49 comments on “Being naked – is presentation technology really necessary?

  1. Would I be scared (like you)? Yes, but most likely more than you, but also just as scared with the technology.

    Would I be happy to see you just speak? Yes. Without a doubt.

    • Hello Carol,

      I am so sorry I didn’t reply before. I got caught up in a thousand trips and IATEFL preparation etc.

      It was so good to see you at IATEFL!

      And I loved the experience (I’ve written about it, briefly, in my latest blog)

      Jeremy

  2. Hi Jeremy

    What an interesting post and I completely understand your frustration at the unreliability of the Internet! I myself recently experienced severe technical difficulties in Abruzzo during the snowstorms suffered in the area and the most awful thing that could ever happen to a presenter is – that I wasn’t able to present at my very own online webinar session. It truly was the stuff of nightmares, but the Internet connection got completely cut off for ten(!!) whole days, plus no phone reception either. So I was really totally unplugged without any means to get news of my dilemma to the Event organizer.

    This unfortunate experience made me reflect on my / our over-dependence on technology. The question is how would teachers cope if suddenly there was no technology available to use, due to (for example) severe weather conditions? Would younger more Internet-savvy teachers and users be able to teach simply with a blackboard and chalk / whiteboard / flipchart and marker pen?? Or indeed as you say, teach “naked”?

    I have observed Professor David Chrystal in action, and I was absolutely amazed that he used nothing except the power of his voice and sheer physical presence, He was able to pull it off admirably. I sat entranced during his TESOL Italy 2010 Plenary talk and the time flew past. I am sure that you would also be able to do the same!! Yes, it might be scary at first, but once you got going, you would probably get carried away with the general “flow”.

    Yes, I would be relieved to see someone “just speak”, if their technology failed at a major conference, rather than try for ages and in vain to get the technology to work.

    Best of luck!!

    • Hi Janet,

      I am so sorry I never replied to this (see my reply to Carol above).

      I absolutely love you comment about when people go on and on trying to resolve a tech problem rather than just abandoning it and getting on with it. I wonder how long is long enough……

      I’ve blogged about the IATEFL non-technical experience (my latest one). In the end it just felt ‘right’. But I don’t know if that was because of the room, the topic, the hour, the people….

      Jeremy

      • Hi Jeremy

        I totally understand how busy you’ve been recently and thanks so much for replying to my comment above.

        You say “I wonder how long is long enough……” and you also mention further down in another comment:

        “The intriguing question (raised higher up in this conversation, is how long you should spend trying to make things work before abandoning the technology and just getting on with it! That intrigues me. How long should the audience be kept waiting. Are there rules for this?!!”

        I think nobody has actually answered this question yet , and I am really curious to find out how long is acceptable!! If it does happen, then surely you are not a “bad teacher” just because of the technology failure?? That seems a bit unfair to the teacher, who might be a brilliant one, but possibly just a bit inexperienced in technology or maybe afraid of technology, or simply having an unfortunate “bad hair day” due to totally unforeseen circumstances?.

        I loved reading the way other teachers have coped in such unpredicatable scenarios, with Marisa’s story for example, of her lesson section being saved by a pencil and a student.
        I remember once when the cassette got stuck in the middle of a song we were doing, I fiddled for a few minutes, then gave up and simply sang the song myself !! Yes it was embarrassing, but I just got on with it, and the students didn’t mind at all and it sactually saved the day.

        Janet

  3. Hello Jeremy,

    I’ve been reading a very interesting book recently, “The naked presenter” (http://amzn.to/xxJavT), as I’m preparing for two conferences (TESOL Greece and IATEFL). I think I would be horrified if anything like that happened to me, to say the least (my topic IS technology and both are my first presentations – ever – which is intimidating in its own right).

    It takes a lot of skill and experience to do a ‘Crystal’ but you have both…and to quote “you” from last year’s IATEFL Pecha Kucha night “The more you suffer, the more they’ll love it”.😀

    Dina🙂

    • Hi Dina!

      I should have replied before, of course (but see my reply to Carol above). Forgive my bad manners!

      Oh dear, that Pecha Kucha quote! The things we say come back to haunt us, don’t they!!

      Actually I really enjoyed the experience once we got going. I think that was partly the audience, who were so generous – and the room was full and that always helps.

