Presentations On My Mind

I enjoy presenting.  I consider myself a decent presenter, so I started thinking about what makes a “good” presentation.  In my mind, a presentation I want to be a part of has three main components to it:

  1. They tell me why I should care.  I can’t tell you how many presentations I’ve been to that halfway through I have no idea why this is important.  Usually when I’m able to sit in a presentation I’ve invested travel time and dollars to be in the room with them.  Please tell me why I should care about what you have to say early on.  That gives me time to switch presentations if what you care about is far from what I care about.  I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for theoretical presentations, but at least let me know that.  My goal when I’m a viewer is to take away one practical application to my life, and if your goal isn’t to provide that I can find something else.
  2. They use their time wisely.  I’m not a rambler…which could be taken as odd for a history teacher.  I like for people to get to the point quickly so that I can begin to contextualize what they’re saying for my particular situation.  Sometimes there are good reasons for people to meander through steam of consciousness stories, but often those are filler.  Anyone who has sat through more than a few presentations knows what is filler to kill time versus what is useful to a presentation.
  3. They leave time at the end.  I believe that a little time at the end of any presentation is beneficial to everyone involved.  Time to chat with the people around me can help me crystallize what was said in the presentation.  A Q&A session at the end allows people to get clarification on points that were made.  Even leaving time to try something that you’ve presented on is helpful.  The constant complaint of teachers is “we don’t have enough time for planning,” so why not let them have a little time to do so?

Anyhow, just some thoughts on presenting.  I’ve probably broken some or all of these at some point during a presentation, but I try not to.

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