1. How has this week’s readings changed your perspective about presenting and reaching audiences?
I would say that the readings have just reinforced the idea that I really need to be organized and do my homework to have a successful presentation. I like the idea of starting with the end in mind, (per Joe McVeigh in TESOL,) and looking carefully at a rubric such as the sample given by Concordia University. The concise guide for writing a conference proposal provided by Educause will definitely work as an outline for me. For example, it will be very important to think about who our audience is, (adult learners and primarily literacy professionals,) and to present with their learning styles and interests in mind. I loved Don McMillan’s “Life After Death of Power Point” video and will try not to do so many of the silly errors that he pointed out! There will be absolutely no flashing or simultaneously moving text in the presentation! I really enjoyed his suggestions, and I think it’s because he used humor. I will try to incorporate some humor into our presentation because I think it’s a great way to reach audiences of any age. I noticed a reference after the Concordia sample proposals for TED presentation tips, called: “The TED Commandments: Rules every speaker needs to know: http://www.timlonghurst.com/blog/2008/05/16/the-ted-commandments-rules-every-speaker-needs-to-know/. This looked intriguing, so I will watch it this weekend. In general, this week’s readings helped me to get focused on tailoring the presentation for the specific needs and interests of our adult, highly literate audience. I love that I’m working with a partner because we will be giving each other second opinions and suggestions, as recommended by Joe McVeigh in TESOL’s “Tips on Writing Successful Conference Presentation Proposals.” I think we will also ask Dr. Mesmer for a strong critique before submitting a proposal to VSRA, too. So, these readings have helped me quite a lot with what to consider as we begin to prepare our presentation proposal.
2. What questions or concerns do you still have about presenting at VSRA?
Oh dear! Well, I’m a little nervous, but thrilled to be working with a partner. I would really appreciate lots of feedback as we formulate the proposal and work out the kinks of our presentation. Do you know how much time a presentation is generally allotted? What are some specific characteristics that you personally have noted about excellent presentations at VSRA? What is the number one thing, in your opinion, to avoid when giving a presentation to adults? I am open to suggestions for public speaking because it does make me a tad nervous. On the other hand, I’m getting excited too.