As a professional group I tend to think that academic librarians make pretty good speakers. Many of us get on-the-job experience making presentations for our colleagues, or we regularly get up in front of students to teach, and if one’s experience involves getting hammered with questions at a reference desk it helps to develop the ability to respond to questions under pressure. And these days good speakers need to be adept with managing a variety of technologies, at understanding how to create good visuals (particuarly for off-line presenting or emergency backups) and coping with on-the-spot technology mishaps – all the sorts of things most academic librarians can do well. All that aside, who among us could say no to some good advice for becoming a better speaker.
You may find this set of “18+1 Bits of Tongue in Cheek Advice for Speakers” just right for a Friday. Since one of my major pet peeves is poor use of PowerPoint in presentations I’d say Tip #18 is well worth committing to memory:
18) If you insist on using PowerPoint, here are the ground rules;
The folks at the very back of the room must be able to read every slide.
No text less than 30pt in size.
When selecting font and background colors; no yellow on white or black on blue.
Read out all the text on a slide on pain of deathâ€¦ consider yourself duly warned.
Keep the number of slides below the number of minutes in your presentation.
If there are technical problems, you are still expected to give a good presentation.
I think the author shows good selectivity here because a list of PPT do’s and don’ts could go on and on.
Enjoy the list – and here’s to better and better presentations by academic librarians!
BONUS TIP - If you are serious about improving your speaking and presentations definitely take a look at this author’s speaker evaluation form!