I was honored to be selected to present at the Washington State Genealogical Conference 2014 in Arlington, Washington this month. Of the five ideas for presentations that I submitted, the conference planning committee selected “Just Do It! Writing Your Memoirs & Self-Publishing.” The venue was terrific and was attended by 300 + attendees. Josh Taylor of Our Family Heritage was the keynote speaker on Saturday. Eric and Karen Stroshien did a great job in planning it.
I had an audience of about 40 who were totally engaged and a delight. They asked terrific questions of which I could even answer! I was so energized by the audience, I felt good all day.
My good friend Steve Morrison attended the session and like all good friends he gave me a great critique. He thought I truly engaged the audience at the beginning but lost them at the end. (I tried to do an actual publication but due to a mix up in the timing, I did not quite complete. This is a big no-no!). I should focus more directly on the topic–probably shouldn’t have taken questions during the presentation as they consumed too much time and he thought it siderailed the presentation. He noted that some of my slides had a point size of font that was too small. (The experts say 32 point. I increased mine to 24.). It is better to stop early than to run out of time. He also thought my handout could be much improved.
I agree with all his suggestions and when I gave it again that next weekend to SGS I incorporated much of what he said. (I actually had a person who attended both. She was disappointed at first because she thought it would be repetitive. It was; but with a much smaller audience, we could get more personal. She confessed that liked hearing the presentation again and thought it was good to have heard it twice!)
So, I am also excited that I will be presenting three presentations to the Jefferson County Genealogical Society in March 2015. This will be an all day event. While we have agreed on terms, they have not decided which of my presentations they wish to hear. I will find out that information in September.
I asked the Association of Professional Genealogists listserve for comments specifically geared to day-long presentations. Here are their recommendations:
- Know your topic inside and out
- Start early to deal with contractual issues
- Start early with presentation preparation
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Take questions at the end of each segment or you cannot get through the prepared presentation
- The time in-between sessions must be managed to allow yourself time to “reset” (physically and mentally) for the next presentation.
- Have a table to place your brochure, business cards, publications etc. (Bring a nice tablecloth and other items to “dress” the table.)
- If you have a product to sell, include in the contract the rights to sell at the event.
i don’t have anything to sell but I do have a little “give-away”.
I have applied to two other conferences to speak and am waiting to hear from them. I have already heard that I was not accepted to present at FGS in February. I plan on submitting to at least two others soon. This is fun!
In addition to my 3-day gig, I will be speaking at four SGS events in the coming months. Drop by and learn something new. These sessions will be:
- 28 September: “I Found my Family on the Internet! Now What Do I Do?” Evaluating genealogy, specifically those with family information, websites
- 12 October: “Soldiers, Spies & Farm Wives: the Changing Roles for Women during the Civil War” A look at how Rosie the Riveter was not an anomaly.
- 9 November: “Using the Non-Population Schedules” For context and even restricted records, nothing is better than the non-population schedules–short of paying the lawyer!
- 7 December: “Family Myths: Using Analysis & Correlation to Resolve” Do you have an Indian Princess in your family? Well, somebody has to! We will explore how to resolve this often puzzling family stories–and sometimes they are true!
What I have done since the last posting: Well, not exactly, but I really worked on the presentation for the 28th of September. It was lacking a construct which popped into place this weekend. I really feel like it is in a good place now. I need to revisit the content of my lecture proposals; I do not believe I have done a very good job of pointing out the uniqueness of the different proposals. I am getting very comfortable with my hardware. That’s good. The new laptop is doing great. I worked up a lecturing contract for Jefferson County and worked on a client report which is very interesting–Scotland!