Tips for RootsTech Presenters

Tips for RootsTech Presenters

I won’t be attending RootsTech 2014 this year due to previously scheduled speaking commitments: the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise to be exact. But several new speakers for this year’s event have asked me to share my tips and tricks on presenting at RootsTech.

I have been delivering genealogy and family history related content as in-person lectures as well as webinars for over five years now. And in my previous career, I often had to present to audiences ranging from three people to 3,000. And you name it, it has happened to me during a talk: equipment breakdown, equipment caught on fire, fire alarm in hotel, hotel caught on fire, etc. I even had a “serial stripper” disrobe in the back of the room during one of my talks.

So here are some tips and tricks, many of which are applicable to any genealogy speaking venue:

  • Know your presentation. And I mean totally know it – with your eyes closed and no notes. Rehearse and practice, but in a way that allows you to be flexible. It is better to know all the concepts and be able to add/remove content and comments as needed due to technical issues or time restrictions.
  • One minute per slide. The formula I use is one minute of talking time per slide. Allow 2-3 minutes for an intro and then remember that you need time for Q&A. So you have maybe 47 minutes total for a standard “hour long” presentation.
  • Don’t fear the big stage. If your talk is being live-streamed at RootsTech, you’ll likely be appearing on the same big stage as the key note speakers. With music. And lights so bright that you can’t see the audience. Don’t panic. You’ve got this. Treat this presentation as no different than one in front of your genealogy society of 20 people back home. Your love of genealogy and your topic will shine through.
  • Greet attendees at the door. If time permits – after you’ve set up your slides and tested audio equipment – stand at the front door and thank people for attending. Stop by the front row and ask attendees why they find your topic interesting. Understand the expectations of your audience and then be flexible and make adjustments to your presentation related to the feedback.
  • Have multiple backups of your slides. Seriously. Like five backups all over the place: Dropbox, flash drive, on your laptop, email, etc.  Stuff happens and it will happen. You should always have access to your slides no matter what.
  • Use a flash drive. Place your notes and talk on a flash drive. Many venues, like RootsTech, don’t allow you to use your own laptop or tablet. Check and verify the presentation requirements before you arrive at the speaking venue.
  • Test your presentation on a different computer. If you’ve used funky fonts or linked to files on your computer, guess what? It is likely those items won’t work on the computer provided by the speaking venue. Copy your presentation to a flash drive and then do a test run on another computer, not the one where you created the presentation.
  • Display your contact info on a slide. At the end of your presentation have a slide with your name and your email address. Many times attendees will want to send you not just feedback, but ideas that you can incorporate to your presentation. Also, I’ve been able to secure future speaking engagements from an attendee who sits on the board of a genealogy society or organization.
  • Relax and enjoy. The time will go by faster than you realize; live in the moment. Enjoy the time spent with your audience. Take mental notes as to what worked and what didn’t work. Remember those audience questions and work them into the next version of the presentation.

Photo: Public Speaking, used via Creative Commons license.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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Official RootsTech 2014 Blogger

Official RootsTech 2014 Blogger

I’ve been selected as an Official Blogger for RootsTech 2014, the Family History and Technology Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah 6-8 February 2014. I’m honored to be selected and my goal is to bring the members and readers of GeneaBloggers information about the upcoming event.

Attending RootsTech as the Genealogy Ninja

While I have attended the past two RootsTech events, this coming year I will be attending in “ninja mode” as I call it, since I will be in Australia on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise while RootsTech is going on back in Salt Lake City. This means I’ll be reporting on developments involving RootsTech prior to the event and then sharing the news I received during the event as well.

$10 Off Early Bird Registration at RootsTech 2014

My first bit of news to share: if you haven’t already registered, you can save an additional $10 off the early bird price for a full access conference pass at RootsTech by using Promo Code: RT14LTO. This promotion is valid until November 30, 2013.

Click here to register today!

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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Who’ll Be At FGS 2013 in Fort Wayne?

FGS 2013 Conference

There will be members of GeneaBloggers present at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2013 Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 21 August to 24 August 2013.

If you are a member of GeneaBloggers and you will be attending, please let us know by sending an email to geneabloggers@gmail.com and you’ll be added to the list below.

TOTAL COUNT: 61

Jennifer Alford
Jenealogy
http://www.jenealogy.biz/blog/

Lisa Alzo
The Accidental Genealogist
http://www.theaccidentalgenealogist.com

Karen Miller Bennett
Karen’s Chatt
http://www.karenmillerbennett.com

Shannon Bennett
TNT Family History
http://tntfamilyhistory.blogspot.com

Shelley Bishop
A Sense of Family
http://www.asenseoffamily.com

Selma Blackmon
Genealogical Research: past, present, future…
http://genealogicalhistoryresearch.blogspot.com

Ruth Blair
The Passionate Genealogist
http://blog.familyhistorysearches.com

Diane Boumenot
One Rhode Island Family
http://onerhodeislandfamily.com

Bruce Buzbee
RootsMagic Blog
http://blog.rootsmagic.com

Kathy Chastain
James County Tennessee Historical Society
http://www.jcths.blogspot.com

