A few months ago, I got into a conversation with DNSBlack of Dirt Nap Squad about the New Player Experience and coaching, and he asked me if I was going to Fanfest. I said, Yes, I am Black, in a very DNSBlack fashion, got very excited. He told me, I’d like you to speak at the Coaching It Up In New Eden seminar, and gave me the link to the 2013 seminar.
Make a 15 minute presentation, he said. 3 or 4 slides. Take 15 minutes and talk about how you help new players learn that null sec is not scary.
Sounds easy. You like to talk.
So two months later, with TuxedoMask asking me almost daily, How’s your powerpoint doing? It’s fine, I say. But I am at a loss. I am on revision 4. I think it’s terrible. I’m not sure what to do and I have 2 weeks to go before Fanfest.
Deep breaths, Bren. Work smarter, not harder.
Right. So I do my presentation in Teamspeak to a dozen OUCH instructors and asked each of them to give me feedback. They were awesome. Gave me a lot of great advice. I took a page of notes and refreshed, I started to write my slides once again.
And they sucked.
So I reassess. I write pretty well. I blog. I write long posts on my corp forum, clearly and concisely. I speak pretty well in front of people. Why am I all tied up about this? Why can’t I make this stupid presentation?
A week before Fanfest, I wrote my presentation like I was writing a blog post. 2 pages long. I spent the week rereading it over and over so I got all my points. I sent a copy to Jak so I would make sure I had a copy if my luggage got lost or stolen. I was ready.
Sitting on the stage waiting for my turn to talk, I pulled out my speech for one last review. I was pumped. I was ready. My left hand was shaking.
Better not hold the paper in your hand.
Right. DNSBlack introduces me to a room of about 200 people. He tells me I have 10 minutes. I have 15 minutes of material. No pressure. I stand , I smile. I introduce myself. My presentation goes out the effing window.
I talk. I pace back and forth like like a tiger in a cage. I am so full of adrenaline that I will explode if I stand still. I tell people about my corp. My fraternity of guys and gals who teach people that null sec is not scary. My fellow pilots in OUCH who mentor and coach new players everyday. I sell my corporation and ask every pilot in Eve watching me to do what we do. Help CCP increase the player base by not being so hard on the new guy.
I have three points I want to cover, about what it takes to be an effective mentor. Black tells me I have two minutes left and I’ve only covered the first one, which was kind of two points, Have a high level of knowledge and share it. Don’t keep secrets. I skip my second point, which is have high standards for yourself and your proteges. I finish with the major point.
In order to be an effective coach, you have to care about other people. I know it’s contrary to the HTFU attitude that the player base kind of promotes, but it you care about other people’s development, you can help me, you can help CCP, you can help us all.
And I end it there. Put a fork in me and I am done. I smile. I wave. The crowd applauds politely. I walk back and take my seat and I hope that I haven’t totally embarrassed myself, my corp or DNSBlack, who gave me this opportunity to speak.