In the last couple of days, I’ve been working on a new presentation that I’m giving up in Toronto for Future Tech Strategies for Libraries. I’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 attended a TON of presentations. Some I’ve learned from, some I’ve been entertained by, and some – honestly – have bored me to tears.
Here’s what I’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.
Let’s look a bit closer 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, or at least incorporate elements of a story into your presentation.
Why do this? Stories are easy to follow, and easy to remember. Stories 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 your 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 what’s on the horizon (emerging trends).
- The story of – fill in the blank…
End with Next Steps: So many presentations just end. With an embarrassed “and that’s my last slide, so I guess I’m done.”
First things first – work on transitions and writing a good ending to the presentation. But even better – end with what’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 can 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!