My Conference Presentation Debut: HighEdWeb Rochester

This week I presented at my very first professional conference, the HighEdWeb Regional Conference: Rochester in New York. I wasn’t able to be there in person, but through the power of Skype I was part of the panel presentation, “Care and Feeding of Social Media Teams on Your Campus.”

I was beyond flattered when J.D. Ross from Hamilton College invited me to sit on the panel he was putting together. Yes, I had worked to organize a social media team on my campus. I consulted J.D. and others when my team’s participation began dropping. I’d made a few strides in the right direction, but overall I felt that my social media team wasn’t an example to follow. J.D. assured me that my experience was still valuable.

And so I did it! Presenting at a conference has been a long-term goal of mine since I got serious about social media and web marketing. I never thought I would have anything of value to share so soon, let alone be given the opportunity. My participation in HighEdWeb is truly a result of the inclusive and supportive culture within the higher ed web community. From the invitation to speak to the encouragement from colleagues all over the country, this group of people has been an invaluable resource. I just can’t say enough about the help and guidance I’ve gotten from them. I hope someday that I’ll be able to do the same for someone else.

I was incredibly nervous to present. It’s funny–I can get up on stage and act any part without my nerves getting the better of me, but speaking on my own behalf really jars me sometimes. Luckily, the view from my laptop’s Skype window included some familiar and friendly faces. My contribution was only part of a presentation, not the entire thing. And if I started talking too fast, I knew that my PowerPoint slides were at least coherent.

In the end, not only did I live through the presentation, but I had a great experience.  I think it was a really good conference session. I’m not sure how much my tale of social media team woe served the audience, but I know that my co-presenters had a wealth to share. I even took notes, and I had seen all of the slides in advance! It was an honor to be a part of it. I can’t wait to do it again.

The slides from the presentation are available on Slideshare, courtesy of J.D. Ross.

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