PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR your team members to present at conferences or events can be great for both your organization and the individual concerned. It raises the profile of your work and can help to develop the individual's skills and confidence.
Presenting at small events can provide good opportunities for staff to practise their first presentations. At larger conferences, short presentations or posters can also be less intimidating ways to present for the first time. Look out for TeachMeets (Tip 53, p. 132), PechaKucha (2003) or lightning talks to get a first taste of presenting.
Create and encourage an ethos of peer review within your team so that staff might practise on their colleagues and receive feedback. Provide other safe opportunities for staff to practise their presentation at team meetings or other local events.
If individuals are to have an impact when they present, they need to produce professional-looking presentations and posters. This means not overfilling slides or posters, not adding too much text and using quality images to illustrate the presentation. It is strongly recommended that you avoid using cartoons and cartoonish fonts. Presentation skills training can be invaluable in giving staff more confidence in their performance. There are courses staff can go on that will show them how to create great PowerPoints or how to use Prezi (2016).
Presenting at any conference helps the individual to develop skills in abstract writing, poster design, film production, negotiating, influencing, presenting and public relations (Blagden, Pratchett and Treadway, 2014), which can only be good for your service.
Example from practice: Tracey Pratchett – LKS manager (NHS, FE and public)
I've presented at the Health Libraries Group Conference (CILIP, 2015) twice and have returned to the office with a new vigour, full of ideas and enthusiasm to try new things. On the other hand, I also felt guilty about the cost (I was lucky enough to obtain a bursary) and concerned about the impact that taking time away would have on my colleagues, as we were a small team.