Final Presentation

I just finished a day where I had to give two 20 minute presentations over two topics in one day. This was an interesting project for me because I really like to give personal presentations without notes or specifically written down arguments in order to let those listening influence my presentation held together by the forward progress of selected slides. On a day when one presentation determined my ability to continue as a doctoral student there was no room for error (Don’t worry, I passed). I’ve never so fully planned out and plotted a presentation before.

One of the things I never really utilized in the past was the ability for presentation software to have notes attached to slides for the speaker. You can do this digitally… but as something always tends to go wrong on the digital front I preferred to have them printed out for handy reference and reading. Doing this really made me think about the structure of the presentation. How did it flow? Was it interesting? It also forced me to think about how much information needed to be on the slides themselves. In general I would put up a great deal of information on the slides and then, through the revision process, move most of that information down into the notes section for me to deliver verbally. This ensures that you have something to talk about and your audience has the major stepping stones to read.

Another tactic I employed (because I was covering so much information in such a limited time) was the ability to juxtapose information on the slide with what was being said. Sometimes they didn’t match up, they were in conflict with one another or commenting on each other. This allowed multiple perspectives on a single topic simultaneously. This saved me a great deal of time in the area of explanation and certainly gave my a audience a series of questions for after my talk. In short: organization is good. Particularly when you’re on a strict time limit. Also, use the tools available to you and make sure to revise and refine. Good luck with your own presentations.

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