      Jeremy

  4. Hi, Jeremy,

    I’ve been contemplating the same thing — especially as only yesterday, I had my own technology emergency — standing in front of a workshop of 50 Omani teachers, being introduced by the university Vice-Chancellor as the team of techies worked frantically in the background simpy trying to get the projector to work properly. They came through, in the end, but it does point out our dependence on the technology — though I can recall a presentation you did at TESOL, a number of years ago, perhaps in Seattle? – where the technology wasn’t ideal, but you did beautifully.

    I wonder if the absence of technology (either deliberate, or not) causes us to focus more on connecting with the participants. I’ve just been reading The Naked Presenter by Garr Reynolds (author of Presentation Zen) who suggests that too often we get seduced by the technology into forgetting the story or message and that it can all too easily prevent us from connecting with the group — which is what it’s all about. But as language teachers, it’s certainly nice to be able to have actual language up on the screen for people to refer to.

    Of course the prospect of no technology is scary — we’ve come to depend on it. But is there a potential liberating factor here — one becomes like the stand-up comedian in the sense of needing even more than usual to connect with the participants and to tap into their energy.

    Anyway . . .. looking forward to your talk in Dubai – naked or clothed! I am hoping to be fully dressed, myself!

    • Hi Joe,

      this is like old news now – and I’ve had my ‘naked’ moment.

      Yes, that day in Seattle was something! A whole presentation based on music and, for a while, no music at all!

      Dina (above) also referred to the Naked Presenter and it’s a book I need to read I think..

      But we met in Dubai and not was great to see you in action – a talk which I loved – and I have you book ‘Culture – Practical Approaches to Intercultural Communication’ (with Ann Wintergerst (Pearson) right here in front of me. A great read for anyone who is interested in this area.

      Hope we meet again soon.

      Jeremy

  5. I actually teach presentation skills to Korean university students, and one thing that I never allow is ‘technology’ – powerpoints especially (music and videos are ok if they are essential elements).

    The main reasons for this are (a) the students rely on it too much, spend too much time working on a powerpoint, and forget to work on their presentation’s content (b) teaching how to give an actual ppt presentation would take up too much class time (c) the students, who are all language learners, need to focus on their confidence delivering a a complex subject in front of a relatively large crowd on their own without hiding behind graphics etc.

    The thing is, these are problems that even native speakers struggle with, so when you actually see that it can be done by language learners, it gives me hope that I won’t make a mess of another presentation when my computer fails!

    • Hi Conor,

      I am so sorry i didn’t reply before – see my reply to Carol at the top of these comments.

      Your experience with your Korean students sounds very interesting to me. Normally teachers like to get students to use Powerpoint/Prezi etc. But that may, yes, detract from the actual language they are trying to use.

      On the other hand, using presentation software successfully (and not horribly) is a skill too.

      But if a student can just stand there and speak effectively? Wow, that’s something.

      Jeremy

      • Well, you know a lot of them manage it because they don’t really have a choice on the matter! That’s one of the things which is impressive; when the students have to do it, they do it. Of course not everyone is successful – many stare blankly at their draft and read monotonously, but then again that happens with native speaking professionals also. My main concern, as I said, is to encourage students to be comfortable with their ability as a language user, and I think that I achieve that within the limits of the lack of classes my university imposes!🙂

  6. Great thread going on here. I especially liked reading what Joe McVeigh wrote about the absence of technology causing us to focus more on connecting with participants / students.

    Lately, I’ve been mulling this over and considering how a ‘problem’ like this can bring us back to basics, and have (re)discovered how gratifying it can be to be ‘naked’, creating opportunities for bonding with my class. Just two weeks ago, the internet connection was horrible and it got to a point where I just thought to myself: “OK, you don’t need this…” LOL Anyways, it’s been a reawakening.

    Good luck to you, and hope to see you in Brazil soon.🙂

    • Hi Lu,

      I am sorry it has taken me WEEKS to reply to comments ( see my reply to Carol at the top of this ‘page’.

      Having now done the talk I was stressing about, there is something special about the connection you get with everyone when no on is looking at the screen.

      On the other hand lots of them were tweeting etc too.

      Hmm.

      But as I’ve said to some others, it may depend on the topic, the hour, the audience etc. Not sure.

