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02 May 2011 @ 10:48 pm
Olmec Presentation: Done!  
Today I gave my presentation about the Olmec and their colossal head sculptures in my art history class. Whew. I was super nervous about this particular presentation, although I'm not sure why. Maybe the simple reason that I haven't had to do a presentation in almost two years was enough to make me panic. I spent much of yesterday afternoon rehearsing it, constantly reworking my slide images and selecting what I would say.

The presentation itself wasn't so bad. I just kept talking and hoped for the best. We had to make ten minutes, and I went over that time in every practice run...but I suppose that's better than finishing early, right? Several classmates of mine didn't even make it to the five minute mark.

One of the nice things about this class is that every student has to write feedback for every presentation they see. So after the class was over, I had twenty-something slips of paper with notes about my presentation. A lot of the feedback was generic commentary like "Nice presentation. Had lots of info." and "Good job" - stuff that's nice to hear but isn't very constructive. One note claimed I had the "BEST PRESENTATION SEEN FOR THIS PROJECT!", so that was an ego boost. Others said that I had taken too long getting to the point of the presentation, which was true. I was talking about Olmec Colossal Head #5, and I had structured my talk so that the first five minutes were spent giving a lecture to the Olmec culture. After all, an informal poll of the class that I did right before I started my talk revealed that less than half had ever studied any Mesoamerican culture, let alone the Olmec. But since the talk was supposed to zero in on San Lorenzo's Colossal Head #5, it's definitely a valid critique to say I went on too long with general Olmec Culture.   People also pointed out that I had too many 'ums' as I spoke.

Too many circles...what?

Some of other comments weren't as useful. "Map has too many circles on it" - what? OK, I did grab the map off of Wikipedia, but it wasn't a difficult map to understand.  Le sigh.  Another person stated in the 'needs improvement' section "personal opinion of art elements".  What about them?  Not enough opinion?  Too much?  Barrier between facts and theory blurred?  NOT A HELPFUL COMMENT. 
But hey, at least it's over now.  My teacher's comments were vague but made it sound like I got an A, and frankly that's all I care about in the long run.  Next week, I have to turn in a longer paper about this topic (yay) and then I'll be done with the Olmec for good.  YAY!
brokenliich on May 9th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
something i learned from a "train the trainer" course...you're never as "bad" as you think you're coming off as. they recorded us and sent us the DVDs so we could watch ourselves. i hate watching myself, but in doing so, i found that i'm no where near as nervous looking as i had been feeling. and the odd habits i found myself doing did not occur as much as i thought. it was a good lesson.

my suggestion, if you ever have to do another presentation for anything, record yourself during one of your practice runs and see how you're doing. it'll really help you gain some perspective from the listener's point of view.
jeanniejeannietran on May 9th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Man, I do NOT miss presentations at all. I hated them; ten minutes never felt so long. It's usually good for your practices to run longer because nerves usually make you talk faster during the presentation. Wish I could have seen you present, it sounds interesting! Although your map has too many circles so I don't know if I would understand it...