Karlyn Borysenko and I discuss the elements of putting together an impactful presentation and how to submit them to conferences.
Originally presented at Penn State Web - updated and reshared at HighEdWeb 2016 in Memphis Tennessee.
BOTHHello, I’m Karlyn Borysenko.And I’m Jeff Stevens.Jeff: And thank you for joining us for Art of the Presentation. Today we’re going to talk about creating effective presentations.
A presentation on presenting? That’s pretty Inception right there.
JeffInception is a good analogy for a presentation. There are many different layers to a good presentation:The relationship of the presenter to their topicThe relationship of the audio and verbal components to the audience.
The relationship of the audience to the subject.
Those interrelations go deep… and for some people, the deep place is a place of fear.
Gallup conducted a poll of American’s greatest fears says 40% of Americans consider public speaking their greatest fear...
...second only to snakes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that Speech is power. Speech is to persuade, convert, and compel. And that’s at the heart of what we do when we present. Whether we are presenting internally to our teammates or to our organization, or to external organizations, we’re building consensus towards a goal, persuading others to follow a course of action, or compelling people to make change or to think of things differently.
We want to build our skills to present for several reasons. Giving better presentations clarifies communication. It decreases miscommunication in a business, which in turn increases quality, safety, and work product, and decreases stress - how often has a project that was miscommunicated led to time and effort wasted in starting again? By building these skills, we increase our confidence and, in turn, increase the perception of others that we are professionals in our subject areas.
LINK FOR BUFFERTorok.com makes the case for the importance of presentation skills. #econfpsuaphttp://www.torok.com/articles/presentation/WhyArePresentationSkillsImportant.html
JeffIan Parker from The New Yorker reports that Microsoft estimates, there are more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. If we assume conservatively that there are four people per presentation, that the presentation is a half-hour, ¼ of that presentation is a waste, and each person’s salary of $35,000, that would equal just over $252 million a year.
BUFFERWhy are we wasting $250 million a day to bad presentations?http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/are-we-wasting-250-million-per-day-due-to-bad-powerpoint/#econfpsuap
BUFFER LINKWhat are the costs of a bad presentation? Here’s a conservative estimate. #econfpsuaphttp://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/are-we-wasting-250-million-per-day-due-to-bad-powerpoint/
JeffSo how do we solve a problem like a presentation? Here’s what we’re going to cover today:We’ll be focusing on the concept of creating a presentation for an external audience. We’re going to concentrate on conferences, but the ideas can be modified for intenral use.
Crafting an idea for a presentation
Submitting (and getting accepted to a conference)
Developing a deck, building out your ideas
Practicing and polishing your presentation
And finally, building a repertoire
Both:So, are you ready?
Jeff:Let’s starting with crafting an Idea. To put us in the framework, we’ve asked some other presenters of keynotes and award winning presentations for their advice Amanda Costello said
KarlynSometimes a great presentation doesn’t have to be answer to the problem, a step by step instruction manual, sometimes it just needs to inspire and create that spark that someone can take and run with.BUFFERSee Amanda Costello’s great analogy of silos and how they can learn to evolve here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d66k-mVzc4#econfpsu
JeffComing up with an idea is a marriage of two different and distinct needs.
JeffFirst, consider your audience. What does your audience want? Want do they need? Is there a subject that you’ve seen that isn’t being covered at the conferences you’ve attended? In their a platform that the community doesn’t have a lot of experience with, but that you and your team has started to use? Was there a talk that you saw that talked about a theory that you know have practical experience in implementing? All of these are the starts of a good talk.
JeffConsider their technical ability and expertise of your audience. Where are their knowledge gaps? Listen to the community you plan to present to and plan accordingly.
Second, you need to consider yourself? Why are you wanting to present? What do you know? What do you feel passionate about? What do you want to share?
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to trust your instinct.
BUFFER:The University of Leicester has a good run-down of these steps and others we’ll be covering here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/presentations/planning-presentation #econfpsuap
Can I present? No.
