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.

New Projector

I recently was given a new projector for my birthday, kindly funded by my wife and my daughter.  My old projector was 10 years old and only worked reasonably in a dark room.  My new one, an Epson EB-S41, has a brilliantly sharp picture, even in ambient light, and is lighter and more advanced than my old one.  I have tested it to get used to how it works, but not yet used it for a talk.

I thought of giving my old projector to my grandson’s school, but they informed me, in a very kindly way, that all of their classrooms had interactive whiteboards, so they did not need it!!!  I am obviously behind the times on the latest educational developments.

I therefore donated my old one to our outstanding local village charity, which runs many events.  For larger events they use our village hall, which has a really large drop down screen and a projector, but they sometimes run smaller events in other venues so they thought it would be useful.  They have a new Chief Executive and she promptly took the opportunity to book me in for a talk later this year.  They heard my Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal talk back in 2012, so this time I will be giving them my talk “The Story of a Medal”.