When I talked at Hydrahack, @sil offered to give me some feedback on my presentation. He said he wanted to talk about style not content. My first reaction was, “I had a style?” but I like feedback, so I got it.
There were 2 main things:
- I sounded like I was reading out an essay. Fair. I was creating an essay from notes. I’m used to writing, on my own, and
- If I may paraphrase, “What was my motivation?”
This was the one that confused me and I couldn’t answer at the time. What did I want to happen as the result of my talk? Honestly? Nothing. I’d had some ideas during my research about ‘Agile’ and I wanted to share them with developers to see what they thought.
Then I listened to a couple of Reith Lectures by Hilary Mantell on Radio 4. She sounded like she was reading an essay. Maybe I’ve spent too long thinking about ‘what things are’ but I started to question what the differences are between ‘a talk’, ‘a lecture’ and ‘a presentation’.
I found this on Quora:
- "A lecture is a teacher [ someone with expertise? ] talking about a specific thing to students.
- A presentation is a talk used to ‘sell’ something. You present a product or an idea.
- A tutorial is a how-to kind of talk… I think they tend to be more interactive than lectures."
I think ‘a talk’ is less formal than a lecture and can come without the implied authority gap. I think I was trying to deliver ‘a talk’ in the style of ‘a lecture’. I didn’t think of what I was doing as selling an idea. Should I have?
Should ‘a presentation’ be more of “a performance” because it aims to use emotion as well as evidence to change people’s opinions? Does a science education try to knock that out of you? Very few MPs have a science background.
I’d like to hear other people’s views on whether these distinctions are valid, including @sil.