Tips for Presenting

All of us have sat through great presentations by the keynote speakers (I hope) and some of us (I hope it’s only some) have sat through not-so-great ones.  Recently I found out  several friends are keynoting for various conferences in the next several months, so I thought I’d ask my PLN for suggestions I could share. These folks are not inexperienced presenters, nor am I, but I recently sent in a proposal for the K12online conference  and am currently writing one for ISTE2010 with Michael Wacker (@mwacker), so have been thinking a LOT about presenting in this day and age.

So, I tweeted: If you could counsel a keynoter in what to do/not do, what would you say?

and got these responses VERY quickly!

* You have 30 seconds to engage your audience and set the tone. 1st 30 seconds crucial-audience has short attention span. via @chollingsworth

* Don’t talk too long w/out visuals/multimedia. Tell stories. Use humour. B engaging. Don’t pretend 2 b an expert unless u r one. via @erringreg

* speak slowly and clearly; many folks speed up the word count if they are nervous (and perhaps a shot of tequila immediately before? ;-P) via @unklar

*  Don’t read a powerpoint to audience. Be funny. Have GREAT examples. via @aldtucker

*  eschew the “uhs”; nothing wrong with small periods of silence Via @Unklar

*  I’d say, change your preso from time to time. We’ve probably seen you do this one before. via @teachakidd

* ditto the one above: Big ideas might say the same but new examples and anecdotes/research keeps it fresh and current. Via @shareski

* found it critical to build into keynote time for audience to turn and talk.process what has been presented.have done with 3000 via @stevebarkley

* What not to do: be late, read us the ppoint, tell us teachers over 25 r ignorant digital immigrants & libraries are wasted space via @turrean

* Funniest speaker ever chided audience for using old-fashioned face-to-face networking…at a conference of over 1000 teachers… who had all paid money to hear him speak in person. via @turrean

* Check your ums, have a plan, have vision, change it up, humor, believe in what you are talking about. Via @mjkrugerross

* don’t read the slides; presentation should be ‘text light’; look @ ur audience; have fun! Via @Nsharoff

* Don’t lecture! Don’t have ppt slides full of stats that no one can read! via @JoHart

* Look to the Presentation Zen work of Garr Reynolds 🙂  Via @Digitalmaverick

I also got a very thoughtful email response from a local principal, Bill Sterret, (@billsterrett) who shared some specifics from one of his planned keynotes that included involve the audience and end five minutes early!

In thinking about successful Keynotes and/or presentations I have seen, the ones that resonated with me included some of the following elements:

*   a backchannel that was projected so the audience could see what others found interesting in the talk as it was happening

*   a website where resources relating to the presentation are posted

*   the presentation posted on that website

*   funny or touching personal stories that helped me connect with the presenter and/or the materials being presented

*   real life examples of the points the presenter was making

*   opportunities to extend my understanding of the presenter materials though quick checks (think/pair/share, turn to your neighbor and. . ., respond to this poll, etc.)

As always, I appreciate my PLN’s support and help and the suggestions were great!  Do you have any to add?

One thought on “Tips for Presenting

  1. Paula, I presented today at a conference, and reading these great tips makes me want to go out there and do it again! (I think I did okay, but we can always improve, right?)

    Thanks so much for tapping into the considerable wisdom of your PLN and sharing it out with the world. I am for SURE building some pair & share in next time, and you heard it here first! 😉

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