Start to be smart
Many adults today are extremely critical of how children and young people are “constantly glued to their cell phones” or spend too much time in front of some form of screen. There is talk of wasted time, of useless skills and dangerous developments – and also of stultification. Of course, it is important to critically accompany and moderate such developments. But not to prevent them (good luck with that!), but to take adolescents by the hand and help them, for example, to navigate safely through the Internet. At least, that’s how it should be. After all, digital literacy is a core skill that is essential today and demanded everywhere. However, the availability of mobile Internet in particular has developed and spread so quickly that the generations of those who should be teaching and facilitating this process (i.e., parents and teachers) have been mercilessly left behind. TikTok? Instagram? Snapchat? What good is that going to do? Personal interest: No way. So in many cases, they can’t do it at all, mainly because they don’t have no personal use and they didn’t have to learn something new for a long time. In the meantime, external circumstances have forced a change, but also made the massive need to catch up visible. So, there is still a lot to do.
What has this to do with presentations?
The gap between teacher competence, school equipment and the digital skills demanded these days can be transferred to the important topic of presenting. It is also a core competence, whose absence will become painful, latest in their professional lives. Now we can already hear the first ones shouting. “Complete nonsense, presentations are standard in the classroom, and never before have we had to present as much as we do today.” That’s true (in part). Unfortunately! At least in the way that is the pathetic standard in German schools. Let’s ask ourselves honestly: Why and how are presentations used there?
Whether as a solo presentation or the presentation of group work results, the presentation has above all a self-purpose. For the teacher it is a simple form of a work and study level control, for students it is an unpleasant task, whose only advantage is that it replaces classroom work. The quality is measured by whether the content is convincing and the tasks have been worked on. The main motivation is a good grade – or at least that is the perception. This does not change at university level. Hundreds of thousands are bored every year by pointless PowerPoints of their colleagues or fellow students.
In contrast to this is “reality”. Why is a presentation actually given? Not for a grade or course points, it’s about the effect on the audience. You want to make a difference with the presentation, get a message across, move people to action, convince them of an opinion, a concept, an idea. The basic motivation is therefore completely different and the decisive factor for success is to convince the audience through self-confidence and charisma. People are the center of the presentation and slides, technique, rhetoric, and storytelling are “only” the tools, which have to be mastered.
Ok, any presentation lives and dies with the presenter and his focus on the audience. Some may say this is old news and that some people may be more talented than others (which is a killer argument that helps no one). Talent may make it easier for some, but anyone can learn it!
Could it be different?
If we look at the USA, for example, we already find presentation techniques in kindergarten such as “show and tell”. This form of techniques will be transferred bit by bit into practical presentations. As simple as this concept is, the advantage is enormous. Because is their decision what the children want to show and introduce to their classmates and thus driven by their own motivation. So as early as kindergarten, they are close to the realities of later life, where presentations become crucial for professional success. The technical know-how follows later, but the basis is formed for something important: For self-confidence and structured, spontaneous speaking. In other words, exactly what we find extremely difficult to learn as adults. “Practice makes us perfect” is not just an old saying.
One of the most important presentations in life is the self-presentation. Children who learn to speak early in front of their classmates, will have no troubles introducing themselves. Early on or later in life. It is possible you want a summer job, or an internship then learn to present yourself. After all, you want them to invest in you.
How can we help?
We can’t solve all of this at once – but what we can do is help you lay the foundations for good, confident presenting and give you the tools to do it. Our PowerPoint course specifically for kids and teens with exercises to learn PowerPoint and useful templates for school, college, and training.
So, at Hi&Lo we want to give potential presenters a helping hand. We have developed PowerPoint courses that introduce you interactively to the functions in PowerPoint. You learn to create your own presentations in PowerPoint and are guided safely through the file, learning the functions and tricks using examples developed for each grade level. This makes PowerPoint fun to use in everyday school life.