Getting my Zen on.

This week I am getting my zen on and talking about making a presentation ‘more zen’.  I will be going into more depth at the end of Course 3 as I am going with Option 1 for my final project.

This week I just want to give some of my initial thoughts regarding the presentation that I have chosen and the challenges that lay ahead.

It was interesting watching Presentation Zen: An Overview by Matt Helmke 

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As I discussed in my post Off we go again… I am guilty of many of the ‘sins’ when it comes to presentations. Two things for me to be thinking about when designing my new presentation are reading aloud what is simultaneously on the screen and that my slides should be capable of standing alone. I very much put everything that I am going to say on the slides that I will be sharing.

There are a couple of presentations that I give to parents that I would like to change and make ‘more zen’. One is at the very beginning of the school year, in which we go through the details of the school year ahead. The second is before we embark on a 3 day residential to the mountains.

I have chosen the information about the school year presentation to change.

Here it is in its current incarnation:

There are some slides that are obviously in need of change – especially those that are very heavily bullet pointed and, word for word state everything that we are saying out loud.

A prime example is the reading expectations slide.

reading slide

I watched the following video, in which I was introduced to ‘The Redundancy Effect’. People are able to read information faster than they can process hearing it. By the time I have finished talking about reading, the parents have already read everything that I am going to say!

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Thinking ahead to the end of Course 3 and making a new presentation, there are a couple of challenges that I really need to think about:

  • Making sure that parents have all the information they need – so that at the end of the presentation we aren’t fielding a huge number of questions
  • I share presenting duty with 3 of my colleagues – how do I convince them of the need to change a presentation that they have been comfortable giving for the past couple of years? This is especially a worry for me, as it is comforting to read the information from the slides verbatim! I am generally quite a confident presenter – but not all of my colleagues are. Having all the information to constantly refer to is a huge comfort!

So. I have a few things to be mindful of over the next few weeks as I head towards my Course 3 final project. I am looking forward to sharing the final outcome with you.



6 thoughts on “Getting my Zen on.

  1. Hi Dan,
    First of all, I really like the new look of your blog. It’s clean and crisp. I also like the font, which makes it really easy to read.

    This is a good choice for a presentation to re-do–it already has the content, so that’s a nice start. You know it will be used and you also want to make a good first impression on parents. As to this concern: “how do I convince them of the need to change a presentation that they have been comfortable giving for the past couple of years?” What if you made a copy, made changes to that, and then presented your new and improved version to your colleagues. Say, “Hey, I had to do this for a class–what do you think?” I’m sure they will love it. If they are nervous about not having all their text on the slides, you can also print out a version with notes, so they can refer to them as they present.

    I’ve gotten so excited about this unit and so I have a lot of ideas for what you could do, but I don’t want to come across as a crazy person. I’m sure you have lots of ideas of your own and don’t really need mine. So let’s leave it at this. If you WANT my thoughts, shoot me a message and I’ll share. Otherwise, I’m sure it will turn out amazing and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


    • Valerie

      Thanks for you comments – that is exactly what I will do.

      I am glad to hear any suggestions that you have – that is very generous of you to offer!


  2. Dan
    Good new look and feel to the blog. Just being mindful and thinking about how you want to change a presentation is key. Its a start of a mindshift on how we engage with information.

    • Jason

      I agree – even small changes are a start and will get me thinking about how I present any information in the future.


  3. Hi Dan – just to add to this convo – in terms of making sure parents have all the info they need… Could the presentation be embedded onto the class blog or other similar location so they can refer to it in their own time (esp ESL parents). And in terms of not reading off of slides – perhaps you could have slide notes or something similar to keep you / your coworkers on track.

  4. Hi Dan,
    Funny you chose your parent night presentation because after this week’s readings and thinking about my final project for the course, I’m thinking this, my parent night presentation, is the presentation to change. I however, have the same wonderful dilemma, how to convince my teammates we need to make a change? I do like Valerie’s idea of using this class as an excuse. I’m going to plant the seed now that I’m doing this work so come August, they’ve heard about this before. I also think even now by sharing a bit here and there about presentation design may help. Perhaps there’s even a meeting or person you’ve all seen present that’s the example of good or bad and that can be a person to model (or not) after. In the end, if I can sway one or my teammates, that’s a success. As you said, people have different levels of confidence in presenting and maybe just the design and transferring notes to their own cards or paper is a start and a win.
    Good luck!

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