Talks Preparation

I thought I would post an article about how I prepare my talks.

The starting point is reading up on the subject and since I have over 2,000 books on Military History in my study, plus hundreds of electronic ones on my computer, I normally have everything I want.  If not, then I do some research online.

I set up an electronic folder for each talk, and copy as many relevant pictures, maps etc into it that I can find.  I modify some maps or diagrams of battles by taking out all images of troop positions and movements, then I can use the same map to show various stages in the battle.  Some images just go straight in, others may take a week or more of modification.

I begin to create the talk on PowerPoint and as I do so, create a script as a Word Document.   The talk will go through many modifications during its preparation.  I tend to put everything of interest into it then, when it is complete, practice it to see how long it is.   If it is too long I go back over it to see what can be cut out.  I may well do this several times before it is right.

When I actually give my talks, I do not use a script or notes, but rely on the slides to act as a prompt for what I am going to say.  I therefore make sure that the caption or other notes on the slides is sufficient to give me that prompt.  Reading the script a few times beforehand also helps.

I use a remote slide changer, which doubles up as a laser pointer to assist in making sure that the talk flows smoothly.

Finally, when I have given the talk, I always ask for questions, which sometimes lets me mention additional matters which I had to cut out to prevent the talk being too long.

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