things i learned from giving a presentation

The best thing about teaching is that I am always learning.

I gave a 20 minute presentation last Saturday. I wrote another post dedicated to the information I wish I’d been able to articulate in the presentation. This post is about the things I learned about giving the presentation. I guess if you’re a regular presenter, this stuff is pretty obvious. Some of it is advice I sorta knew and just didn’t follow. Some of it I coulda followed better. I’d be happy for any corrections or additions to this list.

1) Don’t wait till two days before (or the day before, or the day of) to prepare. And also it probably would have helped to have said the whole presentation out loud at least once before getting up there.

2) If you’re going to use PowerPoint, learn how to use it well. Black text on white slides with occasional pictures is boring, especially when the other presenters have colored frames on their slides and have figured out how to make their bullet points come up one at a time.

3) Don’t try to pack in an hour of potential information in 20 minutes. And speaking of 20 minutes – time yourself. And speaking of information – remember your main point and stick to it.

4) Don’t wear clothes that you can play with when you’re nervous. I guess that’s all some people notice and then the content of the presentation is lost.

5) Know thyself. If you already know you are not the type of person who can talk about anything for 20 minutes with just a few ideas in your head then don’t expect to be able to magically do it in a presentation. Write the notes down. On note cards. Otherwise you appear as mentally disorganized as you are.

6) Ask for help. You’re surrounded by experienced people. Someone will certainly have time to listen and give you a bit of feedback. I feel deep gratitude to the someone who did this for me. I wish I’d asked for more.

7) Invite your friends. Or at least don’t keep it a secret from them. And definitely don’t ask them not to come. Maybe you don’t want them to see you mess up, but they’re the ones who will give you courage when you can’t find your own and they’re the ones who will still respect you no matter what. #sorryguys

8) Don’t give up. Okay, so it didn’t go so well this time. You don’t think you rocked the house. But you learned from it. You can give it another go next time.

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