Top 10 Ways to be a Phenomenal Podstock Presenter

8 02 2014

So you’re contemplating presenting at Podstock or you’ve already been accepted and want to do a Tweet-stream-busting job? Consider these tips and ideas for really pushing yourself to be a phenomenal presenter:
(call for proposals closes April 1, 2014)

1. Remember that teachers teach how they are taught. So if you want your audience to teach their students in a particular way, or you DON’T want them to teach in a particular way, then begin by planning your session with that in mind. What do you want your audience to walk away knowing, understanding and, perhaps most importantly, doing? Now how will you get them to experience doing that?

The JustTeach League! Podstock

The JustTeach League! at Podstock

2. If you decide to use slides, build a lot of visuals into your slides. Yes. One picture on a slide does more than 1000 words on a slide could ever do. And they cause us to tell stories which are not only more entertaining, but with the visual, we can connect with the point of the story, and it will stick with us far longer than any set of bullet points ever will.

3. Have QR codes for links in your presentation, so people can access your info quickly and easily. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to do a search for a tools or typing in a lot of gobbelty gook just to be able to follow along, hands-on, with a presenter. Some great shorteners are found here:

4. If you decide to use QR codes, be sure to put a shortened code next to it. Some folks won’t have a QR code reader or your room will be so full that it’s just easier to type in the shortened code. My favorite shortener is and here’s a tutorial for how to use it:
Incidentally, you can get a QR code from the shortener too, by just clicking “details” under any newly shortened link on the page.

5. Post your handouts and giveaways on your webpage. Or on a GoogleDoc or in a GoogleDoc folder (or some such service) if you don’t have a webpage. Then give the link to the Podstock coordinators (Glenn), so all he has to do is post your link with your name and session title. And then you can add or change up info without having to resubmit to Glenn every single time you decide to refine your handouts and info.

6. Get connected before you even get to the conference. I can’t stress this enough! Get on the Twitter hashtag, #Podstock. Get active posting on the Facebook page. Connect with (friend/follow) others you know will be attending the conference. It’s ok if you don’t already know them. You will by the end of day 1! In fact, go Like our Podstock Facebook page now! And go listen to a few ‘stockTalk Podcasts too!

7. Consider NOT using a slide show. Or at least beyond showing just a title slide, a content-connector slide (where people can find your stuff), and your own personal info slide (where people can find you). So what do you do instead? Engage them in conversation. Get them working. Do less “presenting” and provide more “learning.” This is a risky step. Very few of us dare to walk this tight rope, but when it works, it’s amazing! But if you’re going to take a risk with doing something different, this is the conference to do it!

8. Leave plenty of time to play, practice, and talk about the learning. It’s tempting to fill every single minute of your session with valuable information. But realize that participants are feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the great stuff they’re learning. They need time to process and they will definitely appreciate you providing that time. Ask them guiding questions to kickstart their processing. If you have more stuff to share than what you have time for inside your session, post it somewhere like on the Facebook page or your website (both). Or hold an extended conversation in the hallway or across the street in the hotel lobby. Invite others to join you. This is not weird. This is not poor planning. This is allowing your audience to make smart choices to be learners. And they’ll thank you for it!

9. Remember that you’ll have educators from all backgrounds here. Small schools, poverty, large schools, administrators, counselors, music teachers, primary teachers, east coasters, southerners, truly innovative veterans, and fresh-faced newbies. This is not about just central Kansas, folks. But luckily, you don’t have to be an expert in all these areas. Invoke the knowledge of the audience. Invite people to consider how your topic can apply to a variety of learners. Have them share those ideas out and add more. Twenty brains working together are always more powerful than simply one.

Podstock 2014

Podstock 2014

10. Anything and everything about learning is on the table. Talk tools. Talk classroom management. Talk

leadership. Talk about ripping the walls right off a school to allow learning to truly happen anywhere, anytime. But tie it all back to the kids and their futures.

+ Bonus tip: Have fun! This conference is about making connections and meeting new members of your educational family you never knew existed.

Veteran Podstockers, what am I missing? What other tips should be on this list to ensure that didn’t quite make it?

Get involved! Propose your own session now!




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