      Jeremy

  7. Hi Jeremy,

    Quite a long time ago after discovering I had left half of my materials for a week’s travel course behind 20 minutes before the first class, a colleague reassured me with words I’ve never forgotten: “Tom, you can teach in a desert with sand and a stick.” Last year I spent most of night modernizing and “fabulizing” a promo ppt for our prospective new trainees, but saved it in the wrong folder folder on my computer so that I couldn’t get to it in my “cloud” from the presentation hall. I was in the desert. The wonders of a smile, a voice, a whiteboard, and a couple of markers!

    If I can teach or present in a dessert, I wouldn’t think you’d have a thing to be scared of. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    Tom

    • Hello Tom,

      as I keep saying to everyone, I am so sorry I didn’t reply before. I got submersed in work and presentation-prparation etc.

      I’m especially sorry because your ‘stick in the desert’ quote lives with me (well it wasn’t yours, but you know what I mean!). And I have used and will use it!

      I bet that lesson was wonderful.

      There is something special about just us and them, isn’t there. In the end I certainly enjoyed it far more than I had expected.

      Jeremy

  8. I have attended some of your presentations, Jeremy, and believe me, you do not depend at all on the back up technology.
    Your story reminds me of a micro-teaching test of one of my best students. Everything was organised around Christmas and the song “All I need for Christmas is you.” Guess what? The recording did not work. She panicked and whispered to me: “What shall I do?”. ” Just sing”, I answered. And she did. And sang wonderfully and the class was bewitched by her charm and feeling she put in her singing.
    I completely trust you can bewitch your audience too, Jeremy.

    • Hi Anita,

      it is sod great of you to come along to my blog – and so wrong of me not to have replied before. I am sorry. Things just got on top of me.

      I absolutely LOVE the story of the singing student. That’s the whole answer to the technology thing in a nutshell. We love technology but we should never ever think that it is the answer – or that we can’t do without it.

      A great story indeed.

      I hope we meet again soon.

      Jeremy

  9. Hmmm…

    “He thought the technician-needing person on the stage had made a virtue of his or her technical inability”

    Well, see – our profession may be one of the very few where we celebrate and laud our inability to deal with anything after the steam age. Personally I find it rather sad that someone should try to make a virtue out of lacking a pretty basic skill in the 21st century.

    It reminds me of a plenary speaker I saw not so long ago in Turkey who proudly proclaimed he didn’t use technology as he struggled to set his OHTs properly on the glass plate (and those of us at the back struggled to read them due to poor handwriting and a small ‘font’) – you see, the real point is that he does use technology, but it’s a crap one.

    There’s nothing wrong with PowerPoint in the right hands – but like anything else it takes some skill and talent to make a presentable presentation – in the same way that it does to make a decent worksheet or write a book or anything else. People need to acquire these skills in order to use it properly. If they don’t acquire the skills, then they are hardly in a decent position to bemoan how terrible PowerPoint is (I refer m’learned gentleman to a post of mine, on PowerPoint, from 2009: http://slife.dudeney.com/?p=312).

    PowerPoint can pull together words, music, video, images into a beautiful, inspiring and engaging learning (or development) opportunity – and that’s tricky to do without the technology (unless you can describe things like Crystal does, sing well and paint aural pictures that delight people). It’s a good tool – in the right hands. It will not turn a bad speaker (or bad content) into a good speaker with good content. But it can help to enrich the conversation.

    I’ve had the power cut out on me in my travels and the projector has gone off and I’ve been left in the dark. And guess what? I survived – because (like most other people) I have something to say in my talks and workshops, and I don’t *need* PowerPoint.

    No, I don’t *need* it, but I like it, and so do people in the audience – and, frankly, embedded audio and video in PowerPoint beat the hell out of winding cassettes forward and backward randomly searching for a bit of audio…. it’s the future, man!

    Gavin

    • Hi Gavin

      you know how long it has taken me to reply to your comments? Yes, you do and I am sorry. Just overwhelmed with getting things ready for IATEFL etc – but then you had much more to do than me in that respect so that one won’t wash.

      I think you and I think exactly alike here. It is not good enough to be clueless about basic presentation technology in an international teachers’ conference in 2012. But if you can’t handle it when things go wrong (as they do, of course), then I guess you’re not much of a teacher.

      The intriguing question (raised higher up in this conversation, is how long you should spend trying to make things work before abandoning the technology and just getting on with it! That intrigues me. How long should the audience be kept waiting. Are there rules for this?!!

