Useful Presentation Tips

A friend sent me a link to this great post on giving presentations.  I’ve got some major presentations coming up – GDC in March, AERA in May, and NMC in June, just to name a few – so this was pretty timely!

As a presenter, I draw a lot from my experience teaching.  I rely on talking to my audience, not at them; I focus on delivering material that they couldn’t get by reading a book (or, say, my slides); I change the emphasis on what I’m saying in real-time based on audience reaction.  This means I avoid a lot of the problems he mentions, like reading directly from the paper or being thrown by something unexpected happening.

That said, I’ve never had a true technical explosion, like having to operate entirely without visuals.  I’ll definitely be printing out my notes in the future, rather than using my slides as reference points – just in case!

I’m also wondering how I can incorporate these lessons into my teaching practice and improve my classroom skills.  For example, I’m good at speaking to a pre-defined length in a presentation – but somehow my classes often go over the alloted time.  Is that because my students are generally willing (and excited!) to stay longer?  Because teaching a class is more interactive than giving a presentation?  Or just because there’s no real consequence for ending class ten minutes late, while ending a presentation ten minutes late is a disaster?

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