Margaret Cheney
A Step In Line
http://astepinline.blogspot.com

Susan Clark
Nolichucky Roots
http://nolichuckyroots.blogspot.com

Amy Coffin
We Tree
http://wetree.blogspot.com

Cinnamon Collins
(Mis) Adventures of a Genealogist
http://misadventuresofagenealogist.blogspot.com

Linda Colston
Genealogy – This, That, Tother
http://genealogythisthattother.blogspot.com

Barbara Coughlin
Genealogy Puzzles
http://genealogypuzzles.blogspot.com

Amy Johnson Crow, CGsm
Amy’s Genealogy Blog
http://familytrees.wordpress.com

Cheri Daniels
Journeys Past
http://www.journeyspast.blogspot.com

Derek Davey
Genealogy – Northeast Ohio
http://neohiogenealogy.blogspot.com/
Genealogy – Northwest Ohio
http://nwogenalogy.blogspot.com/
Genealogy – Southeast Michigan
http://gensemi.blogspot.com/

Kathryn Doyle
California Genealogical Society and Library
http://www.californiaancestors.org/

Lisa Ellam
The Faces of My Family
http://thefacesofmyfamily.blogspot.com

Sharon Garner
Garnering Ancestors
http://www.mygarnerfamily.blogspot.com

Carol Genung
Illuminated Ancestries Blog
http://blog.illuminatedancestries.com

Diane Haddad
Genealogy Insider
http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/

Kay Haden
Leaves of the Tree
http://moreleaves.blogspot.com

Kathryn Lake Hogan
LOOKING4ANCESTORS
http://looking4ancestors.com

Jennifer Holik
Generations
http://blog.generationsbiz.com

Daniel Horowitz
My Heritage (English)

http://blog.myheritage.com
My Heritage (Spanish)
http://blog.myheritage.es

Cecily Kelly
Cone Chronicles
http://conechronicles.blogspot.com
Letters To My Grandparents
http://letterstomygrandparents.blogspot.com

Chris Klauer
Remembering the Family
http://rememberingthefamily.blogspot.com

Kathy Kult
KK’s Genealogy Adventures
http://kks-fam.net/blog/

Jenny Lanctot
Are My Roots Showing?
http://aremyrootsshowing.blogspot.com

Michael LeClerc
Mocavo
http://blog.mocavo.com

Brenda Leyndyke
Journey To The Past
http://journeytothepastblog.blogspot.com

Judy Linnebach
Finding Your History
http://findingyourhistory.com

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana
The Last Leaf On This Branch
http://thelastleafonthisbranch.blogspot.com

Tina Lyons
Gen Wish List
http://www.genwishlist.com

Wendy Malinowski
Our Lineage
http://our-lineage.com

Deborah Carder Mayes
Deborah A. Carder Mayes Genealogy & Family History
http://cardermayes.weebly.com
Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail
http://cardermayes.weebly.com/blog.html

Linda McCauley
Documenting the Details
http://lfmccauley.blogspot.com

Sandy McPherson
The Frugal Genealogist
http://thefrugalgenealogist.blogspot.com

Leland Meitzler
GenealogyBlog
http://www.genealogyblog.com

Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Finding Forgotten Stories
http://finding-forgotten-stories.com

George Morgan
The Genealogy Guys
http://genealogyguys.com

Kimberly Nagy
What’s My Lineage? Confessions of a Lineage Group Junkie
http://whatsmylineage.blogspot.com

Cathy Napolitan
Cathy’s Genealogy Blog
http://cathysgenealogyblog.blogspot.com

Terri O’Connell
Finding Our Ancestors
http://www.findingourancestors.net

Mark Olsen
OnlineGenGuy
http://www.onlinegenguy.com

Kathy Reed
Family Matters
http://jonesfamilymatters.blogspot.com

Mariann Regan
Into The Briar Patch
http://mariannsregan.com

Diane Richard
Upfront with NGS
http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org

Diana Ritchie
Random Relatives
http://randomrelatives.blogspot.com

Angela Rodesky
Sweet Tea, Tart Lemons, and Memories
http://sweetteatartlemonsandmemories.blogspot.com

Jodi Spade Roessler
The Legacy She Left Behind
http://thelegacysheleftbehind.blogspot.com

Drew Smith
The Genealogy Guys
http://genealogyguys.com

Paula Stuart-Warren, CGsm
Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica
http://paulastuartwarren.blogspot.com

Cari Taplin
Genealogy Pants
http://carigenealogy.wordpress.com

Julie Tarr
GenBlog
http://genblogjulie.blogspot.com

Erica Voolich
Erica’s Adventures in Genealogy
http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com
Will the Real Ursula Wright Please Stand Up!
http://ursulawright.blogspot.com

Pam Warren
Granny’s Genealogy
http://www.warrenweb.info/genealogy/

Marian Wood
Climbing My Family Tree
http://climbingmyfamilytree.blogspot.com

Connie Yen
Voices From The Past
http://voices-fromthepast.blogspot.com

Note: CG, Certified Genealogist is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists of Washington, DC, and used under license.

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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