I am both a consumer and facilitator of professional learning. My experiences over the past two decades have resulted in a mosaic of learning and inspiration. I love to learn and have taken notes along the way.
It would be impossible to name all of the articles, teachers and sources of inspiration that have groomed me. The reality is – I can’t remember them all to name them.
The past 23 years in urban education and non-profit leadership have prepared me well. Organizations like Project GRAD Knoxville, Project GRAD USA and learningforward.org have nurtured my deep appreciation for quality professional development. In appreciation for all of the lessons on my journey, I offer these tips as support for quality presentations.
Set the Stage
Start with an engage activity loosely tied to the theme. Follow the engage with the roadmap for your time together. It is your client’s role to drive the specific goals for the session. It is your job to bring those to life for your audience. People like to know where they are headed.
Connect in a Meaningful Way
Weave personal, on-point stories into your presentation. People connect to people and the commonalities of experience. Provide opportunities for your audience to reveal their connections to the content.
Engage the Audience
It is truly not a complicated formula. To plan a session that will engage your audience, include that which engages you. Strive to energize the room but not distract the group. A good rule of thumb is to change your voice, media input or incorporate movement every 15-20 minutes.
Discover the Power of a Quality Image
The screen behind you should enhance and compliment your presentation – not serve as a script. As you design your presentation, ask yourself what images will represent your thoughts well. What images will serve as visual cues for your outline? Use words very sparingly on the slides you show.
Remember that Silence Has its Role
I was the recipient of the “Most Talkative” trophy in 8th grade from Riverchase Middle School. It has taken me decades to absorb that less is more. I am a born speaker that has learned the power of listening. I love Doug Larson’s quote, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” Occasional pauses and well placed moments of silence can highlight your message in a very important way. You owe your audience moments to truly take in that which has been shared.
For those of you like me that actually thrive, feel alive and are in your element in a public speaking platform, it is hard to understand those that don’t feel the same way. Yet, most people do not embrace the opportunity to present to others. Public speaking is identified as the number one fear of Americans, even over death. In a future blog I will share some tools for quieting your nerves and toning down the emotion when you are outside of your comfort zone.
Thank you for your presence. Stay tuned!