PRESENTATION TIPS


Subsequent sections of this notebook provide options for delivering presentations that will help faculty fully include students with disabilities in their courses. Pages 63-74 of this section contain case studies to use during presentations. Once you select a presentation topic, consider incorporating some of the following suggestions to make your presentation more effective.

Prepare

"The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you're born and never stops working until you get up to speak in public." (Unknown)

The quality of your presentation is most directly related to the quality of your preparation. Rarely will you have difficulties in your presentation due to being overprepared.

Create a Comfortable Learning Environment

"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given." (Bertrand Russell)

Manage Your Anxiety

[Picture of a faculty member holding a microphone giving a presentation.]

"There are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars." (Mark Twain)

Nervousness before a talk or workshop is healthy. It shows that your presentation is important to you and that you care about doing well. The best performers are nervous prior to stepping on stage. Below are suggestions for assuring that anxiety does not have a negative impact on your presentation.

Create a Strong Beginning

"The greatest talent is meaningless without one other vital component: passion." (Selwyn Lager)

Keep your opening simple and exciting to engage your audience in your content.

Incorporate Universal Design Principles

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." (Confucius, 451 BC)

Model accessible teaching methods that your participants can use. Incorporate universal design principles to address the needs of participants with a wide range of knowledge, abilities, disabilities, interests, and learning styles. Examples are listed below.

Create a Dynamic Presentation

[Picture of a faculty member holding a microphone giving a speech.]

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." (Albert Einstein)

If your audience enjoys and remembers your presentation, it is because you presented it in a dynamic or compelling manner.

Make Your Presentation Interactive

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." (James Thurber)

Avoid simply lecturing to your audience. Engage your audience in an active discussion.

Include a Group Activity

"Real prosperity can only come when everybody prospers." (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt)

Include a short activity that makes an important point and encourages participation and discussion. Here's one to try. Announce that you're going to have a five-minute activity, then ask your participants to choose someone sitting nearby and share with each other two things:

  1. One thing you are very good at.
  2. One thing you are not very good at.

Have the instructions written on a presentation slide or write them on a flip chart. Read the instructions aloud. Give participants three to four minutes (there will be a lot of laughter and lighthearted talk), and then say you're not really interested in what they do well; ask people to share things that their partner does not do well. (This usually ends up funny—participants enjoy sharing that he can't do math, he hates public speaking, she's not good at fixing things around the house.)

After the fun, make the point that, "You have experienced, in a small way, what a person with an obvious disability experiences all the time—that people first notice something he or she is not particularly good at (e.g., walking, seeing, hearing) and don't take the time to learn his or her strengths. A disability may impact 10% of a person's life, yet is considered a defining characteristic by others. We need to pay attention to what everyone, including those with disabilities, can do, rather than accentuating what they can't do." To emphasize the point ask participants to reflect on how they felt when you said you weren't really interested in what they do well.

This activity is short, fun, and effective. It addresses the issue of attitudes, yet does not have some of the negative elements of traditional simulations that leave people feeling like having a disability is an impossible problem with no solution. This activity is also good to use when talking about internal and external barriers to success for students with disabilities, which can include lack of self-advocacy skills (internal barrier), and negative attitudes or low expectations on the part of individuals with whom they interact (external barrier).

Incorporate case studies

[Picture of four faculty members sitting at a table.]

"Learning is an active process. We learn by doing . . . Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind." (Dale Carnegie)

Have participants discuss case studies in small groups. At the end of this section are sample case studies that can be used in your presentation. They are all based on real experiences at postsecondary institutions. Each case study is formatted as a handout that can be duplicated for small group discussion. On the back of each activity sheet is the full description, including the solution actually employed. This version can be used for your information only or can be distributed to the group after the initial brainstorming has occurred. Participants can compare their ideas with the resolution in the actual case.

Address Key Points

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic, and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Be sure that your presentation covers the most important content for your audience.

Provide Resources for Participants to Keep

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." (Karl Marx)

Make sure that you provide your audience with information on which they can follow up after your presentation.

Conclude with a Strong Ending

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." (Benjamin Disraeli)

The most important and remembered words you speak are the last ones.

Improve Each Presentation

"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best." (Oscar Wilde)

Take steps to gain feedback about your presentation that will lead to improvements.

Conclusion

"When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." (George Washington Carver)

In summary, to give effective presentations where participants gain valuable information in a dynamic way, make sure to