I received an email from Brian, a middle school social studies teacher in Boston, who expressed an interest in presenting to his faculty about improving his presentation skills. He wrote:
The creative juices that flow as I try and design better slides has not only provided a nice outlet for me in the weeks before Christmas break…but also helped me get more creative in connections I make to the material.
That’s what it’s all about! If you enjoy creating your slides (I do!), you’ll enjoy presenting them. And if you enjoy presenting them rather than making them just a bunch of notes that you have to “get through,” your audience will enjoy your delivery a whole lot more.
My enthusiasm for your presentation, which I shared with a number of members of my staff, has made me into the resident presentation guru in my building.
Nice. I’m glad to have had this kind of impact!
My principal has asked me to do a presentation on presenting at our upcoming PD and I wondered if you had some advice on how to attack it. My audience would be a frightening mix of the computer savvy and folks who refer to “The Google.” What would you recommend in terms of content? I could see the scope being very broad and touching on why design better slides, how to do it, where to find good images, etc. Or staying narrow and looking at the how part.
First off, I love The Google!
Second, and this is just my two cents, if you’re thinking of presenting on presenting to your staff, you need to provide the context. If that’s how we should be teaching kids, it’s surely how we should be teaching adults.
I didn’t look at my presentation to staff as a “How-To” with respect to PowerPoint (although that’s what some of them came to the session expecting…), I planned it as a “Why-Bother” with the intent of raising the level of awareness of what we’re putting on the screen. If it gave at least one teacher pause before they projected the same, tired slide show for yet another year, I felt my presentation would be worthwhile.
See, the “Why-Bother” actually motivated the “How-To” with about a half-dozen of my attendees. It put it into context for them. Rather than telling them how to do something, I shared with them first why they should care.
And it worked! They stayed after my presentation wanting to know more. “OK – I like how you did that. Now show me how to make my slides look like that.” They’re hooked.
A “How-To” without context may be everything that’s wrong with the way we present professional development to teachers, but that’s for me to tackle down the road. You know – that and this whole “global warming” thing.