Here’s my ‘help-kit’ I used to remember in mind when making any presentations, either in lecturing (I am a marketing lecturer) or in any informal audience-gathering seminars, conference, etc. I want to tell just a little story behind this before I go to the real section. I just happened to be a lecturer in marketing program of my undergraduate university. Besides the fact that I am an alumni to the university, I also have passion to ‘teach’ (actually I never used this phrase in front of any of my students, I’d rather go with ‘share’, triggering them to discuss more, rather than one-way lecture). I worked as an accounting private college students mentor (kinda like an assistant of specific subjects) back when I was a college student. I earn money to pay for my tuition fees and living cost (you’ll be surprised of how much a private mentor could earn in a month that time, I managed to earn almost three times of all my costs as college student). One day, after a series of working in middle to big companies as a store managers, also as CEO in my own graphic design company, I decided to become a lecturer.
My first time as a part-time lecturer kinda tricky to adapt with, especially with the fact that I never spoke in front of public before. This rank first in the human’s worst fear all around the world. What I do next is, browsing, browsing, and browsing, even spent so many times in the university’s library. What did I do? To find books of how to be a good public speaker, of how to create an amazing presentations, and mostly ‘to inspire the audience’. Here are 5 simple guidance I collect from my findings:
1. A quote from John. C. Maxwell — “A good professor turns simple things complicatedly, while a good communicator makes all complicated things simpler.” My whole lecturing life has by far affected by this quote. I’ve been trying to deliver a simpler and simpler things everyday, especially for complicated lectures I have to present to my students.
2. The power of analogy in my slides — I forgot where this came from, I just remembered that one day an ice skating mentor trying to teach the beginners (of all ages) of how to skate better on ice. Instead of using complicated methods, he once used the analog of ‘pizza slice’ to explain a command of ‘create an approximately 30 degrees on your foot to stop the skate shoe’, so he went to say ‘make a pizza slice on your foot to stop skating’. And everyone succeed. So far, I always used graphics, images, forms, shapes, to simplify things, or to explain a logic sequence in the textbook, summarizing the ‘texty’ contents into bullet points, or arrow-shaped summaries. This is like ‘sketching’ the big picture while explaining the details to the students, which I believe would help them to memorize faster and hopefully, better.
3. The keynote speech and presentations of Steve Jobs. He is by far my best reference of ‘good communicator’ in every context of public speaking. His slides were so simple, yet touching and inspiring, which are the qualities that make you remember his speech. I will cover of him in the next article, so you can also learn from him, if you’d like to.
4. A word from a public speaking mentor in youtube, I forgot his name, but I vividly remembered him saying that ‘if you want people to respond to your presentation, you gotta learn to stop talking’….so once every important section, I would stop talking and give my students the chances to discuss the specific topics. Believe me, nothing kills a lecture presentation than a monolog by your professors. A dialog wouldn’t take as much effort as the monolog, yet a better result, try it, and prove it.
5. Learn your audience well before speak to them, a tip I would never also forget. So, when I first ‘teach’ a new class, and in every meetings thereafter, I always begin to ‘assimilate’ with them, talks with their preferences, about movies they’d probably seen last night, the last gossip on tv, a new gadget, Blackberry, Apple devices, anything that connects me with them. When I asked anything that were new terms for them, I encouraged them to give me the wrong answers, just so they know that mistakes are common when we’re students, we’re all learn from others, I knew this well because I was once a student. Having a killer professor in my class is very intimidating, and cornered my creativity to think in other point of view.
Well, hope inspires you all…bonne nuit.