The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Monday, February 15, 2016

Preparing to present: a new approach

Recently, a number of things have got me thinking about the visual aspects of the presentations I give. And I was inspired to try out a new approach to preparing the slides for my next talk.

In a Facebook discussion about tips for newbie presenters, someone mentioned the impact that visuals can have; a picture speaks a thousand words and all that. That got me thinking that I rarely use visuals and maybe I could include some more.

Then I read a really interesting article that suggested that when teachers use text-heavy slides in class, students actually retain less of the information. The article explains that this is because the overload of information (written on the slides plus the teacher's commentary) can just be confusing, so neither source quite hits home. The article was about high-school students (not especially ELT), but I wondered whether the same principles might apply to conference presentations.

Now, of course, I already try not to overload my slides with lots of text, but as someone who talks primarily about language, it's a bit difficult to get away from altogether. Never one to shy away from a challenge though, I thought I'd try and give it a go.

This weekend I've been putting together a talk for an EAP conference in St Andrews at the end of the month. I realized I couldn't quite wean myself off words altogether, but I've completely abandoned my usual style of slides with bullet points of the key points and gone for a very low-text alternative. Here's a taster ...

If any of you are in St Andrews and come along to my session, I'd be really interested to get your feedback on how the slides work out. Did you like the visuals or were you yearning for some old-skool bullet points?!

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Blogger Unknown said...

oh goodness, I was definitely not yearning for old school bullet points, I strongly believe this is how all powerpoint presentations should look. Great to see your bucking the trend of incomprehensible, text-laden slides at conferences!!!

7:21 am  
Blogger The Toblerone Twins said...

Thanks, David.
I was actually at another event this weekend and spent most of the sessions analysing the presenters' slides. Even more convinced now that 'less is more' is the way to go :)

9:07 am  

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