Siouxsie’s Moving! or How to Nail a Presentation

Maybe not in the way you think. We’re not moving to a new house or state or anything. The movement is more of a mental shift. That title just flowed, so I went with it. Y’know. Art and creativity and all.

I’ve been reading ALL KINDS OF completely cool stuff that has just been making my brain throw off sparks. Recently, I learned about three types of blogs, the first of which was called “cat blogs.” These are blogs that are just for the writer, and their 5 readers, and are basically online journal entries. Siouxsie’s Musings has been functioning largely as a cat blog, hasn’t it? Yes, indeed.

The other two types of blogs are called SOMETHING ELSE that I can’t remember, but the gist of them was a little more outward-focused. So, I thought I’d give this blog more of an informational-yet-oh-so-entertaining feel. Let’s give it a try ….

What prompted this post was the privilege this morning of observing Anna-Jessie present her Country Project in her geography class. But, how many million homeschool/proud-of-my-kid/this-was-fun posts do we suppose are already on the internet? And no matter how witty or wise this one is, in the end on my cat blog it would just be another one of those posts.


As I drove away after the class, I was reflecting on the experience. Several students did presentations, and you’d expect me to say that Anna-Jessie’s was the best (it was, of course), but again, what if there was something in this experience that I could teach others?

There is!!

How to Nail a Presentation

1. Start on the project early. I heard two students this morning tell the teacher they have not even started their project yet and they must present one week from today. Sure, most people can throw something together in a week, and depending on other responsibilities, may even be able to put together a stunning presentation. Those who start early have time to enjoy the process, refine ideas, get some feedback, practice the speech, and figure out the logistics of any papers or visual aids (more on this in number 4 below).

2. Love the one you’re with. Maybe you have to present on an assigned subject, rather than being able to choose it yourself. Find a way to enjoy the process of THIS project. How can you include subjects or activities you love into the project? Anna-Jessie loves art and she loves to cook. She made a creative and colorful presentation, as you can see above, and her country food was something she truly enjoyed making. Another example from this morning: the student who presented on Japan brought some “green tea chocolate balls.” I spoke with him and his mother afterward, and they both had pained grimaces as they explained what the food was, and I wondered why they made something that sounded gross to them, and ended up tasting, uh, interesting to the uninitiated. And how about the young man who walked in and said, “My country food is noodles and they smell really bad.” Figuring out a way to enjoy the process will not only enhance your preparation experience, but also your presentation and the experience of those listening to you.

3. Look! There are people out there! When the presenter has facial expressions that are not carved in stone, when there is a spark in the eye, and when those eyes look at the audience, the presentation is more fun to give and to listen to. Without adequate practice, presenters sometimes present the back of their head, or the top of their head, or keep their eyes absolutely glued to their notes. Talk to your audience!

4. Figure out logistics.Thinking of an example from this morning, does your presentation flow better if you can pick up the cool Russian hat from the table right next to you? How does that compare to a. realizing you need the hat and it’s back at your desk, b. stopping the presentation to walk the 8 feet to your desk to get said hat, c. picking up hat and returning to front of room, d. talking about hat?

5. Practice ahead of time! Make sure you know how to pronounce difficult or unusual words. Vary the words you use to start sentences or sections. Avoid simply reciting facts, especially when they include numbers. A student this morning gave a statistic this morning to the TEN-THOUSANDTHS place. It wasn’t a microscopic measurement – it was a percentage of the population who live in a certain area. I would have been ok with him rounding it off.

And there you have it. 5 simple preparation tips to help you pwn that presentation!

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