Category: how to present

Total 8 Posts

How To Present Well: Think Less. Type More.

I started something in GoogleDocs and didn’t stop for five minutes. Put down your thoughts. Group thoughts into sentences, sentences into paragraphs. Schedule paragraphs so they don’t stray too far from the through-line.

For example, I wanted to discuss the cliché of good teachers assigning gross, indecipherable handouts to students and then expecting neat, decipherable work. That one’s several degrees off the trail, though, so I made sure to refresh our through-line immediately before and after it. It’s a dance. Leaving, returning. Expanding, retracting. You’re flirting with the through-line the whole way through.

This whole step would go without saying except so often it’s our tendency to build our presentations from the PowerPoint Keynote slides up. But Keynote has an immoral tendency to linearize complicated arguments, to break good thought into retarded bullet points. Keynote is still a couple days out.

Here is my brain dump, everything that struck me as interesting or worth sharing, listed in bullet points that do not proceed orderly from one to the next:


How To Present Well: Find the Through-Line

I wish it went without saying but I need to say it: you should love your presentation topic like a child. The thought of it should fill you with purpose and set a grin to your face which others around you will find annoying.

Expect your audience to have exactly 20% your enthusiasm. Thus, if your enthusiasm level is only at 70% throughout your presentation, the best you can expect of your audience is 14% enthusiasm. 14%! That’s science, people, don’t try to argue me on this. If you aren’t feeling it, please don’t inflict your tepid emotional state on the rest of us.


How To Present Well: Introduction

The self-aggrandizing title embarrasses me a little, but to the extent that it’s culturally acceptable to acknowledge our strengths alongside our weaknesses this is mine: I know how to present well. I’m learning lots. Constantly. Almost always by example. Better presentations than mine make my presentations better. This is an appropriate occasion to share what I’ve learned.

See, this has been a depressing summer so far and until recently, I was sure it was gonna end that way. I invested sixty- and seventy-hour weeks this last school year into my identity as Dan Meyer, Teacher. About the second week of pretending to be Dan Meyer, Video Editor, I became, in a very real sense, depressed. I felt flat, mopey, humorless. I wore out the snooze button.

But then somewhere in June I was given an hour to present anything to a group of pre-service math teachers in San Jose, CA. My life has been the second half of a Zoloft commercial since. I’ve invested a lot of time into this presentation not because it demanded it but because every minute I spent hacking away at it, I felt reconnected to the best part of my professional life.

This blog wasn’t around for the construction of my last presentation (everything before January was back-dated) so it seemed appropriate to blog the process of this one.

It’s called “Kicking out the Cliché.” I present it July 19th. It’ll be my best presentation to date. In six (more) daily installments, here’s why.