Wednesday, January 04, 2006
In late November, I stumbled upon an excellent informational blog called Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds. If you're ever in the position to give a presentation, I highly recommend you read through his posts, as they are all insightful and presented in an entertaining manner. Powerpoint is a great tool, but it is often misused, leading to bad presentations (numerous examples are discussed in the blog). Reynolds provides simple and effective strategies on how to make Powerpoint work for you instead of against you.
Having been in school for almost 25 years, I've given quite a few presentations, and I've seen many more. I think it's safe to say that most people, from college undergrads to tenured professors, could do with more training on how to present their ideas. At Cornell, I was lucky to take Comm 201 - Oral Communication in the summer after my freshman year. A lot of people dreaded the prospect of having to take that class, and I was admittedly nervous as well, but it turned out to be a great experience.
Even with that formal training in public speaking, and having presented in academic and professional settings, I still found a ton of useful tips on Presentation Zen. In the discussion section I taught last semester at RPI, I encouraged my students to visit that blog in order to up the level of their presentations. After that, I noticed a dramatic improvement in their talks.
On November 19th, I had the opportunity to give a presentation on otaku culture at Japanese Culture Day 2005, hosted by the Anime Gamers Alliance. Inspired by Presentation Zen, I tried out a new Powerpoint strategy, and I feel it went very well. When it is done right (and you're speaking about something you're passionate about) presenting is really fun and not a chore.
Right now, I am feeling really motivated to give more presentations. Just yesterday, I ordered a Logitech 2.4 Ghz Presenter from Amazon. For my talk in November, James made me a Powerpoint template which I look forward to using again.
Posted by Lawrence Eng at 1:50 PM