A few quick tips for giving TEFL conference presentations

The mighty mmcmorrow has just offered these valuable tidbits of advice over on the general discussion forum.

I’ve given a few conference presentations – some have gone down well, others have been a bit flat or manic. The first time I presented at IATEFL, I was booked into a room with about 100 chairs and only 13 people showed up (that’s including friends etc who I’d emotionally blackmailed into attending). After about a minute, 3 people walked out without saying a word – and I hadn’t even got to the bad bit yet … perhaps they’d come to the wrong room, perhaps they just didn’t like me – who knows? The show must go on ….

Anyway, here are a few tips – probably common sense:

  • K.I.S.S – try not to have to switch between OHP, PWP, Video etc etc .. hard to manage all that
  • Have an intro – a middle (divided into a few parts) and a conclusion
  • Aim to break up the parts of your talk with short, focused questions for discussion / feedback. Teachers like talking about stuff – we’re all experts!
  • Don’t say anything that can be shown – and never read out anything that’s on a handout or the screen
  • If you’re doing a powerpoint presentation, email it to the organisers to upload in advance and take a USB Drive. As a back up, upload it to a website like ‘slideshare’ so you can show it online (without all the bells and whistles’ and email it to yourself
  • Try not to include too many words on a single slide (though I fall into this trap quite often) and aim for between 18 (v. small) and 32 (headings) for your font size – I tend to use Verdana – it was made for presentations – Arial looks a bit weedy by comparison
  • Practise a bit – aim to talk naturally and in small chunks
  • Include a bit of theory / references to sources
  • Include examples of practical learning / teaching activities and resources
  • Give the audience something to take away that they can use in their teaching the next day without any further preparation
  • Build in some flexibility – so pre-select some sections that can be skipped if you are running behind schedule – you can always tell them it’s in the handout but we won’t be covering it in the workshop itself
  • Finish at least five minutes before the allotted time and ask for questions / comments
  • Prepare a brief evaluation form to hand out at the end – a ticky-bocky thing with a space for extra comments – good to report back to your boss
  • Aim to ‘leverage’ the presentation into something else – eg an article for a teachers’ magazine

I also like this, slightly more extensive list of advice from Adam if you’ve got a bit more time to read.

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