Yesterday I gave 4 presentations with a Scottish focus to a group of 70-80 genealogists at the Hornsby RSL (Returned Service League) Club in the northern suburbs of Sydney. To get a sense of the audience my opening question was – How many people can identify their Scottish ancestors and put them physically on the ground in Scotland? Everyone put hands up. I knew immediately that I had a different audience than I typically find in the U.S.
In the States, when asking a similar question, I will often only get only a handful of participants who can physically locate their ancestors in Scotland. These folks have come to learn how to jump the Atlantic and locate their ancestors.
The participants in Hornsby knew where their Scottish ancestors came from, and they were familiar with a wider variety of research tools. Their questions were thoughtful, and they were well prepared to go deeper to break down the brick walls in their research. At the end of the day, they seemed a little overwhelmed but they were clearly ready to immediately use the more complex (and sometimes less known) research tools we discussed.
A thoroughly good day for all.
As speakers we all get nervous before an event, especially a big one. My nervous energy is high right now. I leave this afternoon for 4 weeks in Australia. In that time period I will give 15 different lectures, doing 38 presentations. See my calendar if you want to know when, where and what topics. I will not be home in between. If I don’t have the document image, or scan with me I will do without it. In the old days when everything was on overhead transparencies and you got on that plane everything was set in concrete. Now with powerpoint we tinker with the presentation, making adjustments, fine tuning the transitions and content right up to the time it is given.
The reality is that I know where the strengths and weakness are in my presentations because I am the presenter, and that should be the case. I know what I am having to leave out because of time constraints. From the audience perspective the issue is can I cover the subject in a clear and instructive manner. I know I will do that. So why the stress? Because as speakers we can and always want to do the best job that we can do. Plus we want to be continually improving.
Since I start the trip with a genealogy conference on a 10 day cruise I know internet access will be limited. However, I hope to share observations about how things are done a little differently ‘down-under’ during this trip. So I hope you do follow along.
Now its time to finish packing the camera, computer and the suitcase.