      Jeremy

  10. Hi Jeremy,
    Yes, I think I would be scared not to be able to anchor a talk or presentation with the visuals we get with Powerpoint or anything else. Think that my first thought would be, what will the audience think? But, as you say, we have become too dependent on technology for our presentations. In fact, I actually think that technology has helped us change the way we go about planning a presentation: we live in an age in which the image “speaks louder than the word” as it were. But do we really need this?
    Except for the younger generation of teachers who were born into the world of Powerpoint, Prezi and Keynote, many of us were born as teachers into the age of bandas, OHTs (with two colours or more of we had those nifty coloured pens, this before we managed to photocopy images onto OHTs – and then that actually changed things). As teachers we taught in classrooms where the technology we had was a blackboard, cassette player and an OHT, even video only came in later. So, technology has indeed come as a gift to us, but the days in which we had none of this surely can´t have been forgotten, it´s there in our teacher DNA.
    The spoken word was our main anchor: the anecdotes, the stories, the tasks, the interaction with the audience. So, “doing a Crystal” is a wonderful thing indeed and I don´t see it as necessarily “being naked”….neither does it necessarily have to be unplugged either, though it can have its unplugged moments. It just needs mental organization, planning and rehearsing (a good dash of charisma also works wonders).
    So, yes, I am more than happy to see someone just speak. Admirable and wowing actually. However, the corollary for me as a member of the audience is that I need to concentrate more as well and learn to listen better. The onus isn´t just on the presenter, it’s also on the audience. What a relief!
    Good luck with the presentation, with or without technology!
    Valéria

    • Hello Valeria,

      it was lovely to see you in Glasgow. And yes, I ended up loving ‘doing a Crystal’. It was very liberating actually and it did seem to create a different feeling with the audience, for me at least. of course there were lots of people working away on their laptops, tweeting ertc. Does that make a difference?

      I wonder whether everything depends on the topic, the audience, the place and time etc?

      Next time, Brazil!

      Jeremy

  11. Hi Jeremy,

    I’m with Gavin on this one. I think technology makes our presentations prettier and more interesting/engaging with their images and sounds… but bottom-line, people are there for the content. And when technology (or power outages) leave you “naked” that’s all you have to rely on.

    When that happens (and it has happened to me as well) we keep going “unplugged” as you said, but still with the content, relying on whatever knowledge we think we have to offer the audience. And maybe we’ll be more interactive – and teaching practice skills come in handy at these circumstances! – and ask the audience more questions (even if to buy us more time to organise thoughts and think what to do next). But the whole content is there. we don’t depend on technology, we simply use it to make the content more attractive.

    That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t freak out on a first moment if technology left me hanging…

    Good food for thought.

  12. By the way, on your last question… I don’t think it would matter to me if there was technology or is I just has someone “speak”… I am there to get the content, aren’t I?

    Looking forward to your IATEFL presentation!

    • Hello Cecilia,

      this blog post is long out of date, and the presentation has come and gone and, as I know, you were there!

      I loved it. A different atmosphere, for me at least. But then this evening it’s back to Keynote and music and videos etc.

      I guess it depends on topic, time, p[lace etc? I wonder.

      Jeremy

  13. “Never neglect little things of life” Samuel Beckett. That’s YOU Mr Harmer. And that is, I believe, the reason why you’ve been always inspiring to teachers of English all over the world. Yes technology can be so good to use but what if ,it, one day we lose? Not so much would change. We should look at technology as weather forecast ! Sometimes it goes right and in so many others it goes wrong. Again, humans’ minds, and hearts for instance, matter more than any other technical device. In such difficult moments, one may think of Teaching Unplugged (may be training unplugged) as only a solution to what goes wrong occasionally. I’m not very sure of that but I would listen to your comment and then decide as for me, though so independent, I see you as the best teaching “guide”. Please carry on being the light that flows even from the smallest incidents to keep up -to-date our teaching/learning quest. Thanks ( ridha:a teacher/trainer in Turkey)

    • Hello Ridha,

      I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply to your comments and THANK YOU for bringing Samuel Beckett into my blog. I feel honoured now! My favourite lines are from Endgame:

      CLOV: I can’t sit
      HAMM: True. And I can’t stand.
      CLOV: So it is.
      HAMM: Every man his speciality

      Thank you for your kind comments. Light? I think it is in the discourse between all of us in English language teaching that true progress happens.

