Most people who know me or who have met me would not use the term “outgoing” to describe me. However, through the years I have found that, with the right audience, I become a bit of an entertainer. I become more outgoing, even funny. This usually has occurred when I have been conducting a presentation of some sort, and this was the case today at the university.
The guest lectures I am giving at the university deal with rather serious topics – Ethics, Corruption, the U.S. Economy, the IMF, Business Entities, and others. Today I gave two guest lectures, back to back. I was a bit worried that I had over committed myself when I started to put the presentation/lecture materials together, and realized that with these two topics, and an audience with a native language that is not English (and my skills in Russian and Ukrainian not being strong enough to do this in a language other than English), well, activities are not as easy to come up with, and there was a huge amount of material to try to get through.
So I spent perhaps more time than I should have on the materials, went in and figured, here we go. I never know how these will go – sometimes the students are open to interacting, sometimes not. My first topic today was the U.S. Economy, and somehow I entertained them. I think they were more entertained at how I interacted with them than by my presentation itself, but they seemed to be interested in and enjoy the materials, and the delivery. Whew! They even went the entire time without a lot of side conversations, and applauded for me at the end of the class period. That felt good.
Then came the next class – fifth year students, theoretically stronger in English, with the topic of the International Monetary Fund. This went fine, inasmuch as there were three students who were actively participating. The rest just sat there, a few talked, and one fell asleep. Whoa – what a difference from one group to another! Suddenly I felt less sure of my public speaking abilities. So I let the conversation stray from what the IMF does, etc. as they were jumping ahead to how it relates to Ukraine, so I rolled with it. Yet, no applause at the end. I felt a bit let down, but I don’t know if it was by myself or by them.
So today was a day of mixed success regarding my guest lectures. I guess it is better than feeling like a total failure.
Now if only Spring would come…we have had a couple of tastes, but only fleeting glimpses and then it goes away again. On the news this morning they showed Michelle Obama planting vegetables in the White House garden…oh to have weather nice enough for that…