I know I am repeating thoughts written elsewhere recently, but another great a ha from the week here in Vancouver has been participating in conference sessions that were conducted primarily in conversational mode, in engagement with an audience, as opposed to the traditional mode of presentation as lecture, inflicted onto an audience.

This is just just trying to pat the backs of myself and colleagues Brian, Scott, D’Arcy, Jason for the sessions we did at UBC and at NorthernVoice— there was a great round of discussion in Nancy White’s session on Community Building, and the approach Kris Krug did at Moosecamp for the sessions on Digital Photography. These were all ones where the audience played as much as part as the conveners. Where we were invited to be part of the show, not dulled with ti being hit over our heads.

Don’t take me as saying all presentations need to be done Kum Ba Ya style, but we certainly do better in this social-software everyone-participates citizen-journalism environment than letting one person dictate on and on and on.

And if you must take the lectern, and if you must drill us with powerpoint, please, please, please heed Levine’s Law: START WITH THE DEMO! — do not use 90% of the time for background, rationale, theory, reference, pictures of your kids, yadda yadda, get to the stinkin’ demo! Show us the demo! Excite us, entice us, but please do not be playing Killing Me Softly With Bullet Points. There has been sufficient carnage already.

The post "Presentation as Conversation" was originally pushed out of the bottom of a purple jar of Play-Doh at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2006/02/presentation-as-conversation/) on February 14, 2006.

17 Comments

  • Educational Technology and Life » Blog Archive » Presentation as Conversation edtechlife.com/?p=1036

    […] Presentation as Conversation (Via CogDogBlog.) There’s good stuff going on over at the CogDogBlog today. […]

  • Hilarious and right-on. Another musical bark!

    The key to a great conversation, of course, is that everyone there has their game head on. Everyone comes to play. That depends on a sense of shared commitment, of urgency, of occasion. How can we create these in our classrooms? in our courses of study? And the responsibility must be shared: “engage me or enrage me” works both ways….

  • steven bell

    I couldn’t agree more with your point about “show me something” right at the start. Let’s see what you are going to be talking about. In lieu of that tell me an interesting story or set it up with articles that show a trend – anything but 10-15 of who you are, how many students go to your IHE, etc. You may be interested in taking a look at this:
    http://www.ala.org/al_onlineTemplate.cfm?Section=selectedarticles&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=69066

  • D'Arcy Norman darcynorman.net

    Great post, Alan. Bring on the campfire songs! If we value face-to-face time, we NEED to be using it for something better than sit-and-stare shovelware. I’ve been guilty (even recently) of violating Levine’s Law – by having a rather lengthy presentation FOLLOWED by a rather lengthy demo/hands-on session. Next time I do any of this, I’m going to reverse that, and maybe cut the presentation side of things waaaay down (if it’s needed at all).

    … someone’s smiling, Lord!

  • Scott Leslie edtechpost.ca/mt

    So now I know what my next remix will be – “Kum by ya (cogdog styling)” – ooowww, can’t wait!

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  • I am scared.

    Folks, do not let Scott Leslie get ahold of your podcasts! He will remix it to a haunting techno beat! He is mad mad mad!

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  • ACRLog » Blog Archive » Better Writing And Presenting acrlblog.org/2006/02/20/better-writing-and-presenting

    […] While its tone is more rant than gentle guide, ConDogBlog’s Alan Levine’s post on “Presentation As Conversation” is a good reminder for any of us presenters that we have to engage the attendee as quickly as possible. You may have some great ideas to pass along, but if you bury them in the last ten minutes of the presentation, the audience will have tuned you out long before you get there. While the bulk of the post addresses the value of a presentation that is mostly a discussion with the attendees rather than “a lecture inflicted onto an audience”, I think the best advice is: And if you must take the lectern, and if you must drill us with powerpoint, please, please, please heed Levine’s Law: START WITH THE DEMO! — do not use 90% of the time for background, rationale, theory, reference, pictures of your kids, yadda yadda, get to the stinkin’ demo! Show us the demo! Excite us, entice us, but please do not be playing Killing Me Softly With Bullet Points. There has been sufficient carnage already. […]

  • Mission: Communicate » Blog Archive » one week of PowerPoint training missioncommunicate.com/blog/2006/02/21/one-week-of-powerpoint-training

    […] Presentation as Conversation. […]

  • Technology Enhanced Learning » Blog Archive » High School Teachers go to Blogging School newmediaworkshops.com/telblog/?p=78

    […] