Filling in 

When anyone asks me what skills I have, which is not very often, I admit to being stumped. I must have some, though I  think they are more amorphous than something like being able to carve wood or play a musical instrument. 

Throughout #CyberFest, however, I have come to realise that I am reasonably skilled at something. Clare, who has helped me enormously behind the scenes with all of the events, has described me as ‘The King of Filling In.’

Something which is more noticeable in online events than physical ones is that the gaps between speakers are much shorter. You don’t have to wait as the next speaker gets up on stage and shuffles their papers. Online, things are almost instant yet throughout the events there have been inevitable times when the speaker runs short of the allotted slot or technical glitches mean that there is the potential for dead air.

This is when my seeming super power steps in. Apparently I have mastered the art of seamlessly filling the unintentional void.  

It’s not that hard really. It helps that I know most of the speakers anyway and as a minimum I have spoken to them in advance but all I have to do is listen to their presentation and jot down a few questions that I would like to ask them or occasional points that would add to what they are saying. As soon as they get to that point where they say ‘any questions’ I step in. Clare is ready for it and makes me appear as if by magic.

I am also able to monitor the questions and comments that come in online. We use this approach rather than allowing individuals to appear on screen to avoid further technical embarrassment (for us, not them!) Using these simple techniques I have never been stuck for words and have managed to keep the conversation interesting and relevant. (I have been told this and so am saying this with confidence.)

This is part of the events that I really enjoy. I try to make my questions easy enough to answer yet challenging enough to make the speaker think. 

I am the King of Filling In.

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