instructional presentations

Today I will talk about how to give instructional presentations, or “how to do a how to”. This is important for communications media majors because one of the different kinds of presentations you may be asked to do is an instructional one, where you are teaching your audience how to do something. Some people have problems with this one because like the persuasion one, they don’t want to come across as bossy, or they are worried they will mess up or tell people the wrong directions, or not follow them right. This is how to do an effective “how to”, or instructional presentation.

When you do an instructional presentation, once again (this basically goes for any kind of presentation you do), before you present it to your audience, read thru or rehearse thru what you are saying. Make sure you can easily follow the directions yourself, and you know all the steps to doing whatever you are teaching how to do successfully. Then, figure out what parts of the directions may be a little hard for people who are new at the activity to follow. Maybe it’s something you had trouble with when you first learned the activity. If you find a particularly difficult to follow direction, figure out ahead of time how to explain that direction a little differently than other ones, and make it more easier to understand. You should make sure all your steps are easy to understand, but pay special attention to the more difficult to follow ones. Don’t worry about sounding bossy, because you are the one that knows how to do the activity; the audience doesn’t know how to do it. They are learning from you. And if you do make a mistake, own up to it and let the audience know you did something wrong, but don’t dwell on it. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and if you do make one, admit to it, but then quickly shake it off and show them the right way to do the activity. When you do an instructional presentation, there is a special feeling you get more so than when you do other kinds of presentations. With instructional ones, you get a proud feeling, because you are helping someone learn something new and teaching them. Teachers regularly get this feeling and this privilege. If you find yourself liking this presentation style more than other ones, maybe a future in teaching is for you.

What about you? Have you ever done a “how to” presentation? Have you ever made a mistake on one? Were you nervous? What did you do to help get thru it? What did you teach them how to do? Did they successfully learn it? Did it go successfully? Did it make you feel good inside knowing you taught them something new? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to tell all your other friends who are pursuing a communications career to visit this blog for the answers to all their issues!

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