Wednesday, 21 October 2015


I don't mind doing presentations ... as long as I've got the time to prepare them and also they're a topic with which I am comfortable and familiar. During the past couple of years, I've gained quite a lot of experience in giving presentations which, I feel, has had a positive impact on my work at school- my presentations have definitely become far more visual than they used to be. As you can imagine, my role as part of the CILIP Presidential Team has meant having to deliver a lot of keynote speeches and presentations, on all sorts of topics! I'm also not very good at saying no, so there have been occasions when I've stepped in at the last moment (sometimes at 24 hours notice)when colleagues have been ill and found myself talking about an unfamiliar topic or to an unknown audience. However, even on these occasions I've done my best to carry out some background research and prepare my talk.

At times this has meant I've had to move outside my comfort zone, speaking on a less familiar subject or talking to a very different audience from the ones I'm used to - remember - as a school librarian, I'm usually found talking to teenagers or other school librarians and, occasionally, teachers. My first presentation as VP was at the CILIP Scotland Member's Day and I was extremely nervous ... not so much because of what I was talking about but because I was aware that I was representing the organisation, that this talk was going to be very public and I had the CEO in the front row!

I tend to use PowerPoint for my presentations. I like the look of Prezzi and have used it myself but it takes me much longer to create anything; possibly if I used it more I would get quicker but I think part of the reason is because of the many options it allows you. I've also watched Prezzi talks where I've ended up feeling a bit seasick due to the enthusiasm of the speaker to whiz around the board in all manner of directions so am wary not to impose that experience on my audiences. For me, PowerPoint is quick, easy and I've never had any IT problems using it. I also tend to create fairly simple slides using graphics without too many gimmicks - I think over use of these can detract from what you are talking about.

Regarding the process I use for creating a presentation, I've had a think about this and realise that the following are the steps I tend to take:
  • Research topic and make notes (usually more than I need or will use but I prefer to read around the subject and have too much information than not enough).
  • I then think about the structure of my talk, the points I want to cover and the order I want to say things in, and write this down in simple headings.
  • Next step is to create my PowerPoint using these each of these headings for a slide with relevant images. I try and use copyright-free images or my own. At this stage, I sometimes break down one point into two or three as I'm trying to convey too much information on one slide. I may also swap slides around if they don't feel in a logical order.
  • I write up my notes for each slide as I go along.
  • During this stage I sometimes find that I need further information or statistics to back up facts which means more research but this is specific rather than general.
  • Once I am happy with the structure of the presentation and the slides, I practise it out loud as though speaking to an audience. If it's a subject that I'm VERY familiar with then I may just use bullet points for the notes but, as a rule, I prefer to have fairly full notes especially if it's a situation where I may be a bit nervous as this means I can read from them comfortable in the knowledge that I won't forget anything!
For the purpose of this module, I am using a PowerPoint created for use with Year 9 students doing an AQA HPQ Level 2 project and the topic is how to give presentations.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your rich and varied experience with giving presentations! Sounds like you've navigated through a lot of high-pressure situations!