Speaking in public

The first month or so of the New Year is turning out to be quite a busy one in terms of presenting lectures.  Part 1 of a Mobile Genealogist series on Dropbox and Evernote is done, part 2 of the series on the Flip-Pal scanner and cameras is upcoming on February 1, and I will be off to Salt Lake City to present on Evernote at RootsTech the week after. Under development is a lecture for the Fundamentals track of the 2014 Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) Annual Meeting and Seminar on July 26 in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

All these different engagements remind me of my very first talk, given at one of the earliest MGC Annual Meeting & Seminar days, which turned out to be quite memorable.  The head librarian at Boston Public Library’s Microtext Department, where I worked at the time, could not be available and suggested I present on the department’s resources.  My MGC contact mentioned that the meeting averaged about 75 attendees.  The day of the meeting, I discovered the microphone system was not working, and that it was a banner year for MGC with over 200 registered participants for this event.

The talk started off well enough, and I followed a congenial and knowledgeable fellow named Walter Hickey to the podium.  I now know that one should postpone an engagement if it will occur a week after getting over a cold, for on that day I lost my voice after 10 minutes of projecting to a very large hall.  I gamely continued through my notes, and the audience was patient and understanding of a beginning speaker’s mistake.  In particular, I am still grateful to the unknown woman in the front row who popped several cough drops on the podium for me, and to my husband who hand-signaled me from the very back of the room to project more when my volume dropped.

With that speaker’s nightmare under my belt, I don’t get overly nervous about presenting on the day of the talk.  I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in genealogy as well as ideas about using mobile tools for research.  I welcome reader suggestions and comments at alice.kane@nehgs.org, and look forward to meeting fellow genealogy geeks at the Society’s library in Boston.

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About Alice Kane

Alice assists NEHGS constituents with family history research on the 4th floor in the microtext and digital collection area and also serves in the new 1st floor patron services area, orienting and facilitating research for the thousands of first-time visitors to the NEHGS headquarters. Prior to joining the staff, she was a librarian at the Boston Public Library for 19 years. Alice is an expert in Chinese and Chinese-American genealogy and also has extensive experience with French-Canadian, Irish, and German research. She earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Harvard University.

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