Presentation Help Office Hours

When I joined IBM this summer, one of the things I was most looking forward to after years of being self-employed was having a team around me. Well, that team continues to meet my expectations on that front but there's one thing we do as a team which really stands out for me - and which I think others could replicate.

It's called "Presentation Help Office Hours" (alternative title "best meeting of the week" according to my boss!) and the idea is simple. All the advocacy team have a recurring appointment in their calendar for an hour every week where we work on ... presentation things. We set this time aside and work on whatever is going on with talks and team members at the time. Our activities have included:

  • talk rehearsals
  • reviewing abstracts
  • brainstorming ideas for abstracts
  • discussion of presentation tools
  • discussion of which events we might target

It's a very simple idea but all these things have been super helpful to me, especially in my first (quite busy!) conference "season" in a new role with a new team and new technologies to speak about. In particular, having a live audience to rehearse a talk for has been utterly invaluable. The team is pretty diverse but between them, someone can probably suggest some technical changes, someone else will point out that my session ran long and another person might offer some feedback on the slides that accompanied the talk. It doesn't cost anything, different people drop in to the session every week (it's a webinar, we're a globally distributed team) and there's always something different to share.

When we work in teams, having people make the time to show up and lend a hand so that others can improve is one of the major benefits. What are your team doing to collaborate and build their skills togehter? Or what do you wish they were?

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