And that was the point! After all that expereince, this was just another tool in our kit and we didn't have to think twice about it.
With experience over time, daunting technologies became second nature. Even the digital immigrants don’t need to think twice about technologies that were once foreign to them. We can handle our phones, online banking, Pokemon VR apps and even digital TV.
If we want to get familiar with what is possible, whether it is online presenting or some innovation in your company, then you must practice. You must start somewhere.
Our very first online guest at a PSASA meeting was an old friend of mine. Also a speaker, we had known each other since I was in school. I knew I could experiment on him and if I blew it, he wouldn’t be offended. And then we got better from there.
Try different tools:
I started on Skype. We have used Google Hangouts and Facebook live. I was introduced to Zoom and then bought the premium package of Zoom because it is now an integral part of my business.
Rent a crowd:
Find some willing colleagues with reciprocal support, who will help you test out your presentation, sound, light, etc. Do practice runs until you feel comfortable.
Get more professional:
There is no excuse to not become more professional as you become more proficient. We need to recognise that every one must start somewhere, and be gracious to those who have not yet acquired the experience that we have. But you need to be improving. Check your sound and light. See what is in your background and clean it up. Connect with your audience, don’t just present at them.
For PSASA, our online experience have made us richer. We have learned from colleagues we would otherwise never have heard from. We have brought new people into our association and given them a richer experience. Our PSASA meetings need to be professional and offer the highest possible experience to attendees. But it is acceptable in this setting, to experiment with a new technology and to show our members what is possible in their speaking businesses.
For me, experimenting with these technologies has given me the confidence to explore new speaking opportunities, to travel and to explore topics. When faced with a new innovation and feeling daunted, I remember the path from that first Toastmasters meeting, to our inception level presenting at the midterm event, and I know we can tackle this too.
Should it read as a bit of a brag, just know that I am okay with that. None of what I have done here, has been done alone, but with incredibly talented and patient friends and colleagues. And when one looks back on a decade of growth and learning, it is entirely permissible to be proud of this body of work, and encouraged about what one can learn over time.