On finding a place and space to reflect

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently, for those following the Copyright Literacy blog, it’s been a fairly hectic few months. Since starting my new job in April I’ve been to Latvia to speak at a Media Literacy conference in Riga, I’ve been to Southampton Solent to the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. Then I’ve been to pretty much every CILIP conference going (the CILIP Copyright Conference in April, CILIP Wales in Llandudno in May, CILIP Scotland in Dundee in June and the main CILIP Conference in Manchester in July). At pretty much all these events I was speaking about copyright education and the work I’ve been doing with Chris Morrison. And in fact in less than two weeks the road trip continues as we’re off to Wroclaw, Poland to speak at an IFLA joint offsite meeting organised by the Copyright and Legal Matters Advisory Committee and Information Literacy Section Committee. We had an exciting July as we launched version 2.0 of Copyright the Card Game. The content has been updated and amended and the cards have been re-designed with a more professional brand. We even have a colour palette which I am particularly pleased about because I had a lot of input into that.

However, one thing that has become clear to me over the last few months is that I’m not employed as a library and information professional anymore (arguably I wasn’t really at LSE I suppose!) and so I’ve been thinking a lot about my interests and how they might be evolving. I remain interested in copyright, information and digital literacy as it’s such an important part of learning. I can see that not knowing how to find, manage or use information can seriously hamper people’s chances of success. Understanding copyright is not central to all disciplines, but it does impact on many lecturers and teachers when they share content with their students or with colleagues. It also is something that students need to think about not just in creative subjects, as they are increasingly producing content they want to share online.

I’m about to start teaching in early September for real (I’ve dabbled a bit over the last few months), on the Learning, Teaching and Assessment module of the MA in Academic Practice at City, University of London. I’ll be teaching about learning theories, learning environments and approaches to teaching in the first workshop. In preparation I’ve been reading up on educational development and learning theory (it has been a while since I studied this stuff!) I’ve been drawn to the work of Donald Schon, partly because I see him on our reading list, partly because I think reflection is really important, and also because I’ve started to read what he had to say about change.  I remembered how Emma quoted from him in her ANCIL theoretical background report – she used this quote to preface the study:

[O]ur society and all of its institutions are in continuing processes of transformation ….We must learn to understand, guide, influence and manage these transformations. We must make the capacity for undertaking them integral to ourselves and to our institutions. We must, in other words, become adept at learning.” Donald Schon, 1973.
Schon also wrote about reflective practice, which is hugely influential in educational development. The idea of reflecting in and on action, is something many of us may do as teachers. Reflecting in action is sometimes described as ‘thinking on our feet’ and involves looking to our experiences, our feelings, and attending to the theories that influence us. Through this we can build new understandings to inform our actions in a situation, as it unfolds. However I think the important thing is to ensure we record these experience, observations and feelings soon after they happen, to really benefit from them. This is what Schon called ‘reflecting on action’ where we write up, talk through with a colleague and explore why we did what we did. This is really important to help us develop our own ideas and questions about our practice. I think you can avoid being overly critical when things go wrong, but reflection is so important to help us improve our practice.

Change, transformations and adaptation are a good thing, but they can be hard work, so it is important to reflect on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we are heading. With that in mind I’m working on adapting one of the resources I developed in my copyright education, on creative approaches to learning. It’s a new set of cards, so far there are just three suits, but I am working on a fourth, to make it a nice compliment to the copyright card game. I have cards for learning theories and for learning (or teaching) approaches. I plan to create a set of cards for learning environments (lecture theatres, online learning, flexible classroom), and then perhaps I need discipline and level of students, which is of course where any planning needs to start. I don’t think teaching is a pick and mix approach, but I think that being exposed to a variety of different scenarios and approaches helps teachers come up with some more creative approaches to learning. So many of the lecturers at City I’ve spoken to recently are concerned about student engagement and relying on lectures and expecting students to do further reading is pretty much the bare minimum these days. It’s difficult, because we don’t want to fall into the rhetoric of saying that our learners have changed and need more engaging teaching, as we have further evidence that digital natives do not exist from Kirschner and De Bruyckere. But I think student expectations have changed, with far greater numbers of students coming into higher education, from a wider variety of backgrounds, we can’t afford to be complacent and adopt a sink or swim approach. We owe it to all our students to help them be the very best they can, and that means helping the lecturers be as best they can too. I hope that is what I’m going to do this term!