      Jeremy

  14. Morning Jeremy.

    Another intersting post.. I agree with Gavin and Celia – yes, the technology adds things to presentations which we couldn’t get otherwise, but we are there for the content at the end of the day.

    I think your post raises another important point, namely that this tech stuff is fabulous to use and keeps us professionally fresh. As a result we become dependant in the sense that our lives are mediated by it, and our work is all ‘in’ the computer… your woes of losing two computers is the stuff of nightmares. I hope you had appropriate back-up systems in place. Good luck with the data retrieval!

    • Hi Catherine,

      sorry for the time lag between your comments and my reply.

      Most data recovered, thankfully.

      What I most appreciated, I think, was the chance to step away from technology and think about a life/moment without it. That was great. I loved it.

      Jeremy

  15. I love talks which visually capture the meaning of what is being said, especially when a topic is complex or unfamiliar.

    Talks that are about technology, obviously, require technology. No ifs, ands, buts there.

    However if the topic is quite simple, fairly easy to transmit, not about technology, then there’s no real need for it.

    To this day, two of the best presentations I’ve been to, were by Candy von Ost on dogme -she used storytelling as her technique and I still remember what both were about.

    At the end of the day, there is no magic one answer in the world to what makes a good presentation, tech tools are just that, tools. Good presenters, like good teachers, vary in style, content, delivery.

    • Hi Karenne,

      sorry sorry for not replying earlier (more apologies on this page than anything else).

      yes, I completely agree with you. I love well-planned and executed IT presentations. I love people who can command with their ‘story’. Horses for course. But I do think it’s a good discipline, occasionally, to try ‘with nothing’. It certainly woke me up!

      Jeremy

  16. Jeremy,

    My very first catastrophe with technology happened during my final external assessment on my DTEFLA (now DELTA) when the cassette got stuck in the cassette player and I was supposed to play different bits of music for a visualisation exercise.

    Although I CAN sing – I trained as a classical singer – and I could have sung right there and then, this particular instance of technology was crucial to my lesson. Hearing your teacher bawl some tune out isn’t going to help you visualise the same images inspired by the bit of new age music you had planned or that snippet from Close Enounters.

    On that fateful day, a student and his pencil saved me from plan B but the point is that sometimes technology IS crucial to your content or process and sometimes it isn’t.

    If David Crystal wanted to show us the language of SMS’s, with all due respect to his considerable presenter skills, he would need a slide or projected images.

    Of course he could also show it to us on large flash cards, no doubt about that. But using flash cards, in this day and age when a data projector is available, well, it feels almost REACTIONARY, which I am sure Mr Crystal isn’t.

    A stick, some sand, the students and you, as someone else mentioned above, may be a good thing for a teacher to be able to use if all else fails, but really, if the technology is working and if I need it, I can’t see why I should be using sticks and sand!

    Unless we think that connecting with our students depends on a minimalist approach to materials. It actually doesn’t depend on materials at all.

    And why are we back to debating technology or no technology?

    • Hello Marisa,

      well gosh a lot of time has passed since Glasgow – and even more since you were kind enough to comment on this post.

      (It was great – as always – to see you in Glasgow)

      Why are we debating technology or no technology? Well just because circumstances made me HAVE to think about it again, I guess. And because of that presenter experience I witnessed the other day. And…

      What fascinated me the other day 9when i spoke without IT) is that when I asked people to stand up if they agree with the proposition that ‘a teacher in 2012 must be technologically literate/capable’ (or something like that, only half of the audience stood up.

      I can’t see how or why people would not be IT-literate in our profession. But yes, as you say, is they don’t have ‘stick and desert’ capability too, will then they may not be much lot a teacher?

      Jeremy

  17. Hi Jeremy,

    An interesting post and equally interesting discussion so far! I guess that is every presenter’s nightmare – all-out technological failiure but there’s not much more to say than ‘be prepared’. If the tech is absolutely essential for a talk the presenter would be wise to have multiple back-up copies of the presentention files and ensure there is emergency equipment available if needed. If it is not essential, the presenter should be prepared to go ahead with their talk/workshop without the electronic backdrop.

