I am very pleased with my lecture schedule for the next four weeks. I have two all day presentations and four single presentations. Towards the end of ProGen (in mid 2014), I realized that I wanted to focus on genealogical lecturing. I developed goals for the advancement of this aspect of my genealogy work.
My goals looked like this (scheduling is usually 6 months to a year in advance of actually presenting):
- 2014: start scheduling local lectures
- 2015: start scheduling regional lectures
- 2016: start scheduling national lectures
I am thrilled at my progress! I not only am scheduling regionally but I am speaking regionally–British Columbia; Burbank, California and Cape Cod/Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Here are some things I have done to expand my lecturing “reach.”
- I solicited ideas and comments about how to make great presentations from professional genealogists on two listserves I subscribe to.
- When a friend couldn’t do a couple of presentations, I was flexible enough to be able to step in. This turned out to be a bigger deal than I initially thought, as the experience exposed me to some other groups which have subsequently hired me.
- I asked Angela McGhie, a noted lecturer and blogger, to review and critique my response to requests for proposals and lecture list. She was most kind and offered great constructive criticism.
- I studied the book Presentation Zen, which offered some terrific concepts about how to improve presentations–development, design and presenting.
- I have spent considerable time developing 15 lectures with two more in draft form.
- I make sure I have obtained evaluations from the attendees whenever I speak. I also self-evaluate every presentation.
- I have sent out 3 (only) “cold call emails” to Vancouver, BC, Durham, NC and Cape Cod. Two of the three (!) have asked me to speak to their group.
- I attended Billie Fogarty’s presentation on lecturing at the Professional Management Conference. I got several great ideas and some confirmation on others. (Did you know– it takes 80 hours to develop a presentation?!–I believe it.)
- I have reactivated working on my website. Hope to have it active in a couple of months
- I have improved the quality of my syllabi, a criticism of last year. These need to be content rich white papers and not taken lightly.
- Often syllabi have to be submitted much in advance of the presentation itself. In the interim, new information is identified which would be good for the audience to have but I would have no way to get that information to the audience except in the presenation itself. For each group I present to, I develop a website and post 1.) an outline of my lecture, 2.) the syllabus, 3.) the resources listed on the presentation and 4.) any other references and resources that emerge since the time the syllabus was submitted.
- I am keeping my lectures updated on the Genealogical Speakers Guild page. I also look at other lecturers websites and lecture lists to get ideas.
All that work in high school with Fred Swisher and Miss Hess (?), speaking at Iowa State Speech contests is paying off. Of course, there is no substitute, ever, for good work.
What I have done since my last posting: I have been working on presentations which are scheduled in the next 4 weeks. In development are two more, one on insanity in the 19th century using Dirk Bode as my case study and another requested by a genealogical society on Tech Tools. I am also writing an article for the Illinois Genealogical Society Quarterly on an overview of non-population schedules. I have responded to three Calls for Proposals totaling 17 proposals. I’ll keep you posted.