One of my favorite moments in football is the “hurry-up offense.” It’s usually employed by the trailing team late in the fourth quarter. The quarterback quickly moves his offense from one play to the next, without a huddle, in an effort to score before time runs out. As Paul Julmiste says "The quarterback has to be the calmest and coolest guy on the field." No 30-second countdown for him, but instead, a game plan that keeps up the momentum for a win.
There are many reasons why I would not succeed as a quarterback, but one of them is my love for slow, methodical preparation. Typically, I like to arrive one hour prior to a presentation, so that I have plenty of time to organize my materials, check technology and start greeting audience members. But at tomorrow’s conference I have just 15 minutes from when a previous session ends until my official start time. No leisurely countdown clock for me. So here is how I am going to pull it off:
1. My materials will be pre-sorted onto plastic plates, 1 per table. Plastic plates are easy to take on an airplane (rather than a plastic box of supplies for each table,) and I use them for a brainstorming activity called Pass the Plate. They can hold markers, sticky notes, business cards, Doodle Sheets – everything I want each table to have.
2. Envelopes that need to be hung for an activity called Mad Dash will already have tape on the back, ready to be slapped onto the wall.
3. My handouts will be counted out in advance for each table, ready to be distributed.
3. Every program and website that I need to use will be open on my computer so that once I am connected to the projector I will only need to plug in my power cord.
4. Most importantly, I am going to connect with people by asking them to help me put out my materials. It can be a positive, bonding experience for participants – a “feel good” moment in a long conference day. I learned that I don’t need to do it all by myself – I can have a team of support if I simply ask.
Do you have a game plan for setting up quickly?
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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