Conceiving the Presentation

Conceiving your presentation well is the first step toward a successful audience experience.

  • Content: The content of your presentation should be of broad interest, but include specifics that will help the audience understand what you are talking about and why, and how it might apply to their sites.
  • Objectives: Good presenters have a clear idea of what they hope to accomplish with their presentations. Complete these two statements:
    • The objective of this session is …
    • At the conclusion of the session, attendees will be able to …

These two suggestions should help you design an effective presentation. You need to know several things about your topic before you proceed very far into creating a presentation:

  • Who is the presentation for?
  • What do I expect them to gain from it?
  • Why would people want to come?

If you know the answers to these questions, and let them shape your presentation, your audience will be much more likely to gain from the time they spend with you.

Who is the presentation for?

Defining your audience is a key part of making your presentation useful. If you are presenting a highly technical subject and people do not realize that, many people will feel lost and disappointed by the presentation, even if it is excellent. If you present a subject at a basic level and experienced people attend, they may feel cheated because they already know everything you are presenting. This is a good reason to make sure the intended audience is specified clearly in your presentation proposal. If you did not clearly identify an audience in your original proposal, contact your track coordinator and get it changed as soon as possible.

The other side of the coin is for you. If you have not defined a specific audience, you may disappoint everyone. You may give too many basics for advanced users and too much detail for beginners. Pick an audience and focus your whole presentation on that audience. An occasional tidbit for someone more or less advanced might be fine, but your goal is to meet the needs of your audience. Define your audience well and review every part of your presentation to make sure you are targeting the right group.

What do I expect them to gain from it?

  • Do you want your audience to get a general overview of a topic?
  • Do you want them to know the technical details sufficiently well that they could do this for themselves?
  • Do you want to give attendees a chance to discuss their own situations?
  • Do you want to provide them with a document they can refer to as a reference?
  • Do you want to blow your institution’s horn?
  • Do you want to share your joy or frustration?

Whatever you choose as your goal for the audience, review every aspect of your presentation to make sure it contributes to that end. Throw away or modify anything that doesn’t fit your objectives. If you feel that you haven’t accomplished your goal, determine what needs to be added, changed or deleted so that you will. Be brutal.

Why would people want to come?

During each session slot at ELUNA, attendees have the choice of 8-10 sessions they could attend. Why would they want to attend yours? Make sure that what you have come up with for your audience and for your focus is something that would appeal to others. If you have decided that your intended audience is Media library staff who formerly used MediaNet with Geac, and you want them to learn how to convert their MediaNet data to the Voyager Media Scheduling module, you may be focusing too narrowly. Out of the nearly 900 attendees at ELUNA, this session may only appeal to two, and it may be too late for them to use what they would gain from your session. They might choose to go to something else, instead.

Choose an audience that is broad enough to give you a reasonable group. Choose goals that will appeal to a reasonable percentage of that group. Consider what kind of sessions would appeal to you and to others from your institution. If you have any questions about your audience or focus, talk to your track coordinator about their reaction to your suggestions.

Go back to Presenter’s Tips