Having recently attended the SWAT Conference “Enter the Dragon” at Poole Grammar School, one of the most memorable workshops for me was the final one of the afternoon ( in itself unusual?) I entered the room to see party blowers/hooters on each table, which immediately raised my expectations – although others in the room said that their hearts sank at the same sight, so I guess you can’t please all of the people …
The session was entitled Head into the Dragon’s mouth which referred to the occasional necessity for delivering presentations or CPD not only to strangers but to your colleagues. Yes, those people that you usually sit with and moan about someone else’s presentation skills…
Of course all the advice given by Jo Sibley during the presentation is valid for any type of presentation; in class to your eager students, at a conference to polite strangers, or in the staff room to your honest peers.
The key points were: give them something to do (pairs, groups or individually); ask a provocative question; give time to chat/think; and something physical to do if the session is long.
It is important to be convincing – don’t talk about it if you can’t at least sound excited by your material; add as many bells and whistles as you can, and accept the fact that if your audience don’t take away everything you’d hoped for, they will at least retain the most important point ~ “If you take nothing else from this session, at least…”
She also spoke about checking your technology in advance, but then trusting it, and if it does go wrong stay cool and don’t keep apologising; never read your slides and keep bullet points to a minimum for each slide. Reward all contributions/engagement even if negative and LISTEN to responses; and finally ASK for feedback, be generous and brave.
None of this was rocket science, but all the points were certainly ones we have all seen and despaired over when they are lacking – a very useful way to end a very useful day.
So what was the one thing I took away with me? The party blower of course, which I used to entertain the troops on the way home in the minibus. They loved it.
Sue Moreton IAG co-ordinator