It really has been quite a period of change and on my days I don’t work for City I’ve started doing some freelance work, including some copyright consultancy for several universities. I am also in the middle of a great project working with Learning on Screen to better understand the needs of the education sector for copyright advice related to audiovisual materials. It’s great to work with friends and Team J’seskimo as we jokingly called ourselves (Lisa Jeskins, Chris and I) have run a survey, two focus groups and are currently in the middle of telephone interviews and analysing the survey data.

And not being a librarian has finally meant I need to start addressing some of my short comings. I am fed up with being dreadful at organising my own information, particularly my paperwork, but generally all my stuff. I’m a bit of a hoarder and I am desperate to change. Having so many things to juggle means I have to be better organised and so I’ve been using some leave to have a house tidy up and clear out. I’m not exactly embracing Marie Kondo principles, but I do keep repeating William Morris’s saying of having ‘nothing in your house that is not beautiful or useful’. It’s a slow and painful process, one room at a time, but I do think that to organise my mind, I need to de-clutter and be surrounded by the things I need and love to inspire me (although I don’t need two cats sitting on my desk and paperwork all the time). I’ve also decided to sign up for a mindfulness course. I’m hopeless at switching off. My idea of taking a break recently has involved just having two devices on the go and not looking at Twitter for 15 minutes. However, I realise to think clearly I need to get outside much more and start walking and being in green places, visiting gardens and going on long walks by the sea. A few days down in Dorset earlier in the week showed me that and then I read this article on walking.

I’m looking forward to autumn, I’m sure there will be plenty going on and plenty of challenges along the way. I’ll be making time for reflection, sharing my successes and failures (I love that Thomas Edison quote about not failing but finding 10,000 ways that don’t work!). I’ll hopefully be a bit better organised, and more mindful, but most of all I know I will be learning a lot along the way.

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Reflecting on a transformation

I was delighted a few months ago to find out I had been nominated for the Informed Peer Recognition Award, nominated by Emily Shields, Lisa Jeskins, Rosie Jones and my other wonderful friends on the LILAC committee. It came at a time of transition for me, as I am starting a new job, as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London. I’ve worked at LSE for over 15 years so this is a big change, but a move I had been thinking about for quite some time. I was asked by Jennie to write something about getting this award and I immediately thought of a talk I prepared last December when I was invited to the University of Ulster, to speak to the librarianship students. In preparing that talk I reflected on my career path to date. So I thought at this moment in time it was appropriate to write a blog post and I rather suspected it might be quite long! So if you don’t read it all, I won’t be offended because it has been a valuable process for me, to write down my journey. In doing this, I don’t want to make it seem like I had a grand plan, as I said in Ulster to the students, I often did things because I was interested in them or because opportunities came my way. Moving to City has however been about following my heart and finding a job where I can spend more time being able to teach and do research, which for means means making a transition to being an academic. It also means letting go of being a copyright advisor, something I love, and not being an information literacy practitioner. But I think it’s the right thing to do and I’m really excited about this journey and my research interests so will travel with me – I should have more time to work on them too! Working out what I really wanted to do was also a large part down to being on the Aurora Programme which I started in October last year and and finished in February 2017. I knew I wanted a change, but Aurora gave me the confidence and kick to do something about it, and getting my new job was partly down to a chance discussions with my new head of department Susannah, who is a role model on Aurora.
However to go back to the beginning of my career, like many others I fell into librarianship. I once wrote a blog post about how my decision to be a librarian was based on my inherent dislike of swimming underwater in the sea (I don’t like fish!) and the fact it didn’t require me to purchase a wetsuit. When trying to get a place through clearing after missing my A levels grades to go to Cardiff University, it was a choice between history and marine archeology at Bangor or history and librarianship in Aberystwyth. Never one for extreme sports, and frankly always liking books, I choose librarianship, with the explicit understanding I would be able to drop the subject after one year and study single honours history. But you know, after one year, it had started to get interesting, and I actually did rather well in the end of first year exams. The course had a lot about emerging internet technologies and elements of media studies in it, and (much to my parents delight) it added a vocational element to the otherwise pointless (in their view) history degree. I toyed with the idea of being an archivist, although a summer placement at a record office put me off, largely because I started to see that librarianship and helping people get access to all sorts of information was something I really cared about. I have always loved history, because history is about evidence,  arguments, and building up a picture of what might have happened in the past, while taking into account things such as bias and propaganda. But for me history was not about old documents, it was about the people and personalities and trying to understand what motivated them. Looking back I see it’s these things that have always been central to my interests – people, access to information (and learning) and the need to be discerning about what we read and what people tell us. I guess I am skeptical at heart and like to see some evidence before believing in anything!

