A resource and some thoughts about presentations

On This Week in Ontario Edublogs, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about one of the EduGals recent podcasts. In this case, it was “May Tired in October“.

One of the areas of concern that was making them tired was creating presentations. From the show notes,

Katie is guilty of spending time on SlidesMania, trying to find the perfect template for the topic or skill that she is teaching. And while it looks great, it takes a lot of extra time to make it work, to add animations, etc.

To that, I can respond, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt”.

I’ve created many presentations to go along with my talks over the years and was always of the mindset that I had to create everything from scratch so that it was current.

Do enough presentations and you end up realizing that, while it may be a great philosophy and mindset, it takes a great deal of time and effort.

It was in the hospitality suite at a Western RCAC Symposium having a chat with one of our keynote speakers that my mind changed. The keynote was editing her presentation and we were helping. (keeping her wineglass full…) It struck me as interesting to note that she was editing a presentation that she had already given.

I asked about that.

She pointed out that the content is consistent but people were there to hear the message. The actual presentation was to guide her, to pace her, and to help the audience stay with her. I still remember her comment “You paid a lot to hear me, not to just click a mouse and move from slide to slide. I could have just emailed it to you if that’s all that you wanted”.

The logic made so much sense.

She went on to explain that she had spent so much time in the beginning thinking deeply about what a presentation slide deck could do to enhance a presentation. It was great for keeping everyone together, establishing her brand, making links to URLs readable, to embed video, … which were all of the essence to what she did. In the speaker notes, she had added things that absolutely must be modified for different audiences. It was the content that was important and, by using a template, she could easily change colours or have a message on every slide but the big deal for her was not having to start from scratch for every presentation. That little bit of advice stuck with me and I tried to implement it. I know that that one little thing saved me so much time.

The key is to start with a great presentation and then perhaps refining it as you become more sophisticated in the knowledge of the subject area.

The key is to get a good starting place and the EduGals cover that in the podcast as well. They recommended using SlidesMania.

I don’t see this strategy as compromising quality. The message is what’s important here; not spending time to get the same thing right, over and over, with just a different template. I think finding one or two or three really functional templates and then reusing them wisely is definitely the way to go.

Unless you enjoy desktop shopping! And, there’s nothing wrong with that if you enjoy it. But, consider a different approach if you’re concerned about personal time management.

What about you? Do you repurpose a template for various presentations or do you start from scratch every time? What advice do you have to pass along?

As I was just about to schedule this post, I realize that this is precisely what I do with this blog. I have a template that I use daily. When I get bored with it, I’ll experiment with other templates and change things up a bit. I don’t start every post from scratch. I don’t think I could post as frequently as I do, if I took that approach.


OTR Links 11/02/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.