Use your voice to best effect

Following up on my last post (Presentation Tips) I thought I would share a few more resources on how to improve, or even re-think, presentations. Most of the suggestions offered by these authors are applicable to many types of presentations, including those given at conferences or meetings as well as presentations given in class by students.

Lecture hall_Himmel-R_FlickrCom

How to Hook Your Audience in 10 Seconds Or Less is from the Prezi Blog. Most of us are familiar with Prezi and its sometimes ill-used (dizzying) effects, but this post focuses on the importance of visuals that make an impact by being “compelling and relevant” to your presentation. Included are several resources* for locating different types of imagery that won’t break your budget. As with any media source, it’s always wise to check the terms of use and to credit the photographer or artist of the media you use.

In his post, Giving a great presentation: some tips and advice, author Bryan Alexander offers suggestions and advice honed from many years of experience giving presentations. He is quick to point out that he’s not referring to the planning or the technology you might or might not use, but rather “doing the presentation itself.”

First off, he suggests taking a look at the space itself. Alexander describes himself as a pacer and always wants to know what his “presentation zone” is going to be. Then he does go on to talk about technology anyway, mainly to point out that you really should test everything ahead of time. Subsequent tips include personal preparation, such as breathing, hydrating and tidying your hair and clothing.

“Suck the air as far down into your guts as possible, so you’ll start off with enough air to talk and won’t begin by squeaking.” | Bryan Alexander

Alexander continues by breaking the presentation down into moments: immediately before the show, getting to the podium, the first 30 seconds, giving the talk, and so on. In addition, he has much to say about using body language and using your voice to best effect, including my favorite line, “Use pauses, even risking a Shatner imitation.” Humor aside, or not, since humor can also be an excellent tool, Alexander ends the post by sharing the importance of the Q & A or follow-up discussion and offers several tips for nudging a reluctant audience.

Do you have your own favorite resources or tips to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

* Sadly, one of the resources mentioned in the post, Little Visuals, is no longer available.


Lecture hall image courtesy of Himmel-R on Flickr Commons.

Presentation Tips

Whether you are tasking students with formally presenting their work or editing your own presentations, you’ll find useful ideas from the 3 articles highlighted here.

First up is a great infographic from the design team at Cubicle Ninjas for creating effective PowerPoint presentations. While the infographic serves as an advertisement for their design services, it also brings together tips from 3 well-known presenters.

Infographic_Ultimate Guide to Using Powerpoint

Embed the infographic in your Blackboard class using the Slideshare mashup tool. Search the full text The Ultimate Guide to Using PowerPoint Effectively. If you don’t want to use the mashup tool you can just add the Slideshare direct link:

TechSmith, creators of software applications Camtasia and SnagIt, posted Tech-tastophe—Save Yourself From Presentation Tech Failures a couple of years ago, but the tips offered by author Betsy Weber are no less timely. Number 2 on her list of “presentation failure prevention tips”? Create a back up of your back up. Number 1 is a no-brainer.

Finally, if you’re looking for “relatively inexpensive solutions to everyday problems” this brief post from the ProfHacker blog, Why You Should Label Your Stuff, will inspire you. So, that USB drive with the back up of your back up? Yes, label it, along with your PowerPoint remote.