I’m talking with my evaluation and non-evaluation friends to learn more about great presentations as part of the American Evaluation Association’s new Potent Presentations Initiative (P2i).
I asked Herb Baum to reflect upon some of the best presenters he’s seen and heard. What makes these presentations so great? I hope you enjoy reading Herb’s input.
“I think one of the best presentations I attended was by Edward Tufte. One of the reasons his presentation was so good is that he does not use PowerPoint. His belief is that graphics are there to enhance our presentation, but not be the presentation. He is a graphics person and I am not, so I still use PowerPoint. My slides are brief and raise issues for discussion rather than than being the presentation. A good presenter adds to the presentation as opposed to reading what I could read on my own.
The other point about a good presenter is that they occasionally throw in relevant humor. Beginning with a joke to get people’s attention does not work. Rather, as the presentation is progressing, tell an anecdote about how difficult it was to obtain a response from somebody, or how you blundered interpreting the data.
The presenter has to engage the audience. Throw out relevant questions and wait for a response. Ask the audience about their experience with the same.
I think the last point I would make is do not present results unless they are relevant to the point. At evaluation conferences, I am tired of hearing results demonstrating the effectiveness of a given program. I much prefer hearing why it was challenging to measure the effectiveness of the program and what was done to overcome those challenges.”
– Herb Baum
Making (evaluation) presentations takes a form of navigation it seems, and I could use a good map. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes when developing the presentation, nobody wants to sit through another *womp womp womp womp womp womp* with stale charts and graphs, engagement is key, show me you’re human 🙂 I was very nervous before my last presentation, after months of planning, data entry, and analysis I was sure I would put the room to sleep with my ____(way too many slides). It was a presentation on qualitative data and I felt the need to be very thorough based on the nature of the meeting. The audience members really engaged with almost every single slide and it seemed to tell a story of its own *pats self on the back*. Before heading into the meeting I told myself “I’m going to have a conversation” and I find that when I “psych myself out” this way I am able to engage in much more meaningful dialogue. Thanks for sharing!
[…] When talking about the ingredients for great presentations, Herb Baum commented, “Do not present results unless they are relevant to the point. At evaluation conferences, I am tired of hearing results demonstrating the effectiveness of a given program. I much prefer hearing why it was challenging to measure the effectiveness of the program and what was done to overcome those challenges.” You can read Herb’s full post here. […]