On following your heart

Jane in RomeSome of you know I’ve been on the Aurora programme since October. It’s a women’s leadership course and I’m enjoying it immensely, not least because of the wonderful women I’ve met, the inspiring workshops and the great readings and resources you get introduced to. I love a Ted Talk and its difficult to know which I’ve enjoyed most, from Amy Cuddy to Hillary Clinton. This week I particularly enjoyed Simon Sinek on what makes for successful leadership and starting with why and Dan Pink on ‘drive.’ What has really resonated with me is focusing on why we do things, not so much what we do when trying to explain it to people.

It became clear to me last year that I love teaching and research and inspiring others to use information and technology for their own and others learning. So I’m delighted to be able to officially announce that from mid April I’ll be following my heart, taking up a new role at City University, as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development based in Learning Enhancement and Academic Development(LEaD). I’ll be focusing on educational technologies, digital literacy and hopefully looking to support and develop open practices. Its going to be a really exciting opportunity as I’ll also have more time to pursue the things that interest me, as the post is 3 days a week. But I’m really excited to be joining such a great team, and of course just moving up the road!

I’m going to be very sad to leave LSE where I’ve worked for 15 years. I have wonderful friends and colleagues and I’ve loved working here. LSE has given me so much, including the ability to have considerable autonomy to learn and develop myself, while providing copyright and digital literacy advice for the institution. But its time for me to do something new and I’m not leaving anything behind, but building on all my experience and networks. Copyright and information literacy remain my passion and I’ll be infusing all I do at City with that perspective. I’ll continue my professional work in both these areas, remaining the Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and staying firmly involved in the UUK Copyright Working group. So it is onwards and upwards for me and I hope you will follow me on my next step in the journey of life!

The UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group: a personal perspective

jane03I was speaking to a colleague recently who was delighted to hear about the increase in the extent limits from 5% to 10% in the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) recently revised Licence for the higher education sector and she asked how this had come about. In a rather flippant way I said, ‘I did that’ and she laughed thinking I was joking. And then I thought about it for a moment, and then said ‘no in fact I did do that, through my work on the Universities UK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group. Of course it was not all my work, there is a team of us, and I am just one of the group, but collectively this is something our group did achieve for the higher education sector this year, through our hard work and negotiations over the past three years with the CLA. One of the meetings was with publishers where we strongly argued the case for increasing the extent limits along with a wider ‘wishlist’ of requests from the HE sector. The requests had been gathered during a workshop in July 2015 which was attended by over 40 university copyright officers and I helped to organise.

My colleagues know I disappear about four times a year up to Woburn House where UUK is based and I usually report back that we had a meeting with the CLA or another collecting society – we do also meet the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) and respond to various consultations on copyright matters from the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Most recently I was one of four members of the group who attended a meeting at the IPO about Brexit and the copyright implications for universities. However, in the run up to August this year, when the new CLA Licence was finally launched, the UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group meetings became more frequent and I did help with quite a number of pieces of work, such as reviewing the user guidelines for the sector and being on a group reviewing the set up of a new optional service for universities called the Digital Content Store.

A chance comment from my colleague made me realise that it was important to write more about why I am on this group, what we do, and why it’s so important to LSE and the HE sector as a whole. It’s also one of the most rewarding external committees that I am part of, and one that over the years has really tested my abilities to negotiate, stay calm under pressure and deal with people and organisations who sometimes have polar opposite opinions on matters relating to copyright, educational exceptions and licensing for the sector. But it’s also an example of what can be achieved through setting those differences aside and trying to work for the common good.

