Last year, I wrote a post containing unsolicited advice for ISTE presenters. I’ve revised it a bit for this year, although much of it remains the same. Keep in mind as you read that I’m just trying to help, NOT to come off sounding like a pretentious expert or some kind of conference diva.

So here are five things that I look for when I attend sessions at ISTE (or any conference, for that matter):

Have a backchannel

Whether you use a twitter hashtag for this or a chatroom app like Today’s Meet, a backchannel can take your presentation to the next level. A backchannel allows your audience to discuss the awesome knowledge you are sharing with them. It also allows them to ask you questions without interrupting. After your presentation, you can go back to the backchannel and add your thoughts, answer questions, or post a transcript to your webpage for people to access afterwards. Bonus tip: Have someone there to moderate your backchannel and keep you informed of questions that come up so you can provide instant responses. Presenting solo? Try something like Wallwisher or the aforementioned twitter hashtag, which are easier to stop and check intermittently than a chat room.

Make your PowerPoint and handouts available on the web

Call me crazy, but one thing I don’t like to do during a presentation is take notes. I like to sit back and bask in your expertise and great ideas. If you make your presentation notes and resources, PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc. available online, then I can do just that.

Less Text on Your Slides

Speaking of PowerPoints, I go to a presentation to listen, not to read. All I need from your slide deck is a snazzy image (licensed for reuse, of course, from a site such at PhotoPin or FlickrCC) and a couple of words or a quote. Nothing hurts a participants eyes more than reading 10-point font on a slide. As Guy Kawasaki says, predict the age of the oldest member of your audience and divide by 2…that should be the smallest size font you use. I also recommend reading the book Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds or checking out his Presentation Zen blog.

Give me takeaways

When I say “takeaways” I’m talking about ideas. I’m coming to your presentation with the hope that you can help me become a better teacher. I’m looking for ideas to take away from your talk that I can take back to my classroom and use. Whether it’s project ideas, teaching tips or new tools, ideas that I can use make me happy. And the more of them, the better.

Do What You Said You’d Do

Ever go to a conference presentation because the description in the program sounded amazing, only to find that the presenter isn’t delivering what was advertised? Part of the problem goes back to months earlier when the description was written. However, keep your program description in mind as you prepare in the next two weeks. Please make sure you’re doing what you said you’d do.

If you happen to be presenting, I think these 5 tips are solid. Someday hopefully, we’ll lead a presention at an ISTE and you can remind us of our own advice!

We’ve written several other ISTE12 related preview columns. Check them all out HERE. And there’s more on the way as the conference kicks off next week, so be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on twitter.

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