No Closure

I can’t find a way to gracefully exit last week’s discussion of presentation. Eventually, I’ll upload a file to Slideshare which will (hopefully) embody the difference between a) slides that accompany your voice and b) slides that stand alone. Eventually, I’ll recreate the presentation in a vodcast. Eventually, I’ll recreate this entire design series in a vodcast.


I can’t remember the last time I was bored. Eighth grade, maybe. My to-do list brims at all times with 10% menial tasks (currently: vacuum, clean porch, wash car) and 90% creative stimuli (currently: a mograph slideshow, a 100+ item, intra-continental scavenger hunt [like this], any sentence beginning with “eventually” in the paragraph above).

It’d be easy to get depressed about all the fun to-do list entries I’m not getting around to except I remember real quickly that I’ve only forsaken them for other fun entries. Life seems to be a buffet line of excitement these past few years and my plate’s finite surface area doesn’t bug me so much. If this is adulthood, I’m in.

Anyway, ’til I get around to any of that, I need to fill in four gaps:

  1. They took every handout packet. After the presentation, a participant asked for my copy of the handouts for a friend which seemed to justify the hours I sunk into those handouts. On the rare instance during the presentation that I felt composed enough to breathe and scan the participants, I noticed lots of scribbling, which was really fun.
  2. I bought Kelly. From stockxpert, I think, or maybe iStockphoto. (Found her.)

    FlickrCC just ain’t the revolution you think it is. Any photographer who invokes Creative Commons has licensed you to use her photograph, but if the photographer herself hasn’t acquired model releases from every person in the photograph, you’re still in a world of legal hurt. And do you trust Flickr user sugarshaz that much?

    Especially, if you’re looking to take your presentation slides into wide release, onto Slideshare, into video, onto the national circuit (and if you aren’t that pumped about your content, why are you presenting at all?) legit content like Kelly is worth the two bucks she costs you.

  3. I switched to Max halfway through, which was dumb. I invoked Kelly’s name constantly, constantly tapping that through-line. Then halfway through the handouts, during the assessment portion of our show, I swapped her for Max Fischer, which was a colossally under-thought choice. It woulda been the easiest and best thing to hold on to Kelly’s name. *forehead smack*
  4. How to secure a friendly audience from the get-go:
    • I got there early, set my slides up in advance, and greeted the audience at the door.
    • The room was hot. I walked back into the room, apologized for the temperature, and said, “… but it’s only gonna get hotter in here once I get this presentation going.” I met their laughter with something like earnest befuddlement. “They told me to open with a joke,” I said. “So I did.” Self-deprecation is endearing to a certain point.
    • I asked about their day, about their program.
    • We bonded over mutual turn-ons / turn-offs.

      I asked, “Does anybody know what that font is on that syllabus?”. A girl in the back huffed instantly: “Comic Sans!” and it felt appropriate to give her the floor for a coupla seconds while she delivered a gasping critique.

      When we came to the fourth case study, I asked if anybody knew who Prezbo was and several participants identified his character from The Wire. No such thing as a lukewarm Wire fan and, particularly after its recent Emmy snub, we’ve only got each other now.

      These aren’t anything huge, nothing that’ll give a lousy presentation legs, but it’s good to keep an eye open for these entry points.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Are me-too! me-too! presentation stories emetic yet?

    In any event, I was asked to do a web presentation of a live presentation I’d done previously, where folks watched me flip through a powerpoint through some internet hook-up, and listened to me talk on the phone. Meanwhile a still image one of my students took sat in the corner. It was a bizarre thing: You can’t interact, you can’t see who’s there, you can’t build of reactions. West Ed archived the thing, and hearing it again, with my voice sounding ridiculously full of treble, was… odd.

  2. Yeah, I caught that West Ed presentation of yours awhile back and found it kind of one-of-a-kind. Your content demanded questions in a way that fact-based presentations like Did You Know do not. No way a simple PowerPoint export on Slideshare could’ve sufficed.

    In all and for whatever it’s worth, I thought that West Ed (definitely) meant well and (largely) did well with its live chat and its omniscient-POV moderator.

    Heh. Picture looked like a cheerful police booking, though.