I gave the short presentation I’d been dreading this afternoon. Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem talking to people… even to groups of people at a time. Only when I’m standing up in front of a room with all eyes fixed forward do I entirely lose my nerve; however, today I think I did well. I crammed a lot into roughly 15-20 minutes, but I think I gave everyone a rough idea what we have available, and where to go to find more information and help if they need it.
Next time I think I need a bit more in the way of notes — rather than just bringing up the bullet points and coming up with information on the fly. I also think I could tweak the order of things a bit. I kept telling people about a certain topic, but then saying “I’ll explain that in a minute” when I should have just included it all in what I was talking about.
For those who are curious, today’s presentation was an orientation for our new users (postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads). It’s the first time, I think, that we’ve ever had them all in one room for this particular talk. In the past postdocs have just gotten the info they needed as it came up. We would have an orientation for the grad students, but our part was mostly “here’s the e-mail address you send help requests to” and a pointer to our documentation. Since we had everyone new in the same room for a change, I went all out and came up with a short Keynote presentation to give folks an overview of everything we offer within the department, as well as more insight into how things are configured.
Talking to some of our new users after the orientation, I got a number of thanks for presenting it and letting them know about things they might never have heard about otherwise. I was stoked that the feedback was so positive, and I hope this really helps people with their future work in the department. I hung out with a couple of the postdocs and our grad students after the talk and we talked about all sorts of random stuff, from artificial intelligence to the best places for lunch and ice cream around Princeton and even about the best places to grocery shop on a budget. In all, I think today was a very successful day, and I’m really looking forward to giving this talk again next year.