Friday, 9 November 2012

What makes a great conference session?

First session this morning is how to write a good conference presentation. It had better be good. Started with a slide of how most of us are too busy to think about presenting at conferences. Had a cat on it so good for me.

The notes from the presentation are here if anyone wants to see more detail. There's also links to some good resources.

What makes a great conference session? Quick survey round attendees came up with 11 terms:
New take
Great graphics
Clear message
Though provoking
Matches title
Uses humour

Avoid death by PowerPoint. Most people tend to put everything they want to say on the slide and just read it out. You lose the audience immediately doing this. Another common mistake:

Think of presentation as a story, and you as the storyteller.
Work out what your one big idea is, who your audience is, and deliver with authenticity - bring a human touch to it, a little bit of who you are. Bring yourself into the sessions.

Blueprint your session. Define and thoroughly understand your audience. You need to focus on what matters to them.

One big idea. The one key message you must focus on. Make sure everything you say relates back to it.

To get to give a presentation you have to write a winning proposal, at EDUCAUSE it goes to a programme committee.
Need to research and understand the CFP (Call for proposal). Understand themes and tracks. Connect your one big idea to the conference theme. Have a catchy title and abstract. There's some resources on how to do it in the link above.
Make sure the abstract whets the appetite, make it intriguing and interesting, but has to represent what you'll actually be talking about.

Then you have to design your presentation. Use your one big idea as a filter, and keep the audience in mind. Outline the pretension using story boarding. PowerPoint very linear, prezi makes you think in a different way. Lots of other tools - Google docs can be very powerful. Think about design, very important.

Think about how you might use social media, twitter hashtag, Facebook etc.

Delivering session. Prepare and practice. Memorise as much as possible. Engage with your audience. Read and abide by the TED 10 commandments that all TED presenters get sent to them!

Good session, and the resources are definitely worth looking at.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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