When Giving a Presentation, Keep This in Mind

It doesn’t matter if you are doing a school visit, speaking at a workshop, or entertaining the crowd at a literacy event there is one thing that you should keep in mind.  Preparation pays off.  And this should include a backup plan.

This weekend, I was the first speaker at the KS-MO workshop.  I haven’t spoken in front of a group in a while but I always get really nervous.  Really nervous.  Let’s just say that I have situational hypochondria.  I feel horrible the night before any event at which I speak.

So what do I do?  I prepare.

Although I don’t read my talk, I write it out more or less word for word.  Then I rehearse it.  Anything that was awkward or goofy, I redo. There were two sections this time that I had to really rework.  Then I rehearse it again.

The venue provided a laptop and projector.  So I prepared Powerpoint slides.  The second time I rehearsed, I clicked through the slides along with my talk.

Then I save the presentation on a thumb drive.  Then I e-mailed it to myself just in case the thumb drive failed.   But I also had a plan in place if, for whatever reason, technology was NOT available.

Jody Feldman, one of my fellow speakers, discussed school visits.  She said that she prints out her two most important slides.  She does classroom presentations and print outs aren’t ideal but the students can still see what she is talking about.

My slides enhanced my presentation but were not essential.  They simply included URLs and names so that people didn’t have to ask me to spell things out loud.  No one needs to watch me try to do that!

I got there early enough to plug in my drive and make sure I understood the clicker.  Don’t laugh.  It had four buttons.  That means I have a 25% chance of getting it wrong.

But the prep work and rehearsals paid off.  Not only did my bit go well, since I was first I was able to kick back and enjoy the rest of the day.


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