December 1, 2015

You’ve been exploring the topic of your passion project, whether it was learning new crochet stitches while making an afghan, learning about how to get into a potential career and the myriad of choices you have in it, or bringing a bit of joy into someone else’s life. Now is the time to share what you’ve learned.

You will each give a presentation that involves an informal, but organized and informative speech with a digital component, a la TED Talks. We’ve all found TED Talks inspirational, so take your cues from those. Watch a few to analyze them for how the presenters hook their audience, how they organize their information, how they engage with the audience and what they have on their slides (not many words, at all). The Passion Project Talks I have shared and have linked below are also based on TED Talks.

We will decide together:

  • How long the presentations should be
  • What presentation apps you have to choose from
  • How many images you should have; how many slides you need

I strongly suggest you plan your presentation the way you do an essay, deciding on your main thesis, then your points, or subtopics. Then decide what order you’ll hit those subtopics. A web works great for this, but so does an outline (if you already know what order you want your subtopics).

Then storyboard your speech/presentation. That is, on a piece of paper (or 3), draw rectangles that represent your slides. Note or sketch what will go on each. Plan to erase a lot as new ideas come to you or you rearrange your ideas. Your slides should provide key ideas and images, NOT YOUR SPEECH. Your audience does not want to read your slides, especially if you are reading them, too. The information you gathered was for YOU. Consider your audience and what THEY would want to know as you plan your presentation. You will not, necessarily, include everything you learned.

For the speech, you need a hook, and there are several things you can try:

  • The challenge
  • The provocative question
  • The powerful quote
  • The surprising statistic
  • An unusual fact
  • A poignant story
  • The unexpected
  • The teaser

After the hook, proceed with your subtopics in the order you have decided to approach them, but here are some aspects you should consider including:

  • How you chose your project – any obstacles? change your mind?
  • What was involved in the project, how often and what you did
  • What you learned about the topic
  • Who your mentor(s) was and how he/she/they factored in. Even if you didn’t get around to finding someone to communicate directly with, where did you get help from?
  • How often did you update your project on your blog and what did those updates consist of?
  • What did you learn about yourself? Surprises? Disappointment?
  • How does this info/this project affect you going forward? Will it help you make choices? Has it changed your mind about anything? Opened your eyes to anything?

Finally, find a way to close.

  • Summarize
  • Leave them with a memorable thought
  • Provide a call to action

What you have on your slides (very little text, images) should provide the keys to help you remember where you are going next in your speech. However, you may bring along a note card or two with key words to jog your memory.

I recommend writing out the entire speech the way you’d like to say it, and read it over A LOT. Practice doing it from memory in the shower, while driving or riding in the car, as you’re drifting off to sleep, but remember you’ll have your note card with you, as well as the slides to guide  you.

We’ll talk more about actually presenting later in the week.


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