In the last couple of days, Iâ€™ve been working on a new presentation that Iâ€™m giving up in Toronto for Future Tech Strategies for Libraries. Iâ€™m looking forward to it! I’ll be giving the presentation around the same time you’ll be reading this 🙂
Over the years, I have given and attendedÂ a TON of presentations. Some Iâ€™ve learned from, some Iâ€™ve been entertained by, and some â€¦ honestly â€¦ have bored me to tears.
Hereâ€™s what Iâ€™ve learned – there are two things most of us could work on to raise the level of our presentations.
- Tell a story.
- End with Next Steps.
Letâ€™s look a bit closerÂ at each of these:
Tell a Story: We like stories. Heck, most of you work in libraries – places full of stories! Stories are good. One way to greatly improve your presentation is to treat your presentation like a story, orÂ at least incorporate elements of a story into your presentation.
Why do this? Stories are easy to follow, and easy to remember. StoriesÂ have a beginning, a middle, and an end, which works great for a presentation outline. Stories have chapters, which can be individual slides, or sections of your presentation, complete with visual queues and themes. Stories have pictures – so emphasize visual elements on your slides, rather than a wordy outline.
Here are some examples stories you might tell in your presentation:
- The story of how yourÂ library improved something.
- The story of what you do (your job, your coding, your new service).
- The story of why your organization needs more funding.
- The story of whatâ€™s on the horizon (emerging trends).
- The story of â€¦Â fill in the blank…
End with Next Steps: So many presentations just end. With an embarrassed â€œand thatâ€™s my last slide, so I guess Iâ€™m done.â€
First things first – work on transitions and writing a good ending to the presentation.Â But even better – end with whatâ€™s next for your listener/participant/attendee. Here are some examples of next steps:
- What can I do next week after hearing your presentation?
- What can I do different or change?
- What are three steps I canÂ take tomorrow to improve something?
- How should I respond to emerging trends?
See how that works? Share stories and next steps .. and immediately improve the quality of those presentations!