A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (a.k.a. Mountain View College)…
My new role at the college still seems to be a mystery to most faculty and staff. The District has given me this enormous title that leaves people scratching their head. Our wonderful VP of Instruction, Dr. Doddy, even gets a confused look on her face when trying to remember the lengthy title. She graciously dubbed me Yoda to the entire campus during convocation last month. I think it is time to embrace the force and my unofficial title of Yoda (a.k.a. Distance Education Instructional Applications Integration Specialist).
My first endeavor as the campus Yoda (please feel free to call me an Instructional Technologist by the way) was to lead a session on Effective and Engaging Presentations. I am terrified when it comes to speaking in front of a group of people (a secret shared by many I’m sure). This Yoda is better imparting her knowledge one-on-one. I was outside of my comfort zone to say the least. The great thing about this presentation, it gave me the tools to build my confidence to present to a large group. See, sometimes you do just need to embrace the force (wink, wink).
There are three factors I covered that are to key a successful presentation, acknowledging common mistakes, designing more effective presentations, and finally ensuring you engages with your audience.
- Lack of enthusiasm
- monotone voice
- reading the slides
- back to the audience
- Text travesty – your font is so bad it can’t be read
- Bad theme – each slide has a different color and font design
- Cluttered slides
- Over animated slides
Designing More Effective Presentations
The next step is to make your presentation more effective. Your presentation can make a bigger impact by following these guidelines:
- Have one idea per slide.
- Use a template or theme to keep your slide appearance consistent.
- Be sure your font is easy to read. This includes, style, color, and size.
- Use content layout to enhance the slide:
- Content flow – should flow left to right and top to bottom.
- Condense content – no more than 6 lines per slide.
- Don’t clutter the slide – use white space to focus attention on key elements.
- Transition slides – use transition slides to move from one idea to another.
Engaging with Your Audience
Now that you are avoiding the bad habits that make presentations bad and you have made your presentation more effective, here are four tips to make your presentations more engaging.
- Break the ice – have your audience interact by participating in a poll. If you will be doing group activities, have them turn to their neighbors and introduce themselves.
- Tell stories – nothing makes a topic more interesting than a personal story relating to the topic. This lets the audience know that you are invested in the topic enough to share a story.
- Polls and live questions – don’t just use this as an icebreaker. Use polls and questions throughout the presentation to reset your audienc’s mindset and refocus on the topic.
- Increase audience participation – one way to achieve this is to the the audience be proactive in choosing the direction of your presentation. Layout your main points and use a live poll to let the audience choose the first point to discuss.
After researching, designing, and presenting on this topic, I am honestly say that I’m much more confident in giving a presentation to a large group. It is possible to overcome initial fears and help others by doing so…or as the real Yoda would say, “Help others, overcome fears you must.”
Now it’s your turn to use these tips to go out into the world and give your next amazing presentation. Don’t worry, you can always reach out to me to help point you in the right direction or towards a tutorial that will help you along your journey. After all, that’s what a Yoda does.