Recently, I read a post by high school librarian Joyce Valenza where she shared how she was working with high school students to change their presentation styles. This has been something that I have been thinking about lately as we have been preparing different presentations and activities with various constituencies as part of our school’s strategic planning process. I confess, that more often than not, I use PowerPoint as a cue to remind me of what I want to say. But, when I started thinking about facilitating a group through several processes, I started thinking about how I could replace some of my bullet points with images. Images often convey the essence of an activity or summarize the meaning of an exercise so much better than a bulleted list of outcomes for a session. For example, the first activity is a deconstruction of an objective that a different set of people created. At first, my slide was a bulleted list of the steps the groups would take in the deconstruction process. After some thought (and searching) I found an image of brick question mark being taken apart. It was the perfect visual metaphor for the activity the group would undertake and I think it will comunicate the purpose better that a list of steps.
I suppose the pinnacle of this type of presentation style are TED talks, which Joyce also mentions in her post. These talks are riveting not only because of the subject matter, but also because speakers are able to tell a compelling story through a skillful combination of voice and imagery. I will the first to confess that my presentation is far from that of TED talk, but I would like to think that I am moving further away from the bulleted list and closer to a compelling story for why the work of the group I am facilitating matters.