Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, Written by Jenny

Older and Wiser? Maybe…

Yes you guessed it, I’m now even older. I’ve turned the big 22 today in fact. Whether I’m wiser is up for debate but I thought I’d share some thoughts on this day.

Image result for i'm old gandalf

In my final hours as a 21 year old I finally attended a workshop…

So yesterday I’m proud to say I attended my first 301 workshop, presentation skills. Shocking, I know, considering that I’m an intern here! With a presentation coming up for a graduate scheme and component of a course module I thought this would be the perfect time to attend, and based on this I’m definitely signing up for the Academic Skills Certificate!

Despite working here I wasn’t that sure about what to expect in terms of content when I arrived, when you’re printing the resources you don’t really take it all in you see. The session was very well-organised with a logical structure and lots of great content. There was a real emphasis on planning the presentation to suit the purpose, something that I admit I have often overlooked. Here are my three main takeaway bits of gained knowledge:

  • Planning a presentation is a process that begins before loading up PowerPoint (who knew- I’ve always been a fan of starting by opening PowerPoint). You need to consider the audience, topic and time limit at all times to guide this process- this can help you gauge the level of detail needed, how many points to include and how much should be on each slide.

Image result for open powerpoint

  • The presentation should aim to have 3 main topics. These topics should be indicated at the beginning and summarised at the end. This is an optimum level of key ideas that allows you to go into sufficient detail in any setting and retain the audience’s attention. It’s important to think about the order these topics are presented in and how you will link them together during the presentation.

Image result for 3 main points

 

  • Visual cues can have a big impact, but are to be used wisely. I knew that a presentation shouldn’t consist of just text but hadn’t really considered the effective use of visuals, and how they relate to verbal and vocal information and what they add. A slide with a well-used image that sums up the key points can help people take in the information more compared to a slide with text and a generic/ cartoon image. It made me think about so much of the data I need to present could be displayed visually with no text and still get the point across, and how both text and images can be a hinderance in presenting.

Image result for distracting

(Did you get the link- 3 main takeaway points, see I did learn.)

My advice? Attend these workshops, even if you go in a bit arrogant like me, assuming that you know the subject, you will come out with an altered way of thinking or new thing to consider.

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We are 301 Student Skills and Development Centre and we give academic skills advice to our students at the University of Sheffield. We offer workshops and 1:1 appointments.

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