at the Media Socialist group (a non-political group; don't let the word "socialist" mislead you). Kevin said that would be what Singaporeans might call a "Super Siao-On" attitude.

It's a compliment, Kelly! If there's time, I'll explain what that means to you, in context. :)

So now I know what at least one student might be thinking. Of course I'm not going to structure my talk just to answer her questions. But now I have a clearer idea what to emphasise and what examples to show. Kelly asked very good questions.

I understand from David that his students -- seven of them -- are mostly in their early 20s. Six of them seniors, and one freshmen. The Davis Forum is an honours class.

Woah, I can hear some of you go, "Whaaat!? Off to USF to speak to seven students?"

Better seven highly engaged students than 70 uninterested ones.

But no, it's not just seven students. The talk is also open to the public.
University of San Francisco (USF) - USF Home

I also asked David if his students are new to blogging. Apparently, some have been blogging for years, some recently, and some not at all.

But on tuesday, they will officially begin blogging as a class.


I'd expect them to post their thoughts and reflections of the speakers, including mine I hope, in their class blog.

It's an extremely scary and humbling experience, as a speaker or trainer, to read about what other people thought about my talks or workshops. When I come across them, I always take a deep breathe breath before reading on. :)

Overall it works for me.

In the context of blogs, it's equally true that what doesn't kill you (comments wise) will only make you stronger -- as a speaker, trainer, service provider, or simply as a human being.


  1. I love how you referenced (and introduced) the Midnighter for your preparations. Reminds me of IBM's Deep Blue

  2. Hi, I'm Amber, another of the students in the Digital Literacy class. I just wanted to say I'm really looking forward to your talk, and I'm sure it will be interesting no matter how your present it. I'm very interested to hear you talking about using new technologies as an enhancement to libraries. With so many resources online, what do you think of the future of the (paper) book?

    I look forward to meeting you on Thursday!

  3. Hello Amber! Thanks for the vote of confidence. OK, I'll respond to your question (about the future of the book) during the Q&A tomorrow. I've just touched down in San Francisco about an hour ago. Dropped by the USF campus. Very nice place!


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