    As you and Gavin have said, Powerpoint in the right hands can be used very well but it is a skill that needs to be learned. The same can be said for presenting ‘naked’. I had the pleasure of seeing Jan Blake’s storytelling plenary at ISTEK last year and her lack of a Powerpoint slideshow was definitely not missed. However, she is a master storyteller and it would be incredibly difficult for most other people to produce something even half as good!

    For me, it all depends on what you are aiming to do in the presentation. A few years ago, I did a presentation on using Powerpoint, auido and video in class so, obviously, the presentation I put together was of epic proportions containing links to other Powerpoint slideshows that I used in class as well as embedded audio and video. It was well-received by those in attendance but the conference organisers were a little disgruntled that it wasn’t a single 5-20MB file that they could upload onto their website! More recently, I did a talk on error correction and went for a few simple slides with a title and a single image on each to back up what I was saying. My next workshop is about getting kids ready for the Cambridge YLE exams without going into photocopy overload so I am considering a barebones ‘unplugged’ presentation with just a few examples of students’ work to show. I’ll let you know how it goes.😉

    Dave

    • Hi Dave,

      as I’ve said to everyone else, many apologies for taking so long to get back to you to say thank you for commenting.

      How interesting that you mention Jan Blake. I mentioned her in comments above, too. Plus I’m meeting up with her in three hours or so! But I think she makes the best argument ever for the fact that if you have something compelling to say – and you have thought about how to say it and worked on your delivery and style etc – then you are just fine as it you are!

      But you yourself seem to give me a clear answer to the kinds of question I was mulling over; that ringing the changes depending on topic, place, audience and time etc is probably the secret.

      But I did find the experience of ‘presenting with nothing’ really liberating for once – even if tonight I am presenting with all the bells and whistles!

      Jeremy

  18. Hi,
    While reading your intriguing post, I realized how much I have changed in style and presentation-wise preparations during my years of teaching. I haven’t got the chance to take part in a worldwide teaching conference, so the only “teaching presentations” where performed in front of my colleagues and occasionally as a support to my company’s trainings; and I have to admit there are bits of technology that hasn’t got into the teachers “system” in my country…yet, I hope.
    But still, we have easily changed from flash-cards and pictured-based discussions to a more computer friendly approach.🙂
    As Karenne was saying, it’s pleasant and secure for the understanding stream to “visually capture” the meaning, but if we are to decide what’s best I guess we should start from the TEACHER-PRESENTER point of view. Why are we there, in front of these people? To enlighten them, answer some questions, trigger new ones, help teachers worldwide evolve into their methods and ways of helping the others to “acknowledge” a foreign language.So the meaning being well-explained weighs a lot more than the means we choose.
    I guess a good presentation stands more for achieving a balance between an interesting topic and a clear and comprehensive way of implementing the new idea.
    I surely believe that a presenter ,in this case, shouldn’t and can’t be “interrupted” by technical failures.So, yes, if technology fails, then we must continue without it. I remember one time I had prepared a well-built lesson (and I was proud of it), but when the time came, due to a stupid accident in the street all of my papers got shattered and destroyed. I still had that lesson, I felt extremely “naked” in front of my students, but that crisis had me come up ,ad-hoc, with some great ideas that I have been using ever since.
    That was considered to be ” a vivid and entertaining lesson” by my students, who were ignorant of my “street disaster”.
    Nowadays Power-Point presentations are a common way of practicing listening skills,visual-based teaching and even small interactive games that students enjoy more and more.
    But whenever I encounter such a problem, I remember that day and I make myself sure that there will always be something in the surroundings that can help me demonstrate my point, after all “a language is part of our nature” and the audience-itself can sometimes replace any other “artificial means” of animating a living-and-kicking process, such as language.

    • Hi Cristina,

      well it has taken weeks but I have finally got round to answering you comment – thanks for coming along.

      Your ‘accident in the street’ story is absolutely key isn’t it. We HAVE to be able to teach our way out of a crisis like that. That’s what makes us (if we are any good at it) effective teachers and/or communicators.

      You are right. There is always something!

      I loved the essential freedom of just being me and them when i presented with no IT backup. It was fun!

