I have delivered virtual meetings for the last 5 years, and I have been a frequent presenter of face-to-face speeches, workshops, and training sessions since 1999. However, until last week, I had never actually delivered content as part of an online session and I realized that given my presentation prolificness, that was peculiar. I intended to share some of the lessons I learned from this experience; then, halfway through writing this post; I realized I first needed to ask myself the eternal question, “why?” I apologize for my cathartic indulgence but I think you will find my ramblings of some value; after all, virtual presentations are increasingly popular.
Below are a few reasons I deduced for my virtual presentation delay:
- Too busy supporting other “virtuosos.” My time to devote to this work is finite – it’s not my full-time “desk” job. Since preparing content is more time consuming than helping others to deliver virtually, It’s more elegant to justify working in a support role instead of taking a “lead”.
- It’s challenging to recruit online stagehands. I’ve found it easier to get folks to present content than to help on the behind the scenes end of delivering a virtual event. Technology is scary for a lot of us and the perception is that getting up to speed on how to use software meeting tools means embarking on a steep learning curve. Also, the allure of the bright lights of the stage may attract people to present instead of the boring stuff behind the scene. Whatever the underlying causes, the effect was I felt that my relatively unique supportive skill set was more valuable than providing the content as a speaker.
- It’s a cinch to learn, trickier to share. Being a learner has its privileges, namely you don’t have to go out on a proverbial limb. When you offer content, you expose yourself to possible negative comments, impressions, and perceptions. Also, I was a little greedy in that I was more interested in listening to the lovely thoughts of others than in hearing my own voice. I forgot that in preparing content you learn as well. There is nothing more reinforcing to one’s own learning than teaching others what you already know (or are currently grasping yourself). Self-consciousness is another aspect. I often wonder if the things I share are of interest to anyone. I think for most fledgling speakers and writers, reinforcing feedback is rare, and when given, it can be quickly dismissed by more discouraging comments and attitudes. The road to establishment is built on a foundation of faith; of course, that’s easier said than done.
So there you have it, three possible reasons for my procrastination as a virtual presenter. However, now that I’ve broken the ice, I hope to get back in the game a lot sooner. I’m already working on developing content for an expansion of the presentation I gave last week on Learning Organization concepts as well as a learning session on how to deliver engaging online meetings.