Jon Ryan, Team Manager (Arboriculture) at London Borough of Islington, tells us about his experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2017.
Why did you decide to submit an abstract?
I sat in the audience the previous year and decided that I had no excuse not to submit an abstract. Although it would be outside my comfort zone I knew I had to present. This platform would enhance my career progression and give me an opportunity to present my experience of working with trees. Colleagues and friends had found it positive and it was also something that was expected with my role.
How did you plan your presentation?
After I’d decided to do it, I thought about what I could present that may be helpful to other tree officers and if there was a theme amongst those items to hold it together.
I spent a lot of time looking at how to present and create PowerPoint presentations that weren’t too dull. There is a great Ted talk called ‘death by PowerPoint’ which I found very helpful.
Once I’d got some ideas it was about linking them and getting the timing right. I then spent a lot of time standing in a room on my own practicing the presentation, I went through in full about a dozen times before the day. I focused on the start, memorising the first couple of paragraphs. Mentally I thought if I can get through the beginning, I’ll be alright for the rest.
What did you learn from the experience?
Public speaking isn’t easy but it’s rewarding. I had lots of positive feedback from peers afterwards. I’ll do it again.
What positive impact did it have on you?
It gave me confidence that I should challenge myself and reinforced my belief that we as tree officers should be helping each other out.
You can view all the NTOC’s presentations on the Resource section of the Institute’s website.
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