What is the UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group

The CWG was established by the then Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principles and the Standing Committee of Principles (now Universities UK and Guild HE) in anticipation of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. The act provided for the copying of strictly limited extracts of copyright material for teaching purposes. THE CLA developed a licence to permit educational establishments to produce multiple copies under this provision in return for a payment based on the number of full time equivalent students at each higher education institution. Initially, the CWG that negotiated the terms of the licence was chaired by the then Vice Chancellor of York University and subsequently by David a former senior policy advisor at UUK. In the early years of the operation of the licence the production of multiple course packs was not permitted. To do so required separate permission and payment under a transactional arrangement. This and other unsatisfactory aspects of the licence eventually led the group to advise UUK/ Guild HE in 2001 to refer the terms of the licence to the Copyright Tribunal as permitted by the 1988 Act. Its ruling favoured the case of the HE sector and the terms of the licence was modified and greatly improved along with its cost. In 1999 the CWG collaborated with JISC and the CLA in the development of a licence permitting photocopying, scanning and digitisation of copyright material. Further background and the history of the CLA Licence is outlined in a paper by Sol Picciotto.

Why did I join the group?

it was into this world that I was introduced in 2000 when I joined University College London working on developing a trial electronic course pack service as part of the Access to Core Course Materials project. For 18 months I lived and breathed all things related to copyright, digitising course materials (both published and lecturer produced content) and became extremely familiar with the controversy surrounding digitisation and course pack copying. My developing interest and experience in this subject led me in 2002 to move to LSE to manage their fledgling electronic course pack service, provide copyright advice for staff using learning technologies and over the next 6 years I developed this service which went from strength to strength, promoting it to academic staff at LSE until we could barely cope with the demand for it. I became the Chair of the Heron User group in 2002, because of my interest in the field and the use of the Heron services at LSE, to help us scale up our scanned reading service. Heron were offering copyright clearance and digitisation services to the HE sector and I worked with the Technical Manager, George Pitcher to develop what started out as an in-house tool to manage our scanning and clearance services. That tool became Packtracker and it was subsequently launched for use in other universities to help them manage their copyright permissions and scanning. But I remember vividly trying to explain what I wanted a system to do to George and him saying in a matter of fact way to me, I can build you that. It is worth noting that it was in part that tool that has inspired the CLA to develop the Digital Content Store, which was launched this year for the HE sector.

And it was due to my experience of chairing the Heron User Group meeting that David first asked me to attend a UUK Copyright Working Group meeting in 2004. I have a suspicion it was on the recommendation of Charles Oppenheim (at the time a CWG member along with Sol Piccitto and Toby Bainton) whom I knew through LIS-Copyseek events. David was looking for more on the ground experience of the impact of some of the decisions that the new, enhanced blanket scanning licence might have. One of those requirements was full reporting of all the scans undertaken by a university on an annual basis. After attending a meeting I realised fairly quickly that the CWG had not entirely appreciated the administrative burden to which they had committed librarians in the collection of this data. I first attended the pre-meetings held at UUK, where I was conscious not only of the seniority of the rest of the group, but also their expertise in copyright matters. It was an amazing learning experience and I hope I demonstrated in those early days that practical on the ground experience was at least as important as detailed knowledge of copyright law. After one pre-meeting in around 2005 I recall David said to me, ‘I think you need to become a member of the CWG’ and that was when I really felt like I had made it! One of the first things I did was to suggest another academic librarian might join our ranks, and Lyn Parker who was then managing the scanned readings service at the University of Sheffield and a member of the Heron Committee, joined the group. Lyn and I served together on this group for many years until her retirement in 2012 and we were also joined by Linda Purdy from Sheffield Hallam. Steve Bowman was a lively member of the group for several years while working at the Director of Library Services at Ravensbourne College. And in latter years, the late Lawrence Bebbington was an important member of our group, who was always robust in pre-meetings and in negotiations with CLA.

What does the CWG do?

copyright-officers-in-canterburyOur group has two main purposes which is to negotiate blanket licences for the HE sector with organisations such as CLA and ERA and to respond to UK and European consultations on copyright matters on behalf of Universities UK. In these latter activities we often liaise with other groups in the library sector, such as SCONUL and the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), of which I am also a member, to collaborate on our responses.  When negotiating licences we need to represent a diverse range of universities which are either UUK or Guild HE members (or both). The alternative would be each university would need to negotiate the terms and the price separately and while the deal is seen as high for some institutions, overall through negotiating for the sector as a whole we believe that we get a better deal. Our challenge is to represent the diverse needs of the sector and we are increasingly trying to be more visible as a group and to encourage individuals to get in touch with us with feedback. We periodically ask for feedback and carry out surveys or small pieces of research to understand what universities need or how a licence might be meeting they needs. Our current CWG comprises Chris Morrison, Kate Vasili, Monique Ritchie, Ralph Weedon, David Farley, Sam Roseveare, Neil Sprunt, Ruth Macmillan and Cat Turhan, myself and David. Sol Picciotto and Toby Bainton continue as corresponding members.

