Despite my natural introverted-ness, I enjoy presenting. Attending conferences like TCEA allows me to learn from some of the best presenters out there. Here are some lessons I gleaned from TCEA 2018:
- Always show up. This may seem to be a no-brainer, but both of my sessions happened to be timed at inopportune moments this year. I was pretty pessimistic about the chance of having anyone in the audience for either one. However, people did attend. I found out what it feels like when your presenter does not show up late on Thursday afternoon – and I don’t ever want to be the person who makes people feel betrayed for planning their day around a no-show.
- It’s helpful to put the shortcut to your presentation on every slide. I used to just put the bit.ly/goo.gl/tinyurl on the first and last slides, but people who come in late and/or leave early miss out.
- Teachers like door prizes. I don’t know about other professional conferences, but all of the educational ones I attend seem to have a lot of presentations that offer door prizes – codes for premium subscriptions, t-shirts, random items from the Exhibit Hall. This is something I always forget about when I’m presenting. Vendors are often happy to give you a couple of things to publicize their products, especially if you are using them during the presentation.
- Include great infographics and step aside so people can take pictures. Most presenters know that we should be using more images than text on our slides. I’m envious, though, of the slides that prompt audience members to take out their devices and start snapping pictures like the one from Garland ISD below.
- Offer a backchannel or other digital way for the audience to ask questions. As you can also see in the above slide from Garland ISD, they posted a link to a Todays Meet site for us to post questions that you could address throughout the presentation. This is a good idea (especially if you have a partner who can monitor the backchannel) as it can help you personalize your presentation on the fly and give participants the opportunity to anonymously ask questions. Pear Deck, which I posted about last week, is another way to invite audience participation.
- Don’t forget to turn in your handout ahead of time for interested parties to access later. Yep, I forgot. But, you can access all of the TCEA 2018 handouts of those who did remember here. This is helpful for those who missed out on sessions for various reasons or couldn’t access the handouts during the presentation.
If you need more advice, you can always take a look at this presentation, crowd-sourced by Alice Keeler and others a couple of years ago, about what not to do when you present!