Thursday, 21 January 2010

Creating A Presentation

I have been good. I have actually sat down to work on the presentation that I have to give at my interview next week. Talking for 5-8 minutes is not normally a problem for me once I get started but that is when I know the subject well. The subject for the interview is not one that I would normally tackle.

I could create stunning PowerPoint slides but fail to get my message across. So I have decided to go for something fairly simple. Some of my slides will have screen shots on them of things that I want to talk about; others will consist of words alone. It's always a problem trying to get the mix just right but I hope that I will achieve this with the presentation that I am creating.

One mistake that many people make when creating presentations is that they fill the slides with words. No-one can take in the information if it is given in this way; it's always easier to understand something that you have heard in a presentation rather than trying to get the information by reading a slide that will have gone from the screen before you have finished reading it.

The old saying 'a picture speaks a thousand words' can be very true when you are trying to get information across to an audience in what is usually a time frame that is not long enough for you to do the subject justice. I am used to having at least 20 minutes when I am doing my presentations about patients having online access to their GP records. This means that I can tailor my presentation to the audience. If I am talking to an audience of doctors I know that I have to spend far more time telling them about the benefits that I believe accrue from having this access. If the audience is made up of practice manages then I have to emphasize the time that can be saved through not having phone calls asking if test results are back yet. If I am talking to an audience of patients the emphasis is on what online access can mean to them; an example would be that links could be available to take you to relevant, reliable, good quality information about a condition that they may suffer from.

It is never possible to create a presentation that will sort every audience, but if you know your subject well that need not be a problem. I often do my presentations live. By that I mean that I use the online access system that my GP surgery uses, not as a series of screen shots but by using the Internet and a real patient record (mine). The benefits of this can be amazing because it allows you to show your audience that it is not difficult to use and that it does not require doctors to change what they are already doing when compiling your medical record at an appointment.

Creating a presentation is not a 5-minute job. It requires you to have some idea of what you are going to say during the presentation so that you can ensure that your slides are relevant. There is no point in creating a lot of slides and then not being able to use them because they don't 'answer the exam question'. So with that in mind I have looked at what I have been asked to talk about; I have selected what I think are the most important points to make on the subject; and all I have to do now is finish creating the slides and write the notes to accompany each of the slides. With a bit of luck I can manage that today and then I can relax a little knowing that it is done.

But I will still be worrying about the interview itself!

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