Why does it matter to LSE and the sector?

Access to copyright material is essential for teaching, learning and research. Universities couldn’t teach effectively without a CLA Licence if they want to deliver multiple copies of paper or digital copyright resources to students in a timely and cost efficient manner. While we might like to think all readings are now available in electronic format, that simply isn’t the case. There are also times when purchasing an electronic journal title for one article that is needed for one course, is also not cost effective or practical and here the CLA Licence can be used. Over the years we have tried to streamline the process, and cut down on the reporting that needs to be done. The most recent negotiations involved working with CLA over the development of a reporting tool for the sector, called the Digital Content Store, which allows us to share readings and hopefully reduces the burden of administration to HEIs.

As a whole the CLA collect over £14 million from the HE sector, but the vast majority of that money is distributed back to authors, to publishers and to artists and designers to compensate them for the copying that is done of their work. I  encourage academics to sign up to the Authors Licensing Collecting Society (ALCS), which is the way they will receive their share of these payments for the copying of their work. And if they really don’t agree with this model, then it is all the more reason to make their publications available on open access so they can be used freely. My work on the UUK Copyright Working Group means that the needs of LSE are taken into account when licences are negotiated and the members have important role to play working for the sector as a whole. Being on this group has developed my knowledge of copyright matters enormously and allowed me to establish LSE’s reputation for a high quality copyright and digitisation service. We also got to be part of the pilot to test out the CLA’s Digital Content Store. I also have access to a fantastic networks of colleagues, several of whom more recently I recommended were invited to join the group! I appreciate the time LSE gives me to work on this group, and I know that we benefit and are contributing to improving copyright and licensing matters for the education sector as a whole.

ECIL in Prague: copyright literacy and digital inclusion

Jane on the Charles BridgeI’m really excited to be presenting at the European Conference on Information Literacy which this year is being held in Prague from 10th -14th October. This is the fourth conference and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year since the conference started in 2013 in Istanbul. I went to Dubrovnik in 2014, Tallinn in 2015 and this year I am in Prague. The focus of the conference is information literacy, and many papers address issues related to digital literacy as well. It’s a European conference but in fact people come from all over the world, so it’s a fantastic place to get a global perspective on the work I do at LSE to support staff and students develop their digital literacy. The conference also has a strong link with the work I do to provide support and education in copyright matters. This year there are nearly 300 delegates from over 50 countries with just 19 from the UK. The conference theme is about information literacy in the inclusive society and we’ve had keynotes from Tara Brabazon and Jan Van Dijk.

I am presenting twice at the conference, firstly in a panel session that was held on Monday, based on outreach and advocacy work I do as Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG). My co-presenters were Sharon Wagg from the Tinder Foundation, who are a charity who work to promote digital inclusion, and Stephane Goldstein, who as well as being a freelance consultant, is the Advocacy and Outreach Officer for the ILG. In our panel we discussed some recent collaborations between librarians in academic sector with those in public libraries, to share their experiences of helping to develop digital literacies and promote digital inclusion. The TeachMeet events ILG and Tinder Foundation organised earlier in the year were a great way that academic and public librarians could share ideas and experience. I was delighted that two colleagues from LSE Library, Andra Fry and Sonia Gomes, attended one of these events in February to share our experiences from the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) programme we were running for three years, to support LSE undergraduates. The panel discussion encouraged participants to share any digital inclusion initiatives they were involved in around the world. We also discussed what made these collaborations successful and why there might be problems and challenges working in this space. Sharon highlighted the Tinder Foundation’s work with libraries through their digital inclusion fund and it was inspiring to hear about work to support the most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly, job seekers and refugees develop basic and more advanced digital skills.

