Monday, 28 June 2010

WISE library session on giving presentations

On Friday the Perth universities WISE group held its mid-year get-together, this time at the University of Western Australia.

In case you are wondering WISE stands for WAGUL Information Sharing Exchange. And WAGUL is the Western Australian Group of University Librarians.

For the mid-year meet up Lisa Cluett ran a terrific session on giving presentations.

Lisa is an experienced presenter herself and a member Toast Masters.

It was the type of session that gave us some tangible ideas to help us make changes to how we present, and to rethink bad habits.

What I took away from it was:

1. Focus on your audience not what information you want to get across. Don’t think about what you want to tell them. I think I have been guilty of that in the past, especially in library skills session when we have so much to get across. But how much can students really absorb in one session. If you don’t know you audience do a bit of research. This applies not just to presentations but in a number of other settings: writing this blog for example.

2. Prepare your presentation outline on paper rather than launch straight into getting your Powerpoints done and don’t use someone else’s Powerpoints and adapt. Oops I have done that too!

3. Start strongly so your initial impression grabs the audience’s attention and avoid slipping into clich├ęd intro lines. I have heard this before too, but we all need reminding.

4. To improve your presentations get some honest feedback from friends and colleagues

I’m preparing a short session for our ECU Library 2.0 training day on ebook readers, so I will focus on what the staff might want to know about these devices. I know already that most of the audience don’t already have an ebook reader, but some are interested in buying one. Staff will also want to know what the library is planning to do and if our existing ebooks could be made available to students, with a loan of an ebook reader for example.

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