Monday, October 01, 2007

Mental coffee

Take a bunch of wet fish, scream and slap me on the face with it. That's Monday morning with an 8 o'clock lecture, with you having to wake up early to make it to the office first to copy-paste some pictures and slides to your presentation from another computer.

This morning was pretty hard core, I had massively slept in on Sunday, probably to offset some earlier lack of sleep. So, unsurprisingly, if you wake up at 1 in the afternoon on Sunday, you are not going to get to sleep very early. And then getting up at 6 blah blah was just... well, like having someone slap you in the face with a wet bunch of fish and screaming.

The morning looked amazing, though. There was this fog, surrounding the trees, lampposts and benches in the park. The lamps were still on and the fog was moving, it's colour changing as it was poledancing around the lampposts. It was crawling in between the branches of the yellow and red trees, flowing downhill towards the lake on the wet, black street.

After a shower, shave, and a quick breakfast and a cup of too weak coffee I still was in no condition to give a lecture. I had been undecided and kept reshuffling the content around, and definitely wasn't sure on how I was going to make it, as I didn't have a clear idea of my talk in my mind. Heck, I didn't have a clear idea in my mind fill stop.

This is where my Mac gave me a hand. The feature is supposed to exist in PC:s as well, but it is so complicated to set up that it might as well not be there. In Macs it works automatically. This is the Presenter's Tools -option in PowerPoint. This allows you to see the slide, your notes and the thumbnails of all your slides, while the audience sees the current slide on full screen. There is also a large clock on the screen, helping you keep time. Have I ever been more grateful for a feature? This really boosted the coherence of my talk, not necessarily to great heights, but at least a bit. It's no miracle worker but things could have been MUCH worse this morning.

I need to share this with you. I wrote about the difficulty of establishing active participation and proper communication at the lectures, and today's lecture was actually pretty good in those terms. There was one particular contribution that made my day. I asked people to think about different functions of music, what does music do. And one guy said, music is "mental coffee". It picks you up, stimulates you, gets your juices flowing.

Spot on.

No comments: