A Presentation is a ‘Precious Opportunity’

Last week, students in one of my classes at Rider University (COM105 Mass Media Communication) completed their first team challenge presentations. Evaluated by their peers, each team entertained and educated their audience (me and their classmates) for up to 10 minutes. Some presentations were entertaining. Some were not. Some were rehearsed, but others were not. The whole experience reminded me of a blog post from Seth Godin last April called “The Hierarchy of Presentations.”

The key takeaways from Seth Godin’s post are:

1. A presentation is a precious opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted.

2. The purpose of a presentation is to change minds — or, in our case, to inform and educate (and to persuade our audience to give us good evaluations and grades).

It’s obvious that some of my students already know what makes a presentation work, and they recognize the value of a presentation opportunity. But, I think it’s a good idea to remind all of us to consider our goals when we’re making presentations — and to make sure we’re communicating and really connecting with our audience in a professional manner. Otherwise, don’t waste your audience’s time.

Until next time, polish up your presentation skills and take care! ;-)

Kathy Magrino

Comments

  1. Hi Kathy, thought I’d stop by and see what you do. Sounds like you really enjoy your work with students!

    Have you found that your students create presentations that excite an audience?

    • Kathy Magrino says:

      Hi, Robyn! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I do love working with my students at Rider University! In answer to your question “Have you found that your students create presentations that excite an audience?”, I have to be honest and say that, generally, the answer is no they do not. (BUT, there are some students that do!!) I’m hoping that, working together in my classes, we learn from each other about the importance of focusing on our audiences and injecting creativity into our presentations. Thanks, again, and I’ll tweet you soon!
      Kathy

  2. Maybe it would be fun to challenge the students to bring in an element of surprise to their presentations, one that will really hook their audience to the topic. Or even to invite people in to see their presentations. When produced for a wider audience it revs them up a notch. Just some ideas. Like you, I am challenged to motivate more students. The brain loves challenges!

    • Kathy Magrino says:

      Yes! I totally agree with you about “challenging” the students (and I like your idea of telling them to bring in an element of surprise to the presentations)! I’ve designed one of the courses I’m teaching now (COM105 Mass Media Communication) as a “Survivor-type” game. We have “Team Challenges” and “Individual Assignments” where each student earns “points” toward their final grade for the course. For the Team Challenges, each team earns points depending upon where they rank in the evaluations (they’re being evaluated by their classmates on most challenges — I’ll evaluate the final challenge myself). So far, everyone seems to be having fun!! We’re in the middle of our second challenge presentations right now… and the presentations have been strong. For the last challenge, we had some really good presentations, including a video (I’ll need to ask my students for permission to distribute it, and maybe I’ll distribute it here…) Thanks, Robyn!

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