I enjoyed reading through Rudaí23, Thing 20 by Liz Keane Kelly. What she says is true: “presentations are as normal as meetings nowadays…”. If only most people who are presenting would remember that it is only a tool used to clarify your idea or information. Just recently I was in a 3-day workshop where the slides used were packed to capacity with information, hard to read, and where the presenter read each and every word from the slides. Yikes, that sends me over the cliff of boredom!
My own efforts at presentations have been few. I once prepared for a Book Talk presentation aimed at a group of children in a private school. They would have been aged between 9 to 11, an international group who mostly use English as a second language. To keep both boys and girls engaged for the 10-min talk, I decided to present Diary of an Ugly Sweater by Cassie Eubank. Christmas was approaching and the book had been released earlier that year. It was my hope that it would engage the children in a lively discussion around feelings. Also that they would enjoy reading this delightful book, finding its value as well as theirs. Well, the book talk never happened. Long story. However, the presentation can be viewed here. Needless to say, my presentation could have been improved upon, since it was one of my earliest attempts. To engage the children I used a few more ‘bells and whistles’ than I would normally like. I planned to use the notes panes to prompt me on what I wanted to say with each slide. The presentation is set to progress with mouse-clicks, to control the timing and the discussion.
Just recently I undertook a presentation for a library when the library manager (where I volunteer) mentioned that the overhead TV needed a new info display. At the library we were all under pressure, with about 10 days’ notice before an IFLA committee viewing of Qatar’s libraries in order to consider Qatar as a potential venue for an annual IFLA conference. At home I had time on my hands, so I tackled it and was humbled when they decided it was good enough to be used as a permanent info display. With this kind of presentation, which you don’t get to present, as it were, the vital info must be imparted to the viewer with a comfortable time-based scroll, so that they have time to assimilate the info in passing, but without getting bored. This (museum) library has a lot of walk-in visitors, both residents and tourists, who often don’t know that the library even exists.
A few years ago, as an English teacher at the British Council, the classrooms had smartboards for us to use. I would imagine that giving a presentation is not much different. We all know there are rules out there to come up with amazing presentations, and having read many over the years, I would be inclined to follow these six that I remember easily, and which are common sense really:
- KNOW your audience; create a presentation to keep them engaged, within the time allocated. Otherwise you’ve lost them, period!
- Don’t overdo the text. (I’ve heard it said no more than 6 words per slide. Extreme or correct? What do you think?)
- Not too many fancy bits, simple is always better (and safer!).
- Know your subject; don’t rely on the presentation to get you through. (What if the power is off and you have to talk anyway?) 😮
- Give credit where credit is due! All the material used – images, clip art, ideas, text – should be referenced.
- Create a handout for AFTER the presentation. Not the entire presentation – you can put that up on Slideshare.net – just the most important points.
Moving on to Thing 21, Creating Infographics. Fun! Thanks for stopping by. 😀
Boring presentation giphy from Giphy.com