      Jeremy

  19. Jeremy: This past weekend I attended TESOL Arabia 2012 and saw you lecture and it was your message, not your fancy power point, that moved me. Case in point, the day before your lecture a young lady presented her research paper and to her misfortune TESOL Arabia had not set up a computer in her room. She was almost in tears. I nonchalantly said aloud “Plan B” and as the old adage goes “If looks could kill” I would not be writing this comment right now. Nonetheless, the problem was solved thanks to a young man who was also presenting a research paper later on that day. He brought his personal computer because “you can never trust the technology or the organizers of these events”, he said and he lent his computer to the young lady. The presentation was boring even with the power point and the graphs and the academic quotes, I was falling asleep. The theme was of interest to me but the delivery was horrendous. As I sat there and suffered through the presentation I wondered if she would have had to do the presentation ad lid perhaps she would have had a sprout of inspiration and the presentation would have been lively inclusive, interactive.
    * I am not technologically savvy and Murphy’s Law is a constant in my life. Hence, a back up plan has to be in place. If I click on a button or icon or enter a command and nothing happens… I am up sh^#*’s creek because I have no idea what to do.

    • Hi Jose,

      thanks for commenting on the blog. Sorry it’s taken me a bit of time to reply.

      I think that guy who a’ways brings his own computer’ is about right. You ahem to do the best you can to prevent IT disaster, but always be ready for the time when things go wrong.

      Boring presentation? In the end it all depends on what you have to say, I guess, and how passionate you are about saying it.

      Jeremy

  20. Having grown up in a developing country, I was not used to using technology when doing a presentation. But in 2009, I went and studied TESOL in the States for two years, and things have changed. In the US (and probably in all developed countries), even for a presentation of five minutes, students manage to use powerpoint with ten slides. That always amazed me! “If I am given only five minutes, I will use my voice only”, I used to say; and I did. However, I felt that I had to make effort and to challenge myself. I was in a country where the use of technology has taken a lot of importance, and I had to adjust to that. So, one day, I managed to do a micro-teaching of five minutes with a powerpoint, in which I was assigned to teach when to mention or not the agent when using the passive voice. I could even manage to make the students practice (still using the powerpoint). Doing presentation this way may be normal and even a routine for some people, but for me, it was a great challenge.
    To answer Jeremy’s question, I may be less scared than you; it’s not because I’m better, but I’m accustomed to the non-use of technology due to where I’m from.

    • Hi Dominique,

      thanks for coming along to the blog and for commenting. Sorry it has taken me a bit of time to get round to replying.

      We all have our challenges, don’t we. Congratulations on mastering yours! I think, don’t you, that challenging ourselves constantly is the way to stay alive! So I guess we both did it (but from different angles)!

      Jeremy

  21. Dear Jeremy,

    This is certainly a thought-provoking post, and I confess I’ve never presented “naked”, and would be very scared if I had to do a ‘Crystal’ (I absolutely loved it, btw, the ‘do a Crystal’ thing-y).

    What I can tell you is I won’t be trying to pull that off anytime soon. LOL – For my presentation in the IATEFL this year it was PowerPoint, and I’ll try Keynote for the upcoming Braz-TESOL.

    How did that work out for you?

    • Hell Higor,

      thanks for coming along.

      Ah, Keynote! That’s my favourite software…I like it much more than Powerpoint.

      But I did enjoy presenting ‘with nothing’. That was fun and strangely liberating.

      See you at BRAZTesol!

      Jeremy

  22. Hello Jeremy, I’m sure you’ll be fine “naked”. But why shoud we deprive ourselves from technology for fear of breakdown? I always use my dear USB keys for every bit of video I need to use in class, with the according software inside to play it anywhere on any computer;
    Thus, if internet is down at school, I just copy the video on every computer, or a different video on each computer.

  23. Hi Jeremy

    Interesting article especially as I’ve just seen you are to be our plenary speaker in Oman in a few weeks time. i can’t wait to see if you remain naked or have gone back to the technology🙂

  24. Good morning, Magesty!
    I don’t see the point in being in a panicking situation because of that, Sir. Jeremy. Well, to be a little bit nervous before conducting any presentation would be making part of the nervous system reaction that you as a human body has to pass through it, but not scared. Although, it would be my narrow-minded analysis or view, if you prefer so, to neglect another part that has to do with customs and uses. I say that because if Someone is used to using certain means to convey their needs or achieve their objectives they usually happen to see themselves in an empty world when they find themselves with no such tools. But it’s my belief that We can cope with any situation like at any time because We usually prepare ourselves before going to be in front of our audience. So I personally think and say I would be relieved and happy to be in a naked presentation as a presenter. That’s my weak viewpoint.

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