The Forgettable Platform Artist
Forty-two years as an educator, and I am still the happiest when attending a fresh, well-organized presentation with information I can use, plus an action plan. Without a plan, no matter how cool or hot the experience, it becomes just an awareness, not a bad thing and certainly better than unaware, but very forgettable. I don’t like being very forgettable, do you?
This season, I notice more than ever shorter attention spans in today’s learners, and well-meaning educators failing to consider the falling attention spans getting shorter and shorter. Keeping a learner's attention is probably my biggest challenge today. The brain just needs something new constantly.
So, here are my big tips to keep your audience’s attention much better:
1. Teach bite size concepts. I am down to about 4-6 minutes of me teaching, before I turn the tables on the learner(s) and ask them to participate. Tip: During your preparation, break the concept down to its simplest forms. When you think you are ready, break it down more, and then do it again.
2. Always follow every concept with an activity allowing learners to "practice" the concept. Create activities relevant to your audience's age group and lifestyle. Some of the activities I see are downright silly. Use handouts or give your audience something to do.
3. There should never be total silence on the stage. This is when people leave. If you need to concentrate on your work, ask someone else to continue speaking and engaging the audience.
4. Plan and practice your presentation in three parts: Introduction, (build in why a learner should even bother with this) Delivery (break it up to small pieces with interactivity) and Conclusion (steps on how to use the info in their daily lives).
Don’t be the forgettable platform artist, learners have changed, and we educators must change with them.