Monthly Archives: November 2015

Event report 2: Making your message stick, with Ned Potter

ARLG NW and CILIP NW offered 2 free student places for our October event, Making your message stick, with Ned Potter. We’re pleased to present write-ups from both students. We published the first yesterday, by Christine Tate. Today is Katie Nicholas’ turn. Katie’s a student at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Prior to this training I had a basic understanding of how to create a PowerPoint but Ned’s training introduced me to so many features I had never made proper use of, including picture formatting options and textbox features. Tips about using minimal space on the slide and the importance of fonts have already been incredibly useful for presentations I am delivering at university and for work.

Ned introduced us to a plethora of great websites where one can source images to create backgrounds without breaching any copyright laws or licenses. The time provided in the session to try each resource and experiment with PowerPoint meant I could ask questions whilst using the new tools. This meant I felt more equipped to use them on my own after the session. The training also gave advice on using these techniques in real-world situations such as working with organisational templates and branding.

The training offered advice on lowering the risk of technical issues by describing the anatomy of a slide and issues with projector alignment – for example not placing vital points near the top or bottom of a slide where they may be lost or obstructed by members of the audience or the projector screen. It is easy to forget about delivering a presentation for real when you are immersed in creating content, making the presentation aesthetically pleasing and remembering what to say so this was a welcome reminder.

The afternoon sessions gave an introduction to Prezi and an overview of presentation and communication skills. I was aware of Prezi but had never used it and was unsure how it worked. Ned effectively used a Prezi to explain the features, pros and cons and most importantly when not to use it. The main message I took away was that Prezi is great for specific kinds of presentations but should be used with caution. Practice is also a necessity! The interactivity and zoom in and out features are fantastic for dipping in and out of material or if you want a more holistic approach as the user sees the whole presentation from the start. Ned advised us to map out our Prezi before adding text and images in the online templates to create more cohesive end results – this was helpful as it is quite a different way of approaching presentations compared to PowerPoint where you can input a structure into slides and amend the visual features later.

By outlining the pitfalls and strengths of Prezi I felt more comfortable experimenting with the templates available and armed with enough knowledge to know when it may be appropriate to use.

The final session gave concise and cohesive advice about planning and preparing any presentation. The importance of researching, structuring and practicing your presentation was highlighted and tips like using the 3:3:3 approach will help organise my ideas in future. Tips on timing information on slides, rehearsing and familiarising yourself with the material and not just memorising will all help me deliver better presentations.

The day has given me lots of resources, tips and real-world advice that I am already venturing to use and has reminded me of the effectiveness and potential of PowerPoint when used in different ways.

Thanks to both Christine and Katie for their thoughts, and to Ned for hosting the workshop.

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Event report: Making your message stick

ARLG NW and CILIP NW offered 2 free student places for our October event, Making your message stick, with Ned Potter. We’re pleased to present write-ups from both students. The first is from Christine Tate, a current student studying the MA in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

I was pleased to receive a student place on the ‘making your message stick’ event by CILIP NW Member Network and ARLG NW. I am a full time student on the MA in library and information management course and I thought that this event would be a valuable opportunity to develop my presentation skills.

The workshop was led by Ned Potter and we started the day with a presentation on how to create Powerpoint presentations that would engage your audience and leave them thinking about your key message. Ned explained that your presentation should address the overlap between what you know and what your audience wants or needs to know. It is too easy to fall into the trap of using a presentation to express everything you know about a subject and therefore providing more information than the audience needs. Ned demonstrated how this could be done by formatting and presenting your slides in a way that helps people to learn, avoiding common pitfalls such as an over-reliance on bullet points and putting too much content on each slide. We were then given an opportunity to put this into practice when Ned provided us with three different methods to create effective presentations depending on how much time we had or what type of presentation we had to give. I thought the workshop was a good balance of theory and practice, we were given time to explore the resources and try out the new techniques.

After lunch we moved on to look at Prezi. Ned gave us a presentation on how to make the most of Prezi by utilising the useful features that it contains that Powerpoint doesn’t. Ned warned us that due to Prezi’s tendency to make some people feel seasick it is often best to only use it when there is a specific reason to justify its use. Through the presentation I learnt that Prezi does indeed have some unique content that distinguishes it from traditional presentations, the example that stood out the most was the ability to use Prezi to create an interactive map which could be used in a library setting to allow the user to explore the collection and seamlessly access tools and information on how to use resources. The day drew to a close by examining the practical aspects of giving a presentation. Ned gave us advice on how to deliver presentations and work with any nerves we might be experiencing.

It was encouraging to see the progress in the presentations I was able to create by the end of workshop compared to the basic Powerpoint and Prezi presentations I could make at the start. I am sure that the skills and techniques I developed at the workshop will be of assistance in my academic work this year and in any professional post I am able to gain after completing the course. I am giving a presentation in a few weeks time on special libraries in Manchester and I am excited to put my new presentation skills into use.

Thanks to Christine for her thoughts; tomorrow we’ll hear from the other student place winner, Katie Nicholas.

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