I learned something yesterday. In fact, I learned a huge amount yesterday, in one lesson with a student. She was presenting a powerpoint about the Demogrpahic Dividend, discussing the youth bulge, the Arab Spring, the potential in a growing population of young people in developing countries.

I was fascinated.

Why don’t I read about this stuff? Why do I, on repeat, read photos-with-words-on, thinly-veiled racism and constant adverts on facebook? Why do I scroll through hundreds of tweets that mean nothing to me? Why do I do it to myself?

So I stopped.

I deleted the apps from my phone and now I only look at FB and Twitter in my working hours, on the computer. It’s been like giving up coffee – I haven’t found it easy. I have been clearly over-checking these sites as now they have left a gap in my day. But working with that student yesterday has inspired me to relearn how to use the internet! I don’t want to surface surf any more, I want to read. Obviously I still read books and I never take a screen to bed, always a book, but when I’m reading online I want it to be worthwhile.

I would love your recommendations! Tell me the INTERESTING sites, where I can LEARN, in-depth, not news as that’s often filled with lies, but content-filled sites.

Now that we’ve discussed the content, which has given me opportunity for a rant, I’d like to give some tips based on what we discussed during her presentation.

  1. Make the visuals appealing. If it is very text-heavy, which it sometimes has to be, draw out the main points using bold, underline or italic. Use different fonts and sizes to separate points.
  2. Now use that visual separation to guide your delivery of that slide. Only read out the main points, paraphrase inbetween. DO NOT READ OUT THE ENTIRE SLIDE. Most people can speed-read between the points anyway.
  3. Use graphs if they illustrate your point, then don’t paraphrase the content of the graph, but instead say what this graph means. Does it change the way we think or understand something? Does it confirm something you are delivering about? Graphs are a great way to instantly understand something.
  4. If using clipart or photos, make them metaphorical rather than allegorical. Use piles of money instead of £ signs, keep the pictures simple and on a plain background to keep it stylish. Use a cake when dividing responsibilities, a sunrise when describing a new way of thinking of doing, a rubber duck when discussing throwing out old ways. Be creative and don’t explain your choices. Leave the audience curious.
  5. Try different programmes. Powerpoint is user-friendly and simple but Prezi is impressive and slick. Try new ways of moving between slides and themes.
  6. Take a breath. Change the slide and breathe. Let people absorb the slide then move their eyes back to you, then smile and start speaking.
  7. Speak clearly and look people in the eye. Move from one row to the next, from one side of the room to the other.
  8. Collect everyone in using expansive gestures. Gently throw an arm out to encompass everyone on one side, then the other. Close the arms together to complete the gesture.
  9. Show that you have stated a fact or finished a point by allowing the intonation to fall at the end of the sentence.
  10. When listing points make your pitch go up, up, down. For example: John will be working with the European Office (up), the Asian Office (up) and the Australian Office (down).

Try and enjoy the delivery of your presentation! The audience will enjoy it more if you do!


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