I was recently booked to make a presentation on transgender people in employment called “Hiring trans people: What are you so afraid of?” to an audience of HR managers at an event called Disrupt HR Cambridge.
At just 5 minutes, it should have been a really easy presentation as most of my presentations are much longer than that. Don’t be fooled though! It turned out to be one of the most challenging presentations I have ever had to make. Here’s why…
DisruptHR has a house style which they insist all presenters follow strictly. I wasn’t allowed to have any notes or cue cards, so I had to remember everything. I wasn’t allowed to have a screen or laptop in front of me either. To make things even harder, I wasn’t allowed to have a clicker (remote-control) to change my slides at the appropriate place. I had to submit 20 slides which would change automatically every 15 seconds, so as I couldn’t see the slides without turning around to look at the big screen behind me, I had to get my timing right to make sure that that what I was talking about fitted the current slide that was being shown. My 5 minutes was split in half, so 2.5 minutes was about employing trans people and the other 2.5 minutes was about my journey. This was quite a challenge, as it normally takes me around 25 minutes to tell my story well, so I had to take a lot of the colour and the humour out of the story. This style of presenting is not for the faint-hearted!
Thankfully, most of my presentations are a lot longer and so much less rigid and less pressured, but it was a fun experience anyway.