So I went anyway.
Really unsure how it was going to go
Being able to present is a tremendous skillset for any position.Now it’s my career.
And if you’re NOT unsure of how it’s to go to, that might be a problem! Let’s talk about….
A big impediment to speaking is imposter sydrome. I know I’ve felt this every time I aim to present. After seeing countless talks from people who know their stuff, I’m left the questions filled with insecurity:
“Why should I present this? What can I offer that others haven’t already covered? Why wouldn’t I just point people to an online slide deck or a YouTube video and say “Jinkies, I have this case just about wrapped up?””
JeffIn her keynote at the 2016 MinneWebCon, Denise Jacobs summed this up by saying “You will only consider Imposter Syndrome when you are competent and skilled - repeat this as many times as necessary).http://www.slideshare.net/denisejacobs/banish-your-inner-critic-minnewebcon-2016
The people in the room are rooting for you!!!
How do you tell the difference? If you’re feeling imposter syndrome, you’re got it.
Jeff: Remember that time a businessman thought he could be president?
BUFFER:Jessica Hagy shows the difference between the the Dunning-Kruger effect and Imposter Syndrome eloquently.http://thisisindexed.com/2012/05/two-annoying-problems/#econfpsuap
JeffOnly you can sound like you. You need to have confidence in yourself and your singular voice.
JeffA presentation is not a competition.
Karlyn: Well, sometimes it is.
(Jeff)To get through my feeling of imposter syndrome, I’ve modified a maxim used in Unitarian Universalism:It matters that you are hereYou aren’t here by luck or chance, but due to the overall circumstances of your life, which includes you skills and knowledge
It matters what you doYour experiences are trueYou insights and experiences are as valid as anyone’s
You don’t have to go it aloneYour colleagues are tremendous sounding boards to share your concerns and to serve as sounding boards as you develop your talk.
KarlynSubmitting (and getting accepted to a conference)
JeffWho makes the choices for the conference schedule? Is it a rotating committee or an individual?Look at previous conferences and what kind of presentations were picked, and what the tone and language of those proposals. I’ve submitted to conferences were a clever turn of phrase or description can make one proposal stand out from five or six similar themes. At other conferences, a clever and witty description can be seen more of detriment to one that is matter of fact and technical.
What do you want to present? What are you passionate about? You personal perspective here is just as important as the conference organizers.
Don’t get discouraged if your submission is rejected, and don’t assume it’s because your presentation wasn’t up to par. It could that the conference has a particular focus and your talk didn’t match it. It could be that there were five or six talks with a similar focus and they had to pick between them.
JeffIf you can, ask the selecting committee why you weren’t selected so you can improve your pitch for the next submission.
JeffNext let’s talk about developing a deck and building out your ideas.
This is your unique voice. Even if you’re presenting on a woefully unoriginal topic….which happens!....you can always give it a unique spin.
JeffMetaphors and analogies are a great way to communicate complex ideas to your audience.
JeffIn 2014 I gave a series of talks using an analogy about French border defenses at the start of World War II and how their strategic mindset mirrored the way departments and schools thought about their web pages. By reframing it this way it was easier to communicate the need to shift thinking by paralleling a concrete historical event.
See Jeff’s presentation on the Magnot line on SlideShare.http://www.slideshare.net/kuratowa/from-world-war-ii-to-the-world-wide-heweb#econfpsuap
JeffLisa Catto’s Jane Austen theme
Lisa Catto used an amazing analogy of Jane Austen heroines to her work as a one woman office.http://www.slideshare.net/lisacatto/how-life-lessons-from-jane-austen-helped-a-oneperson-communications-team#econfpsuap
JeffAnalogies and metaphors can also work wonders for talking to your faculty and administrators. Can you frame a complex web problem around a subject that is within the expertise of the people you are presenting too? (Make sure that you do know that it is a good comparison or this can backfire).
