Preso Prep

I’ve got a couple presentations coming up in the next several months. I’m interested in how others prepare to give them and what participants find most useful in them.

As a presenter…

How do you start preparing a presentation? Slides first? Storyboard? Pictures? List of points you want to make?

How do you create opportunities for group interaction (if you do)? How do you deal with chirping crickets if a group isn’t particularly lively or ready to interact?

Any tips or techniques that you think work particular well? Anything that you’ve found doesn’t work well?

As a participant…

What do you find particularly compelling in presentations? What turns you off?

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One thought on “Preso Prep

  1. I think the best starting point is asking what will help people the most and the fastest. They want something they can put to use right away. So, we want to be sure to give them that, as well as some philosophical underpinnings for it. (It’s also a good idea to see if what you’re planning to say actually resembles what was in the presentation proposal that may have been submitted months earlier.)

    For the actual presentation, do something fun, dramatic, or surprising right away.

    Some people see conference attendance as a semi-vacation day, and they have a mindset that they’re going to be completely passive and just soak up information in a … non-participatory way. Well, that’s fine, but I like for the presentations to have an interactive component.

    We recently did one where everyone in the room was involuntarily cast in a choral reading of a Langston Hughes poem. They had no choice. We set it up and let them make some quick choices about it, and then BOOM, they were doing it. It worked beautifully. I think the trick is to provide short bursts of interactivity so the conversation doesn’t have time to bog down in anyone’s negativity. Then on to something else.

    As a participant, I have a little bugaboo about presenters who begin by saying that they don’t feel well. I’ve seen that a surprising number of times.

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