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Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

Raise a Flag

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Olivia Mitchell, of Speaking about Presenting, suggests that you let your audience know (with a flag) what you are about to say in order to help them focus on the information.

Here are her 3 suggestions (or flags):

  1. Here’s the most important thing I want you to get.
  2. There are three reasons why we should do this.
  3. Here’s a question to think about.

This technique can be used when you provide a class handout with fill-in-the-blanks. Let people know when you are about to answer one of the questions on the handout.

Both Sides

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I have wanted to use the fast-forward button to skip to a certain part of a presentation and I imagine that some people have wanted to use the fast-forward button on me. What am I talking about? Keep reading!

In a recent post by Tony Burns on the Speaking about Presenting blog [], Tony asks the question: “Does your audience want to fast forward you?” Do people want you to skip to the good stuff, the meat of the information and leave out the rest?

Here are 3 suggestions so people don’t want to press the fast-forward button on your presentation:

  1. Don’t give too much background in the beginning.
  2. Not everything is rocket science. Don’t spend a lot of time on the easy stuff.
  3. People know the problem. They want solutions. Try to give them what they want.

Read the full post at:

The Right Time to Ask

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Are there any questions? I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it. As I near the end of a presentation, one of the things on my to do list is to ask the audience if they have any questions. Often, there is silence from the group (hopefully, I’ve already answered their questions), which can leave me feeling a little awkward.

Olivia Mitchell, of the Speaking About Presenting blog, suggests that you ask for questions (one last time) before your final summary. This way, if there are no questions, you don’t end on a flat note. After you address questions, you can do your final summary and wrap-up.

Ice Breakers Can Be Meaningful

Monday, July 29th, 2013

You may have attended a training session that started with an ice breaker (sometimes called an Opener) such as: If you were a candy bar, what kind would you be? OR Tell two truths and one lie about yourself (and then the group tries to figure out the lie). Ice breakers, as the name implies, are meant to break the ice between workshop attendees. Wouldn’t it be nice if the ice breaker was relevant to the content of the training?

Here are a couple of ideas that you can try…

For online training, where you want everyone to talk using either their microphone or a telephone, ask a simple question (ex. In what state were you born?). This will require everyone to test their equipment (microphone or telephone) so they’re ready to participate later.

For in-person training, hang large sheets of paper on the wall (they make poster sized post-it notes), break people into groups and have them think of words that are related to the course content. Group members will meet each other before class officially starts and they’ll remain on task while doing it. If you were teaching a class about PubMed for example, B stands for Boolean Operators.

Answer These Three Questions

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

From Speaking About Presenting by Olivia Mitchell

1. What’s the topic of your presentation?
Give a one-sentence overview of what you’re talking about.

2. Why should your audience be interested?
What’s in it for them? Give them a reason to listen.

3. Why are you talking about it?
What are your qualifications or experience which gives you the credibility to be talking about this subject?

Answering these questions for yourself will help you be more prepared for your presentation.

I think, therefore…

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Laura Bergells from the MANIACTIVE blog writes that you may be undermining your message by starting with the words…I think. Read her short blog post at:

PubMed for Librarians: Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) – Recording

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Watch the recording to learn about the National Library of Medicine’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) database. We talk about the 4 different types of MeSH terms and how searchers can benefit from using MesH to build a search. We investigate the structure of the MeSH database and we look at the components of a MeSH record.

Sometimes the audio and video portions of the recording are out of sync. If the slides don’t seem to match up with what the presenter is saying, close your browser window and reload the recording. This may fix the problem.

Less is More

Friday, January 4th, 2013

According to Olivia Mitchell, a presentation trainer, limiting how much you say may help get your message across more effectively.

Mitchell says, “It’s a brutal truth – but the more you say – the less your audience will get.”

Mitchell suggests that you edit your presentation with a fine-toothed comb and cut down any bulleted lists to no more than 3 items each. She says that 3 items are easy for both the presenter and the audience to remember. If you include more items, the first items on the list will most likely be forgotten.

Heard on the Digital Street

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I recently attended a free webinar by PowerPoint makeover guru Rick Altman. Here are some of the notes I took:

  • Put the needs of your audience first.
  • Don’t include these slides:
      •  About us
      • Mission Statement
  • Slides should compliment/enhance the message.
  • Share your ideas; don’t explain your slides.
  • Remember phone booths? Remember seeing pictures of people trying to cram as many people as possible into a phone booth? Is your slide like that phone booth…crammed with information? You’re not going to get any contents for that.
  • Nobody goes to a presentation to see your slides. They come for your expertise. Don’t make your slides more important than yourself.
  • They come for you, but make it about them.
  • Ask yourself: if the projector blew up, could you give your presentation without your slides?
  • Three things that make a good presentation (these should all be different from each other):

1. What you say.
2. What you show.
3. What you give to the audience.

  • Asked: What is your biggest complaint about PowerPoint slides. Answered: Too much text on slides.
  • Try to make each bullet point 3 words or less (unlike this bullet point).
  • Problem:You want your slides to do double duty; to be the visual component for a presentation and a handout. The purposes are disparate. Create 2 different documents.
  • Say it first, and then show it.
  • You can follow Rick Altman on Twitter (@rickaltman)


Monday, December 10th, 2012

Connie Malamed, an eLearning coach, posted an article on her blog called: 20 Things to Remember about Forgetting. Follow the link:

Note items 15-19 and their implications for training.