June 28, 2009
Are you doing a presentation soon? Like at AALL09?
It is summer time, and that means many librarians are busy attending conferences, giving talks, and preparing for lectures. Some of these presentations might take place online for economic or time considerations. I though it would be worth reviewing some means and methods to ratchet the appealability factor of your presentation, especially for large or virtual attendees who are comfortable with the main feature of Web 2.0 technology: collaboration.
Back to Basics
Before we even address how Web 2.0 hallmark features can be incorporated into presentations, let's step back to review some basics: avoid bullet points and avoid a visually boring presentation! Library Journal's Wyatt's World recommends the following books to help transform those linear slides to something a bit more Picassoesque while still making your point clearly.
- Cliff Atkinson, Beyond Bullet Points (Microsoft Press)
- Tom Bunzel, Solving the PowerPoint Predicament (Que)
- Nancy Duarte, slide:ology (O'Reilly Media)
- Stephen M. Kosslyn, Clear and to the Point (Oxford)
- Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen (New Riders Press)
While all of these titles received four or more stars on Amazon, only the Atkinson title received a five star rating. My personal favorite is the Duarte title. Duarte owns and runs an innovative design firm and her book provides practical approaches to help transform mediocre or average presentations into professional events with pizzazz.
Live Question Tool
Once you are comfortable with your presentation style, there are some new tricks you can take out of your bag to enhance the learning experience of your audience. Many of us have attended conferences, or given lectures, where a Twitter feed is used to collect questions for speakers, or engage others with background conversation. If you are unfamiliar with how this works, it simply requires tweets to be prefixed with a #. This allows users to search for tweets on a specific subject or related to a specific event (such as #ALA, #calicon09, etc). Although this alone is somewhat of a new trend, Live Question Tool goes a bit further. LQT lets audience members post questions, but as questions are added, other participants can submit comments and cast votes for the questions they hope to see answered first. If, while you were speaking, you were wondering if you were getting across, LQT gives you a way to rethink the direction your lecture or presentation should take. Educause has a practical, short article on Live Question Tool in its "7 Thinks You Should Know About" series.
My final recommendation is to use an open access slide sharing platform like Slideshare. Slideshare allows you to upload your presentation (or Word documents), make it available to your audience (you can also keep it private), and keep it up to date for future reference. You can share your presentation on social networks, bookmarking sites, and add their Slideshare widget to your blogs or libguide pages. The best part about Slideshare is that it allows you to sync up audio with your slide presentation and turn it into a video. It is called Slidecasting and it is very easy to do. As an example, take a look at Vivek Kundra's (US CIO) slidecast "Charting a Course for Transformation."
Happy conferencing and happy presenting! (VS)
June 28, 2009 | Permalink
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Slideshare.net is also a great safety net for backup access to your slides.
Posted by: Meg Kribble | Jul 2, 2009 11:50:44 AM
Excellent points! I just want to add somethings that I learned the hard way: Use your presentation to help you tell your story. Filling slides with dense text as well as simply reading the slides verbatim are sure ways to lose your audience. What helps me is thinking of the presentation as a preschool picture book, with the presenter providing the narration.
Posted by: Mark Gediman | Jun 29, 2009 10:00:08 AM