Research & Presentation (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1 of Research & Presentation be sure to read that here. At any rate (where was I? Oh yes!) I was talking about note taking and the dual-crucial skills of Structure and Importance. Now, note taking is just one area where these two skills are important. It turns out that they are important for a wide variety of activities (both in school and in the “real world”). One of those areas is for giving a presentation. Today I’ll be talking about prepping for a presentation.

You know that whole saying about first impressions? If you’re thinking “which one” you’re on the right track. There are lots of sayings about first impressions precisely because they are so important. Well guess what: for someone watching/listening to your presentation there is likely only one thing that will impress them or not. Did you guess correctly: your presentation IS your first impression (and probably your only impression). You’d better make it good and you’d better know what you’re talking about. But how?

I’m generally a structure-challenged person but I’ve taught myself to dramatically organize ideas. This gives my presentations a style that is uniquely mine. There is the occasional sight gag and the occasional brief tangent but only for the purposes of keeping people awake. In fact, these elements keep me interested in the telling of the story I build for the presentation. Telling a story is of the utmost importance to me.

Whether the story is about people in the 19th century encountering an ever-changing copyright law (like the one I just gave) or about the numbers and charts of data regarding the national GDP of India (as in a presentation I gave seven years ago) there is always a story to be told and there is a specific way of telling it. The general organizing element of a story helps both the telling (presentation) of the story but also the reception of that information (your audience). If you don’t believe me go pick up two books: one a children’s book and another the phone book. Read each aloud. Which is more interesting? Even if your children’s book is about frogs who grow beards and try to cross a bridge to get a magic raincloud it will be more interesting than the non-story of the phone book. Next time I’ll be getting into the idea of “Importance.” Be sure to check back – so far you know that story is important but you’ve got nothing (yet) to write about!