JeffDon’t get too enamored with a theme - it’s possible to be too cute and in the weeds and obscure the message you wanted to tell. A few years ago I gave a presentation on content strategy and how it relates to concepts in biology.
Judge for youself how tortuous the analogy is in this evolution as web strategy presentation:http://www.slideshare.net/kuratowa/voyage-of-the-beagle-biology-evolution-and-content-strategy
JeffI went over the presentation with several biology professors to make sure I understood all of the concepts correctly and found equivalencies for almost all evolutionary theories. Afterwards, a majority of the feedback I received that it was too much and they wish I had discussed our web work more - which was the utlimate goal of the talk in the first place.
JeffIn his On the Art of Writing class at Cambridge in 1912, Arthur Quiller-Couch warned against the overly ornamental turn of phrase. “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it - whole heartedly - and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. MURDER YOUR DARLINGS.This has become a tenant of novelists and screenwriters ever since - and you should subscribe it to your presentations. Don’t go for florid when matter of fact will do. Strong writing and visuals stand on their own. Your conceits can also be a darling, and sometimes can send the wrong tone...
Which is why we ended up not going with our first concept for this presentation.
And instead went with the intuitive Sound of Music/Legos theme.
Jeff: Make presentations great again 2016!
Plan your narrative. Structure your presentation as a scaffold; start with the major points and begin to fill it in.
JeffDave Cameron also suggests using the standard story structure of your talk. There’s a reason that nearly every story told by humantiy follows this pattern: Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Conclusion.
Let’s say this another way - know what you’re going to say...and then say it!
My number one advice is always this: know your ending first. Know how you are going to end what it is you want to say, know what you want your audience to be leaving the room with, what you want them to know and hopefully feel by the time your presentation has ended. Make your final five minutes match that, and then build everything that comes before that up to that ending.
Human at Work: http://davecameron.tumblr.com/post/100230073371/human-at-work-my-highedweb-2014-conference
I might also have quote-worthy stuff in other posts I did leading up to that presentation that were all about the process behind it: https://dave-cameron.com/share-human/
End with something inspiring
One effective technique is to begin and end a presentation with personal stories. By concentrating on how what this talk is about affects real people, it allows your audience to project itself onto you. Empathy is a powerful tool for connection.
An experience is easier to talk about authentically. Give takeaways on what worked and what didn't as well as what you would have done differently or lessons learned. - Amy Grace Wells
JeffGive them an outline of the presentation - let them know what to expect, then dive into the meat of it
I write out every single word that I want to say in the powerpoint notes.
Every….single….word…..Now I don’t ever end up reading off of a script but this really helps me when I get to the next part
BOTHBUT WHATEVER YOU DO, TALK IT OUT
KarlynStand up and pretend you’re presenting and can say whatever you want. What would you say?
JeffLet’s talk about building our deck. One of the reasons that the Sound of Music works is its cinematography. The grandeur of Salzburg and the Alps as a backdrop sells the story.
KarlynYou are the main attraction...but your slides are like your backup dancers
JeffDon’t be afraid of having too many slides!
Karlyn: If you were to ask Ron Bronson, he woudl say “no more than 20 slides!”
JeffWe’ve all been in presentations where a slide has so many bullet points that it’s impossible to see what’s being said. At that point the slide is an impediment to hearing the speaker, not an aide that supports. This is a classic example from the U.S. Operations in Afghanistan - a slide that explains the complex interrelations of forces in the country that affect the overall nation’s stability.
'When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war,' said General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATO force commander.
JeffDigging deeper into the reason bullet points are bad, Dr. Chris Atherton, an award-winning lecturer in psychology and a user experience consultant for organizations such as Skype and the BBC, discovered that the limits of working memory are to blame for the failure of bullet points. When a listener has to switch between reading and listening, the task switching it cognitively exhausting. To avoid that, minimize text and use meaningful visuals that reinforce the concept.BUFFERChris Atherton applies cognitive psychology to learning design to reduce task-switching and improve recall.http://www.slideshare.net/CJAtherton/from-cognitive-psychology-to-learning-design-chris-atherton-at-lt11uk
JeffWith too many bullet points, you risk the Serial Position effect occurring, a documented psychological tendency for people to remember the last item in a list first, the first next, and almost always forgetting what came in the middle. Too many presenters rely on barreling through the fact the slides are too full, and that the audience can see it all in the notes afterwards.
