Making Presentations… !?!

Making presentations in front of colleagues can be one of the most terrifying experiences a librarian can have. What can a librarian do to help overcome this anxiety and deliver something memorable and meaningful? Read!

Some awesome books and blogs that I’ve recently discovered:

1. David Lee King’s Blog Post: Two Ways to Improve Your Presentations

David Lee King is an inspirational librarian. He’s full of realistic, practical ideas that are simple yet the way he articulates them just gets me thinking. I always leave his blog feeling like I’m full of new ideas.

Two great bits of advice he gave:

1.     Tell a story.

2.     End with Next Steps.

(read more about it in his blog post)

2. Slide:ology

This is a gorgeous book by Nancy Duarte gives tons of ideas for designing presentations, yes, not making but designing. The professional and yet often simplistic slide examples are easy to use in your own presentations. The ideas can be applied to any Power Point presentation, no fancy software needed.

Some of my favourite sections:

- Innovating with sticky notes (pp. 28-9)

- Flow: ordering how the information is processed (p. 96)

- How many words should be on a slide? (p. 144) 

3. Talk like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds 


Author Carmine Gallo has worked with executives at many well-known companies and has written about the presentation style of the late Steve Jobs. I loved reading through this book, but it took a long time. I ended up putting it down constantly to watch the TED talks presentations that he mentioned.

Some of my favourite take-aways

- Master the art of storytelling, tell stories to reach people’s heart and minds (p. 44)

- Reveal information that’s completely new, even if its just a novel way to solve an old problem (p. 113)

and most importantly…

- The Rule of Three Pervades Our Daily Lives (p. 191)

Here Gallo explains that the rule of 3 is everywhere. The 3 musketeers. The 3 primary colours. The 3 elements that make up an atom. Fork, Knife, Spoon. The list goes on, the point is that this is a great format to keep in mind when creating a presentation. Stick to 1 main concept backed up by 3 points, present a story in 3 parts, or use 3 lessons to reinforce a theme. Your audience will be able to remember your key message and the evidence you provided to back it up more easily if you organize it for them in a grouping of 3.

4. Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen Blog

Reynold’s is an American living in Japan that has presented all over the world. His blog has videos of his presentations and lots of great advice. He also happens to be mentioned in Slide:ology (p. 89) which I coincidentally notice while flipping back through it to write this blog post. 

5. Webinars

I love keeping up with the latest trends in education, technology and librarianship and webinars are the way to go!

Destiny Follett (even if you do not use this library management software!) has a lot of excellent webinars that have info on new apps, maker spaces, and fun things to do with your library. Yes, they always include Follett specific stuff but you can always skip that or shut it off once you’ve gotten what you need out of it. They normally provide all the links on a PDF afterwards so you can refer back to everything easily.

What electronic subscriptions does your library have? Many have free webinars, for example,

- Newsela


- Novelist

- LibGuides (Spring Share)

For the most part these are free and can be watched after the presentation if you aren’t able to attend the live version, which is just as good! With social media you can connect with the presenter if you have a question that didn’t get answered, so don’t worry about missing the live version. I have been amazed at how responsive presenters are by asking them questions about their presentations on Twitter.

I hope this inspires you to try something new the next time you make a presentation.

Kendra Perkins