Part Two – What I learned from Collectives…
This is the second in a series of 3-4 Blog Posts sharing my opinions about what I’ve learned in regards to event planning and execution over the last many years.
I’m parsing information by relationship (Producer-Presenter, Presenter-Producer, Producer-Volunteer, etc…), and this post will focus solely on the relationships of Attendees-Presenters, Presenters-Attendees, and Attendees-Producers (Event)
For the purpose of this writing, I’m defining Attendees as: the individuals who pay to go to a con/event, either by purchasing tickets or by earning comp event passes via other means.
I feel honor bound to disclose some things about my background in regards to presenting
· I’ve been teaching for decades
· I have a professional background in curriculum design
· I teach in myriad settings
· I have a fairly decent level of aptitude in teaching to different learning styles
· I am a professional public speaker
· I have no anxiety about public speaking
· I present at 2-3 BDSM/Sex Positive events a month
· I attend classes just about daily, so I’m in student mode regularly
The Relationship of Attendees – Presenters
In my opinion and experience, the relationship between attendees and presenters is two two-fold. The first fold is that of student - teacher, the second-fold is similar to fan – actor.
The relationship of Attendee-Presenter as student to teacher
· Presenters wouldn’t have a job without you there
· It’s generally OK to be late, come in and out of a class, and the like, but do your best to do so respectfully
· Some classes are specific about no late entries and no ins and outs. If you, like me, tend to wander at events, then maybe that isn’t the class for you.
o Doesn’t make the presenter an asshole
o Makes the class a poor match
· Bring a notebook, ipad, netbook or some other means of recording your thoughts on ‘paper’ – not all presenters give handouts
· Do not take audio or video recordings of classes
o Even if you are sneaky and surreptitious about it – you will be found out and will be considered an extreme douchenozzle
· Your orientation doesn’t suddenly change if you work with someone in a hands-on class who is on a spectrum you wouldn’t necessarily play with
· Presenters are people – they come in many different shapes, styles, and with diverse backgrounds.
o It’s very possible for someone to be a good or even great presenter and for you not to resonate with them – doesn’t mean they can’t present
o Just because you don’t grok one doesn’t mean that person can’t teach
o Sometimes it does, however, so when you give your feedback on the class, be clear, concise and as compassionate as you are able
· A class can flop and the presenter still be a good presenter
· If you have a question, raise your hand and ask it! Most presenters welcome questions
· Most presenters I know look at demo bottoms and demo tops as integral, important and relevant aspects of their classes
o That doesn’t make you play partners
o But it might J
· So you think you can do it better?
· Get out there and teach
· Some words on class feedback
o Answer the scale questions for sure
o Add your written comments legibly
o Producers who ask for written comments read them
o If a presenter specifies that s/he is open to receiving feedback, gives a way to contact them, and then asks the class to do so – and you have something to say, say it!
The Relationship of Attendee – Presenter as fan – actor
· Being at an event with a presenter a couple of times doesn’t make you their friend
· Being introduced to a presenter doesn’t make you their friend
· Demo bottoming for a presenter doesn’t make you their friend
· Following a presenter on Twitter doesn’t make you their friend
· What makes you a presenter’s friend is…. Wait for it – being their friend! Since presenters are people, that will have different meanings
· Most presenters I know welcome questions and conversations
o That said, they may not be able to speak with you at the time you want
o Ask for time first
· Don’t interrupt a presenter while they are playing in the dungeon – whether they are topping or bottoming
o And thank you
· If you’ve been introduced to a presenter a couple of times at events, and they don’t remember you the third time you meet, it’s not because the presenter is an asshole.
o It’s likely that the presenter is trying to place you in a very large stream of people, events, contexts, classes, etc…
o There are a lot more of you then there are of them
o That’s Ok
· Presenters like to know that their messages and teaching are getting through to people – if you appreciate something you’ve learned from one, and you can do so, let him/her know
· You are not owed time/attention/conversation/play by presenters
· You can get time/attention/conversation/play with presenters
The Relationship of Presenters – Attendees
In my opinion and experience, the relationship between presenters and attendees is two two-fold. The first fold is that of teacher - student, the second-fold is similar to actor – fan.
Please note that, as a person who has a long history with pedagogical techniques, I may refer to some here, but the point of this post isn’t to actually give the how-to-s of pedagogy. That, my friends, would require a series of workshops.
Presenter as Actor, Student as Fan
· Be polite
· Say please and thank you
· People are watching you – so you need to be at least on good behavior
· Sometimes people read your blog, or follow your twitter stream, and pay a lot of attention to it
· Sometimes those people will ask you specific, personal questions
· More often than not these people aren’t stalkers – they are just very interested in you
· You aren’t better than anyone
· Even the first-time attendee who doesn’t know who you are
· It’s OK to say ‘I can’t talk right now’ to someone
· If you contract to have the conversation at a later time, have it
· You are doing something that, in some people’s eyes, is not only important, it’s something they would never do - doesn’t make you Madonna
· It’s OK to tell someone that you don’t remember their name
· Really, it is
· Shit, I have a friend who forgot her own husband’s name
· If someone interrupts your scene, politely tell them to ‘get the fuck out’
· The attendee you meet today could be the producer who hires you tomorrow – treat everyone respectfully and as though they matter
· Be interested
The next post will explore several archetypes of Presenters in relationship to the art and science of teaching.