(full post over at the Manuscript Mavens blog)
On Saturday, I presented a workshop entitled Websites & Online Marketing to the Tampa Area Romance Authors. I’ve taught programming and database classes to IT industry professionals, but this was my first time lecturing non-techies on the Dos and Don’ts of website design and internet marketing.
It was both fun and a valuable learning experience. Here’s why:
Things that went right
* I prepared beforehand by creating a detailed outline of my subject matter
* I created and printed handouts of a 23-slide Powerpoint presentation to accompany my lecture
* I arrived early, stayed late, and answered questions during breaks
* I had help organizing and collating handouts
* Great turnout (approx. 50 attendees)
* Open forum, listener interaction, ability to take and answer questions mid-lecture
Things that went almost-right
* Not quite enough handouts. Printed 5 more than the estimate and still undershot it. Felt horrible, as I know what it’s like to be the person who doesn’t get one.
* 95% of all questions asked were covered in the lecture, as prepared. Very few head-slapping moments for me as a presenter, as far as topics for inclusion go.
Things that went a little wrong
* Ceiling fan caught fire (smoke started rolling out) during previous presenter’s speech. Oops.
* Dry throat the entire time b/c forgot to bring a water bottle.
* Feet hurt. Stupid to wear heels. Flats next time.
* Due to various snafus, not all attendees remained for the post-workshop prize drawing
Things that went awry
* Due to the amount of material I wanted to cover, my lecture took twice as long as anticipated. Oops.
* Frequently got off track during Part A of my workshop, because I told everyone they could interrupt me with questions at any time… and they did.
* Due to the amount of discussion topics in the board meeting that bisected my lecture, the second half of my lecture began two minutes before the entire day workshop was scheduled to end. Thus, scheduling conflicts made many attendees slip out early over the next hour and a half.
* Yes, I spoke for another hour and a half after the whole thing was supposed to be over. (You can’t tell me this shocks you. You’ve seen the length of my blog posts.)
Things that could’ve been better
* Improved room layout (or speaker to back up a few steps). Felt like I wasn’t making enough eye-contact with people to my immediate left and right of the horseshoe shape.
* Availability of an overhead projecter. This may have helped discussion stay on target, and would definitely have helped anyone who didn’t get a handout. And I could’ve shown live website examples.
YOUR TURN: If you’ve ever presented a workshop (whether to writers or otherwise), please sound off on what went right or wrong, and what could’ve gone better. Same if you have ever been a workshop attendee–please give us presenters your suggestions! Oh, and did you vote for the Manuscript Mavens over at the Preditors & Editors’ Readers Choice poll? (Oops, how did that shameless self-promo get in there?!)
If you went to the workshop(s), please let me know what you liked and didn’t like and any suggestions for the future!