Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blah, blah, blah - Making presentations relevant

My tween-age daughter plays soccer, very seriously, and has played since she was in kindergarten. They have excellent coaches, parents who also take the game seriously, while making sure the girls enjoy the sport and the experience. Occasionally, the coaches will get a little overzealous in their descriptions of play, or how the team played and can get a bit long - winded in their motivational turf-side talks. Or as Julia described it when she was ten "Mom, we're just kids, don't they know after the first few minutes all we hear is blah, blah, blah?"
Don't you find yourself thinking the same thing in a meeting where Mr/Ms Agenda goes on and on about their topic that you might not find as fascinating as they do? How about when you attend a conference and find yourself in a session where you are being talked at for an hour? How much of this do you actually retain? Not only retain, but find a way to apply what is hopefully new knowledge or an interesting perspective to apply to your own situation?  
Imagine if... you are given some information, then given an exercise to help you process and apply that information. This might be some time where you work solo on a small exercise, or where you break into groups and discuss and share ideas about what has been presented bringing your own input and application. According to tested learning theory, we know that we retain 20% of what we hear, 40% of what we hear and see (making powerpoint / prezi / keynote potentially useful when used 'correctly') and 80% of what we see, hear and do something with. Let's face it, 100% of knowledge retention is not even that practical unless you are studying for a rote exam in university, but being able to extrapolate the bits of information relevant to you from a conference is highly valuable and can lead you on the way to new solutions or innovations that support your needs. There are so many ways to encourage your speakers in facilitating conversation, sparking ideas and leaving participants thoughtful, and inspired.

I am very excited to attend PCMA in Orlando in January, and honoured that in addition to the session I will present with Andrea Sullivan, to be part of their pay it forward program including facilitating the session on Peer2Peer Learning that was brainstormed by the PCMA Education Committee, and to see, hear and share what learning formats are working for people, and being able to integrate some of these into our client's meetings. I am excited to see friends and colleagues and to know that January offers some awesome knowledge sharing!

Eventprofs friends... let me know if I will see you there!

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