KarlynOr to make it really simple, Build out your slide show with one idea on each slide BEFORE you start designing.
Make sure you know the story you’re trying to tell before you make it look pretty.
Karlyn: Jeff, why’d you use that slide with the bullet points?
Jeff: Well, I ran out of time to do it properly.
Karlyn: We’re in here telling them what they should do, and,Jeff: That’s quite enough…Karlyn: I’m not finished yet…Jeff: Oh, yes you are, Captain.Dramatic pauseFraulein.
JeffDid you get all that?
KarlynI’m still not finished yet captain
Be bold with your messaging - this is your chance to say what you want to say! Your slide design should reflect that bold choice...don’t be afraid to get creative with this!
Karlyn Put your slides in motion - use videos/gifs/etc
JeffUse video through the presentation to give yourself a little break. Research shows that video often leads to higher retention rates. Video can create an emotional connection, can communicate complex idea faster, can give you a moment in the middle, and can break up your narrative to keep your audience on their toes.
What I really love about Fienen
JeffMake your slides a visual aide to you speech.
Picking FontsMake sure they’ll be installed where you need them!BUFFERJoel Goodman discusses the importance of typography in design.http://torquemag.io/2013/11/typography-matters/#econfpsuap
JeffFontpair is a good resource for finding good font pairs in Google Fonts for your presentations.http://fontpair.co/#econfpsuap
Stock PhotosBUFFERMAYBE PUT A LINK TO THE ADOBE RESOURCE YOU USE
JeffCreative commons - Flickr/Compfight
JeffCompfight is a great searching tool for creative commons photos on Flickr.#econfpsuap
Attribute your sources!
Karlyn: You mean I can’t just pull images off Google?
Copyrighted material? Fair use/know your conference’s policies
The answer is a definite “maybe.” Or if you prefer, “sometimes.”
I will also point out right up front that there is an easy way to deal with the question in a categorical, never-fail solution strategy. Just don’t use other people’s copyrighted materials without explicit, written permission. That is the advice corporate legal counselors would give their clients.
the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
the nature of the copyrighted work;
the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
BUFFERKen Molay breaks down his interpretation of copyright in presentations (but it isn’t a LEGAL ruling, mind you):http://wsuccess.typepad.com/webinarblog/2012/01/copyrights-and-fair-use-in-presentations.html#econfpsuap
JeffWhat it really means is that if a Fair Use case goes to court, the judge has a lot of personal discretion in making a decision and no sane lawyer would guarantee a finding one way or the other. It means that precedent is very hard to apply because you can argue lots of subtle small case-specific differences. And it means that the party with the deeper pockets can almost always afford to keep the case going long enough to make the other party fold from simple fiscal attrition.
On the plus side, I’ll mention something that no lawyer would ever choose to highlight. In the overwhelming majority of cases where the copyright owner chooses to contest a use, they start with a simple “cease and desist” letter. I am always amused by people warning me that Disney or Warner Bros. is going to sue me for every cent I have because I use a still image from a classic film on one slide in the middle of a presentation. Yes, they have the right to do so, but it is a pretty silly first course of action. Suing takes time and money on their side, and unless the use is particularly egregious and damaging to them, it probably isn’t worth it. So the worst case scenario is likely to be an inability to include that slide in your archived recording. [IMPORTANT NOTE: I am NOT using this as a justification or encouragement to knowingly violate real copyrights. I’m just saying that if you think you have an honest Fair Use situation but are afraid of potential financial downside, it is unlikely to be a problem in MOST common cases.]
