Here is a simple yet quite effective set of guidelines on giving
professional presentations at conferences. It is from a flyer included in
registration packets put out by the American Association of Higher
UP NEXT: Globalization and Higher Education
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SESSION (OR WORKSHOP OR PROGRAM BRIEFING) PRESENTATION TIPS
How to Help Participants Get the Most from Your Session
1. DELIVER ON WHAT YOU'VE PROMISED.
Revisit your session description and make sure you're planning to do what
you outlined. If you must deviate from the plan, make that clear up front.
2. KEEP IT FOCUSED ON THE BIG POINTS AND ON YOUR AUDIENCE'S NEEDS.
Frame your session in terms of the problem or question you will address.
Ask "How can this session help others be more successful?" Focus on a few
big points and emphasize what is transferable. Your audience of campus
practitioners will be looking for ideas they can take home, adapt, and
3. FOCUS ON FINDINGS, LESSONS LEARNED, AND CHANGES THAT RESULTED.
Once your audience understands the "so what" of your presentation, they'll
be much more interested in hearing about the what, how, and why of it. Keep
the conference theme and the key emphasis area you've chosen to address in
mind and outline how your campus has made changes or advances in these
4. REHEARSE - BEFOREHAND.
Particularly if you're on a panel, find a way to discuss and run through
what each panelist is going to do, when, and how. Telephone conference
calls can be a great help in this process, as can email. (If you need
assistance tracking down phone numbers or email addresses, feel free to
contact us at AAHE and we'll try to help.)
5. KEEP PANEL SIZE SMALL.
We've found that enormous panels aren't very effective. Please limit your
group to 3 or 4 presenters, as requested in the Call for Proposals. If you
simply must have more than this, clear it with us and make sure that each
presenter is aware of time and topic parameters.
6. INVOLVE YOUR AUDIENCE (PARTICULARLY IF YOU'RE PRESENTING A WORKSHOP).
There are many ways to involve them, from allowing adequate question/
comment time (at least 10 minutes for any type of session) to building in
interactive exercises. Workshops, in particular, are expected to be highly
interactive in nature. In the end, your session will probably be remembered
less for what you cover than for what you help participants uncover.
7. SPEAK TO BE HEARD ... NOW AND FOREVER.
Please speak directly into the microphones and repeat audience questions
and comments so that you (and they) will be captured for future audiotape
listeners. (Note: FFRR Conference Workshops are not taped.)
8. KEEP VISUALS BIG, BOLD, AND SIMPLE.
9. BE PREPARED FOR DISASTER.
Although we make every effort to ensure that AV equipment is ready for
action, disaster can strike at any time (particularly with computer-based
visual aids). Please come prepared with low-tech substitutes: backup disks,
downloaded files and/or good-old fashioned overhead transparencies, just in
case. Remember, AAHE does not provide computers for presenters, so please
plan on bringing your own laptop and connecting cables and allow ample time
to set it up before your session.
10. GET FEEDBACK. This year, we will be providing session assessment forms
in addition to the conference assessment forms. Ask participants to fill
them out', and allow them time during your session to do so. If you don't,
they won't. This will help us to plan future conferences and to provide you
with feedback on your presentation.
FFRR - 7/99 pjb