Making Room for Ideas

I’m sharing my process for preparing the keynote talk I’ll be presenting at the 2016 HighEdWeb New England regional conference on March 18. This is my second entry in the series. You can find Part One here.

There’s something about the first of the month I’ve always found hopeful, so when I get the first day of the month and the first day of the week on the same day, like I did on Monday of this week, it always feels extra special to me. A Double First Day feels like the planets are in alignment (oh, wait – they actually are!) and the universe is telling me that this is a perfect day for starting something.

I chose this Double First Day to start focusing on a new goal: reduce my cognitive load as much as possible and give my mind more room for creative thinking. Because if I’m going to deliver the keynote talk I want to next month, I’m going to need all the creative energy I can get, not to mention all the time I can get to actually put it together.

Continue reading →

A Tote Bag of Ideas

As I wrote last week, I will be giving a keynote presentation at the upcoming HighEdWeb New England regional conference. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity because I know I’ll be able to use the time I’m being given to talk about something that has become very important to me over the past couple of years: sharing.

The working title for my talk right now is “Share Like a Human” and in the spirit of sharing (along with some inspiration from Austin Kleon), I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes thoughts and processes as I put my talk together.

Starting this week, and over the next seven weeks or so leading up to #hewebNE I’ll be chronicling my progress as much as I can without giving away the actual content of my talk.

Why bother doing this? Well, in a lot of ways I’m doing this for myself as a way to organize my thoughts with purpose, and writing about a process or idea often helps me figure out the details of what that will be. But I also think it may be helpful to others working on presentations or talks of their own to see how another person prepares for it.

I don’t claim to be an expert at giving presentations, and the way I do things may not work for everyone. I build presentations in the way that works for my own needs and habits, using a structure and elements that draw on my past experience and training as a writer and performer. But whether you’re working on a keynote, a conference presentation, a classroom lecture, or just leading a discussion, I think there are elements everyone should consider and plan for.

Continue reading →

The Keynote Speaker

I’m so glad that I can finally talk about this: earlier this week, it was announced that I will be the keynote speaker at the next HighEdWeb New England regional conference in March. Crazy, right? It’s such a cool opportunity, and I’m honored and flattered to have been asked to fill this role.

I’m also pretty nervous about putting together a talk that lives up to expectations of everyone who will be there because I think of all these people as part of my tribe and their time and attention is important to me. Having been to many of these conferences myself in the past, I know that you want to come away at the end of it feeling like what you gained was worth the cost and effort of attending, and as a keynote speaker I think that is doubly important because I’m the only one on the program with a solo slot.

At the same time, I want to make sure I fulfill the needs of the committee that has been volunteering their time to organize and program this conference to be the best it can be. Having had the experience of being a co-chair for a similar event last year, I know how hard it can be to put together a program of presenters that feels balanced and addresses the interests of a variety of specialties from content and social media specialists to web developers and designers. You also want to provide opportunities for first time presenters to add new voices to the conversation, alongside HighEdWeb veterans who are reliably wise and inspiring.

For a conference like this, the keynote can provide thematic glue, set an inspirational tone, and hopefully, provide an additional reason for people to attend. It would not have occurred to me that my peers think of me that way, but it’s hard not to feel a bit of an ego boost when you discover they do:

No pressure, right?

Sure, for a moment it’s wonderfully flattering, but I’m at the point now where the responsibility of this role is sinking in, and I can see how high the expectations are.

But I wouldn’t have committed to this if I didn’t want the challenge, so I’m ready to step up to this “whole ‘nother level” and see what I can bring. Like Sondheim’s Little Red Riding Hood, I feel excited—well, excited and scared.

I’ve actually been committed to this keynote since early November but had to wait until it was announced to be able to really talk about it. So for the past couple of months the whole idea has mostly been in a holding pattern, circling my subconscious. Now that it’s out there, suddenly it’s a lot more real, and I have about eight weeks left to finalize my talk.

I feel ready, I know what I want to talk about, and what I hope people will take away from my presentation. I just need to get it all out of my head. So I’ll follow Little Red Riding Hood’s advice from the end of that same Sondheim song:

Don’t be scared.
Granny is right,
Just be prepared.

I’ve got my notes, and I’ve got the latest update of Keynote software ready with lots of blank slides awaiting my big ideas. Let’s do this…

“Human at Work”

I was thrilled to give my first-ever professional conference presentation this past October as one of dozens of awesome higher ed web folks speaking at the 2014 HighEdWeb Annual Conference in Portland. I presented a confessional “case study of myself” titled Human at Work or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Better at My Job and I was honored to receive awards for both “Best in Track” and “Best of Conference” for my efforts.

 
I have created an entire page on this site dedicated to resources and links referenced in my talk, which will continue to be updated here: dave-cameron.com/human

Enjoy, and please pass it on!