Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Natalie Lamb and the Top Presentation

I have a presentation to deliver today and it is the first in a while. It is a mop up meeting about the outcomes of my MSc, even though I have now progressed to different projects as part of the PhD. Although I have done many presentations in the past, I still find myself being slightly nervous. Should I use the trusty PowerPoint, the lively Prezzi or try out something new with having a go at Google Slides? Is that formal enough or should I take out the photo of Vault Boy that I slipped in as a joke? These are just some of the things I have been thinking about today.

I had to book the meeting about three weeks ago, to ensure I got a meeting room at work and to make sure everyone I wanted there was going to be available. When I did this, I made life a lot easier for my present self, by completing a meeting agenda. The agenda consists of: a company logo, meeting, objective, agenda items and background information. I even have a copy of an old presentation which has the backbone of the information I would like to present today, but it may need a bit of tweaking to bring it up to date.

So, first, for this meeting I have opted for PowerPoint. I really enjoy using Prezi- it keeps the audience awake and is a bit different to the day after day boring old PowerPoint. But the IT system at work is too slow. Instead of a magnifying glass being smoothly zoomed into to see the microorganisms studied as part of my MSc, you instead see a frame by frame version of this, which takes about five minutes longer to show. I might think of trying Google Slides in the future but I am a little too short of time today to try out a new system. I have a presentation in two week though so maybe I will have a go at it then.

The top presentation tip that I have learnt over the years is to sit down. This is something that works perfectly for me, although it may be inappropriate depending on the audience size. I find that I am a lot less nervous, no-one can see my knees knocking and I find that it helps turns the questions at the end from a police interrogation to a much more friendly academic discussion.

Another thing which I find really helps me is to print off the slides, both for myself and for the others in the meeting. That means instead of staring at me, the audience are more likely to take casual glances down. But the printed slides should be stapled so stop people rummaging through them and distracting you. They should also have page numbers to help refer to random slides during the discussion afterwards.

My last top tip is to "fake it 'till you make it". Pretend to be enjoying it. Stretch a painfully wide smile over your face. In the end, you may end up actually enjoying having your 15 minutes to show off what you know.

And, the Vault Boy picture? I'm sure no-one will notice.

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