Friday, October 2, 2009

Presentation Skills Workshop

On Tuesday 29 September, the Ikaroa sponsored workshop on Presentation skills was held in the Training Room at Massey University, Turitea campus.

It was well attended by many librarians throughout the region. The highly engaging session was facilitated by John Howells from the Centre for Academic Development and eLearning at Massey University and covered such topics as:
• How to write an effective abstract
• How to present to an audience
• How to use visual aids
• How to handle questions

For myself i found the most useful part was the contributions and feedback from my fellow attendees and particularly from my group: Beth and Joann from Horowhenua Public Library and Pamela from National Library. (Hiya ladies! :-))

The Presenter:
• Humour: having a bit of humour can break the ice and allows you to form a rapport with your audience. But don’t overdo it.
• Be confident and knowledgeable on your topic. If posed a question you can't answer acknowledge that and say "yes, that's a good question. I'm not sure of the answer but i know someone who does. I'll introduce you after the presentation" or something to that effect.

• Personal presentation: Ensure you are properly attired! No knickers showing above your trousers please, or fiddling with your hair.

• Voice: Speak clearly and smoothly, neither too fast nor too slow and use modulation for interest. And watch those ‘ums’!

• Tell a story or a journey with your presentation, perhaps start with an anecdote. Make it personal. In our exercises I was interested in how the situation affected people especially the person talking.
• Provide a clear summary of your main points or ideas
at the end.
• Have a theme, preferably one that ties in with the conference, or a keyword that succinctly describes your presentation.

Other things to remember are:
Check out your venue first. For example if you have an interactive session planned the room may not be suitable.

Know your audience and be culturally sensitive and respectful.

And finally a tip on using visual aids, particularly powerpoints.
Don’t rely on them to do the presentation for you! Always have a Plan B if the technology fails. Others said that they went to a conference where the version of Microsoft Office was different and all the fancy animations were lost.

And remember:
“The only difference between the pros and a novice [presenter] is that the pros have trained the butterflies to fly in formation.”

If there are any other attendees out there, feel free to tell us what you learned at the session in a comment. We'd love to hear from you!

- Amanda Curnow

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