Fair Use is definitely NOT going to help you if you use copyrighted material in your marketing and promotional materials. Don’t even try it. Don’t associate someone else’s property with your organizational identity. Don’t use it in a situation where it could seem like the rights owner or a pictured celebrity can be seen as approving or endorsing your ideas, products, or company.
In webinar presentations, you are most likely to hit one of four use cases:
Use of a copyrighted image on a slide
Use of a quotation from a copyrighted work such as a book or white paper
Use of a short clip from a motion picture
Use of a short audio clip (music or voice)
The basics are clear. If you use the clip, quote, or image just because you think it’s cute, that’s not Fair Use. If you use the image as part of your slide master or background or repeatedly associate it with your work, that’s not Fair Use. But if you use it once to illustrate a specific point you are making, particularly in an educational context, and you comment on particular aspects of the picture or clip or quote to identify what they did and how they did it… That’s probably Fair Use.
Are there resources to help you in your planning (and potential defense of your use?). Yes there are. First of all, even in a Fair Use case you should try to attribute the copyright holder. A nice little copyright statement at the bottom of your slide can help show that you weren’t trying to claim the content as your own.
Next, you should try to get permission for use. Here is a list of many common copyright permission contacts: http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/permission.html
And here is a more condensed list for movies/music:http://www.reelclassics.com/Buy/licensing.htm
Columbia University Libraries has a nice little checklist in PDF form that lets you tot up potential arguments for and against Fair Use in your context to see whether you are more or less likely to be covered: http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/fair-use/fair-use-checklist/
There is a brand new book available from Amazon called Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright.
And the Center for Social Media has some interesting online discussions on the subject.
Fair Use is not a free pass to just steal other people’s creative work. But there are times when it is very helpful in letting you make a specific point in a way that has more impact and resonance than you otherwise could. Knowing your legal rights is the place to start.
JeffCopyrighted matieral? Fair use/know your conference’s policies
Powerpoint versus Keynote versus Google slides….it really doesn’t matter
Give yourself visual cues about what to say on each slide
Practicing and polishing
(Karlyn) Run it as if you were presenting. Stand in front of the computer, pretend there’s an audience and give the presentation! Adjust the flow as necessary.
If you work on a team, present to other members of the team
Find an internal audience or a smaller venue that you can test run a presentation before the bigger event
Both Get a clicker
JeffMove around. Use your hands. Take up space.
Get in the right head space - nervous energy.
Embrace the nervous energy
When you suppress it, your presentation will be dry
When you run away from it, that’s stage friend.
When you embrace it and own it, you will rock that presentation.
JeffVisit your presentation space. Be aware of your space, your pacing, where the podium is.
Jeff: “Well I never!” OHHHHHH MYYou have to own that room. It’s YOUR room.
Conference presentations can be more wacky than work presentations.
Presentation persona. Plan to put on a show. Think of it like wearing a mask.
Do the wonder woman pose in the bathroom if you have to.
Don’t read too much into body language
JeffBe prepared for the unexpected technical glitch
Practice and continue as if nothing happened ala Lori Packer
BOTHKnow that everything will be okay
Give time for questions
This is when Imposter Syndrome strikes!
Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’
“That’s a great question” gives you time to think
Aggressive questions - do not engage, handle it gracefully, you are in control.
Building a repertoire
Presenting for a season
Stretch your professional development funds
Or getting paid
After time, you’ll be sought out as a speaker, and it’s great to have a list you can send people.
Iterate presentations over time - build a portfolio and use them over and over
(BUILD A PORTFOLIO)
When presenting on crowdfunding, I used a story on a crowdfunded Robocop statue being built in Detroit as an example of how a dedicated community can come together around an idea. That one story then provided a frame for the rest of the presentation to be built upon.
JeffWith great powerpoint comes great responsibility
KarlynWe build each other up - we’re in the same boat together.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu. Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you. Thank you for coming! #econfpsuap