Wait Til Next Year

Well, following up from my speech to Engineering Open House on Saturday, I think it went… well it went.

I made the speechgiver’s fatal mistake – writing out the speech (which needs some serious copy editing), bucking all conventional wisdom. Of course, I’ve never been one for conventional wisdom. I wanted a bit better put together pep talk and I thought I could get away with it. My short-term memory is decent – and I thought that writing down some key highlights would trigger things. Unfortunately, as I remarked to one of the sessions in a self-deprecating moment, that “I now remember why I never took notes in College, because I soon as I write something down, I forget it” – well I did.

The first session was a trainwreck. Hopefully I gave them some feeling of excitement, but I don’t know.

Interestingly enough though, after the trainwreck, they asked Kathy a number of good questions. Later, as I started reading more of my speech, and just becoming comfortable by the third or fourth session, they stopped asking questions.

Kathy did great though. Real numbers, real specifics – real information the parents and students needed to know.

I’ve always felt that powerpoint for speaker’s notes was a crutch. Next year I’ll be on crutches (but maybe that will give me some screenshots and graphs or something).

In other impressions:

  • Always know where the building’s bathrooms are – you will get asked
  • An awful lot of people want to buy Dell. Sadly, our support experiences with Dell laptops in the Student Owned Computing program have been terrible. At best.
  • I really wish I knew how much of the campus (percentage wise) is covered by a wireless signal. We have these maps – but I don’t really have a percentage. I was saying 25% – but I think that’s tremendously generous
  • I’m either speaking in complete generalities (read the speech) or so impossibly detailed it’s not funny. I wonder if that’s the hallmark of a scientific bent. How do I come up for air from the details of what I do and make it accessible without being generic? That’s my holy grail
  • I always come away from those things with a sense of awe at the fact that these parents and students are about to add a $2000-$2500 device that you carry in a bookbag – to a cost of attending NCSU that’s marked at $12,000-$13,000 per year. I put myself through NC State when the cost was much lower, and I would have struggled to buy a laptop. What in the world can my group do to make it worth their while? Maybe that’s my Holy Grail
  • I made the mistake of saying that NCSU MAE had a stock car. This isn’t true. We do however have a Legends car. Which is actually cooler if you think about it

Well, in true Charlie Brown fashion. “Wait until next year”

Of course, that’s what I said last year.