A few months back Seth Godin released his manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams, a look at the role of school in the life of our students and our economy. It’s interesting and provocative and it’s free–download it here.
The book will take you a couple hours to read and I think some good discussions should come from it.
Seth gave a presentation recently that reveals the major points of the book. The preso is less than 20 minutes and, again, worth your consideration.
I received this note today from another professor at LCU:
Michael: Just a note to let you know that I was at a Chamber of Commerce Gov/Ed committee meeting this morning and your Business Program was saluted by [the Chamber director] for the fine graduates you are producing (including her last three assistants). Following our meeting, the director of our local CIEDA asked for your name/contact number for possible candidates; she is a former business prof. at ISU. Bottom line: Your department is getting rave reviews in the community. Thanks to you and Eric [my colleague] for your outstanding work! It is making a difference in our community!
You’ve probably seen the numbers that reading is in decline: 42% of college graduates never read another book after they finish school. Ironic, since there are now more books published each year than ever before and the number continues to grow.
So if you’re about to graduate from college, what should you read if you’re in the smarter 58%? Here are three recommendations:
What do effective presentations look like in a college classroom?
Today I offered some thoughts on this to a group of adjunct faculty at the Hargrove School at Lincoln Christian University. The faculty development session was only 45 minutes so we were limited in what we could cover but here are the key points.
Don’t default to PowerPoint – You have lots of options for learning experiences: demonstrations, writing/drawing on the whiteboard, discussion, video, and more. PowerPoint is just one tool.
One idea per slide – The less that’s on the slide, the fewer distractions, the better the focus. Instead of using one slide with six bullet points, expand that one slide out to six separate slides.
Minimize text – Closely related to #2. Don’t type everything on the slide that you plan to say. Use just a word or two.
Use pictures – Images are powerful and emotional. We remember what we feel. When you use images, don’t feel constrained by the placeholders on the slide–let your photos fill the slide. See The Girl Effect for a good example of these points.
Stories for the win - Stories engage us emotionally and spark curiosity, an essential ingredient for learning. They can also be used to keep and regain attention (See Dr. John Medina’s notes on attention from his book Brain Rules).
Give cues - Many students take notes by writing what they see on the PowerPoint slides–nothing more. Give students verbal cues: “write this down,” “this is important,” “this will be on the test.” You can also build visual cues into your presentation that help them navigate your lecture. For example, create your main point slides in one color and subpoint slides in a different color.
Today I’m giving a presentation to a group of college students on making a contribution and how to handle the pressures of college life. Here are some additional resources and here’s the slidedeck from my talk:
As the semester is ending, I’m sitting in on a number of student presentations. These are typically done by teams of college juniors and seniors in various classes: marketing, project management, and others. The teams present research and case studies before panels of faculty members as well as local community and business leaders who offer feedback on the students’ work.
I often see students make the same kinds of mistakes every semester so here’s an incomplete list of some ways to improve.
Don’t address the panel as you guys, as in “I’m sure you guys know how this…” The panel members are not your peers; address them respectfully with appropriate titles (Dr., Mr., Miss, Sir, Ma’am). Doing so will separate you from the vast majority of your peers who don’t understand these professional boundaries and it will help them (the panel members) regard you more favorably. Larger point: this will also prepare you for life after college.
Don’t bluff or BS. The panel members typically have years of experience and education beyond yours and they’ll know if you’re bluffing. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
Distribute your handouts at the end of the presentation. If the panel has your handout during the presentation, they’ll read it and ignore you.
Offer explanations and reasons backed by evidence. Be sure to tell how but also explain why.
Use stories. Data is good and necessary but you need an emotional hook to really sell your presentation.
Remember that you have about ten seconds to make your initial impression. Be prepared, rehearse, and start strong.
Have the strongest presenter in your group deliver the presentation. Other team members should be specialists in a particular knowledge area and can speak up during the Q&A period following the presentation.
If the panel offers ideas and suggestions during the Q&A or debriefing, take notes. It shows that you listen and respect their ideas.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Test your technology in the conference room before the presentation. You don’t want to fumble around with computer and projector settings and lose valuable time–and even more valuable attention–on your big day.