Monday, November 5, 2012

What's my presentation style?

I remember my first "presentation" in higher ed.  It was at SAC just presenting about the Office of Student Life.  Sharing with a Student Development class what we did and how we did it, with a basic powerpoint and taking only about 30 minutes.  A year later I made my first presentation to a group larger than 100, an orientation program designed by an outside group but executed by me, this time a 55 minute one.  I never knew I'd be a nervous presenter, I don't remember being nervous speaking in college or in high school- sure I had terrible stage fright, but talking? I love to talk! But I remember being so nervous before my first orientation session, after that one was over and they laughed in the right places I was off.  I took over all the student and advisor trainings and even MC'd the annual awards banquet.  Nerves be damned.

 5 years later I enjoy presenting, yah I get nervous when presenting a new topic, but I jump at the opportunity to present.  I like being in front of students and sharing with them what I know.  Even better I like being in front of faculty and staff sharing what I know.  At UTSA I presented to both, I submitted presentation proposals to a student leadership conference and a staff development conference and was accepted to both.  Both only hour presentations, but both awesome.  It felt great to apply for something I wanted and something I researched and then get it.  

At TAMU presenting is a part of my job.  When I interviewed in person they asked me to prepare a presentation on Risk Management.  Just five minutes and not to worry too much about content, cause they were more interested in my presentation style.  Well I don't know what my style is.  I usually use power point cause I dislike prezi, I don't like handouts cause it wastes paper and I usually don't have a lot of questions afterwards cause I field them during.  So is that a style?  So I did a simple presentation with some Coyote cartoons and that was it.  

So a week or so ago my boss told me that in two weeks she wanted me to give a presentation, open to the department, on how to review contracts.  I was just learning how to review contracts that week, but the best way to learn something is to have to present on it.  It gives you a deadline to learn it, makes you ask questions and makes you an expert.  But how am I going to present it?  My initial reaction to is always make presentations more fun than boring, but it's such a serious subject- contracts.  Contracts aren't fun and exciting, they're tedious and you have to pay attention to all the little details.  I went with my first instinct though when I interviewed and went for entertaining, so I'm hoping that's what they want here too. I can't stand up in front of my co-workers droning on about the importance of Student Rule 42 and making sure it states "a recognized organization" instead of the institution name and not try to liven it up a little bit.  All the while reminding them "I'm not a lawyer" this is just advice.

So I have the outline done and I found a background I like in powerpoint but now I need a theme.  A good theme that will keep them engaged and happy without losing the point of the presentation.

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