Astronomical clockECIL is also the spiritual home of copyright literacy, as this was where I first heard about the work of Tania Todorova and her colleagues to survey librarians on a country basis about their knowledge of copyright and requirements for education in this field. This was back in 2014 in Dubrovnik and last year Chris and I presented the UK survey results in Tallinn. This year I’m returning to present our latest research, exploring the experiences of UK librarians of copyright, using a research method used in education and information literacy called phenomenography. It’s still early days – we carried out 3 focus groups in higher education and have been juggling work and some pretty intensive data analysis. As neither of us had used phenomenography before we are grateful to the help and advice we received from Emma Coonan and Lauren Smith, as well as several very useful articles they pointed us to. I’m sharing our slides from the ECIL presentation which I delivered on Tuesday morning. It has also been great to catch up with Tania, Serap, Joumana and several of the people who undertook the copyright literacy survey in their own country. Part of what motivated Chris and I to do this research was to understand the fear and anxiety that copyright can create, to look at why it’s a topic many in higher education shy away from learning more about, and use this data to better inform how we develop copyright education. I was struck once again by how important it is to get an international perspective on the work we do, and to see in many cases there are so many things we can learn from others experiences and so much that unites us in our work.

Presenting at ECIL 2015The research and collaboration with Chris has informed my thinking about the best way to provide support for others with copyright queries at LSE. For example, I now use a Copyright Card Game in my workshops, which are a fun and engaging way to learn about copyright. However, being seen as ‘the copyright expert’ can be quite a lonely place, and for me it is important that everyone learns a bit about copyright. This is partly what has motivated me to set up a Copyright Community of Practice at LSE (admittedly I did borrow this idea from Chris who set one up at Kent over the summer). The next session is going to be on the 4th November and it is open to any member of staff at LSE! Meanwhile I will enjoy a few more days in beautiful Prague and return to LSE full of more ideas and possibilities to enhance the support that we provide!

The Publishing Trap: case study and video now online

Chris and I wrote a short blog post earlier in the year about the prototype game that we pitched at LILAC 2016, called the Publishing Trap. This week the CILIP Information Literacy group have published a case study about our game on their website. The games competition, Lagadothon is running at next year’s conference so they asked us to make a video to encourage others to enter the competition and tell you more about our game. Let us know what you think as our video is below:

The game was inspired by our work on Copyright the Card Game, and we decided to create a new game aimed at academics, PhD students and researchers to help them understand the scholarly communication process and the impact of the choices they make when disseminating their research findings.  The Publishing Trap won a runner’s up prize and the IL case study describes the aim of the game, how the game works and our ideas about the game to date.

Of dreams and nightmares and vulnerability

IMG_5301Next week I’ll keynote the Association for Learning Technology’s annual conference – ALT-C. Yes I hear you say, so what, big deal, Jane you do talks all the time. Hmmm yes, right I do, but this one is big (450 people coming this year), and a lot of my friends and colleagues attend. And I’m a keynote, up there with some pretty big names – Ian Livingstone no less, but also Josie Fraser, Donna Lanclos, Dave White and Lia Commissar. It’s fair to say I have been nervous about this since I was invited by Nic Whitton in early April. Nervous, but also slightly thrilled at being given the opportunity to do a keynote and to challenge myself. It’s really easy to stay in our comfort zone and talk to audiences we know, about projects we’ve worked on, to relatively small, friendly audiences. That is not to say ALT-C is not a conference I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve attended about 4 or 5 times since I started working in the learning technology field back in 2000. I also do know lots of learning technologists – after all I work with them every day! I can speak their language. However, I’m going to talk to them about copyright and I need to try and get them fired up about it!

In reality I have only had one nightmare, which I joked about last week on twitter. In my dream the podium was too high, the audience couldn’t hear me over some revving cars and the clicker wasn’t working so my slides kept switching at the wrong time. Nothing can be as bad as our nightmares.

So the keynote is written, the slides are finished, the credits have been done and my outfit is chosen and packed. I now just need to get myself in the zone. I’m planning some Amy Cuddy style power posing, a bit of loud 1980s music to get me in the mood (Eye of the Tiger!) and not over-doing it the night before at the conference dinner. Fear of failure is what often stops people doing something new or different. Even down to the way I prepared for this talk I’ve tried a different approach. And I’m also prepared for it not going perfectly. Afterall, as Brene Brown says, we are not perfect, we are human and vulnerability is essential to making connections with others. So if you see me this week and I look a bit distracted, now you know why. Feel free to give me a hug or a thumbs up! But I will come through this, I will enjoy it and I know I’ll make some mistakes and learn a lot. Roll on keynote number 2 eh?