Family History Research

Book Review – Approaching the Lectern

on September 3, 2010

Thomas MacEntee, owner of The Connected Genealogist, recently gave me a review copy of his book Approaching the Lectern, which you can buy at his Lulu Storefront. If you have followed my blogs, you know I have recently made the transition from hobbyist genealogist to professional. One of my business goals is to educate. One way I am going to make that happen is to teach a Beginning Genealogy class at my local park district over the winter. It has been a few years since I did any major public speaking or developed training materials from which I could teach. Thomas’s book has given me new tools to prepare my presentation, give my presentation, and build my reputation as a professional genealogist.

His book is divided into eight chapters: Why be a Genealogical Speaker?; Take Inventory and Document Your Reputation; Building Your Presentation; Building Speaking Skills; Dealing with Disaster; Virtual Presentations; Building Your Business; and Marketing Your Business. Need some additional information on the chapter you are reading? Thomas provides reference links with more information.  Additionally, every chapter ends with a fantastic conclusion to reiterate the important points and a To-Do list!

I will not give the whole book away but there are a several points that really hit home for me.

  • Create a bio and resume for myself.  I have a resume for my career life, but did not, until recently, have one that specifically pertained to my genealogical accomplishments and education. The list of possible items to include on a resume is long and really made me see where I am lacking and what I need to focus on. That list of possible items can also be made into a goal sheet to help me keep track of what I have done and what I want to do.
  • Create presentation slides. In my past life as a database administrator/creator, report writer, and trainer, I became accustomed to having each training attendee sit in front of a computer while I navigate the main computer projected on a screen. I walked through the new features of an area we were rolling out, explained the process, and answered questions. Genealogical speaking or teaching requires a different perspective.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Thomas provides many excellent tips to prepare you to give your presentation.
  • The tips about disaster preparedness are important. This chapter gave me a good “heads-up” on things I have not even thought of yet because I am not that close to my first presentation.
  • Speaking for a fee or for free? As a new professional  this chapter gave me many ideas on where to begin.
  • And finally, the Marketing Chapter provides some wonderful suggestions to promote yourself and your business. Some of the suggestions I already incorporate into my business, others I need to add to my to-do list.

I encourage you to read Thomas’s book, Approaching the Lectern if you would like new tools, or a refresher on things you already knew, to become a better speaker and business person.  This is a book you can read many times as your business changes. Each time you read it you will find that one piece of “new” information you did not need last time you looked at it. This book will remain on my shelf as a reference for a long time. Thank you Thomas for providing such a wonderful resource!

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One response to “Book Review – Approaching the Lectern

  1. Thank you for this very useful review, with practical tips from your own experience! ;-)

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