Preparing to Teach

August 31, 2010

Giving presentations or talks can seem like a daunting task and many struggle with how to get started. There are a couple of techniques I have developed over the years that help me get off the starting block. The first and most important for me is to set aside the PowerPoint in favor of good old fashion pen and paper. When researching for a brand new class, I start by brainstorming and just jotting notes onto a pad. The following graphic is from a single page of notes as I was preparing to teach a class called “Even Geeks Can Speak”.

After I have reached a point where I think I have enough (or way) too much material, I will then start breaking what I have found into topic blocks. Again, pen and paper work for me.

This gives me a good visual on different areas I can cover and a good starting point for organizing my thoughts as I start to develop my slides and student material. Using the topics, I can then create topic slides in PowerPoint. In the example below, I used a large red circle to make the topic stand out.

These topic slides will eventually be hidden from the actual presentation but as I put the class together, I can easily scan and edit my topics.

As you can probably see from the slide examples, I shy away from using bullets in my presentations. In upcoming blog posts, I will expand on how good clean and simple visuals can be used to make your presentations “pop”.


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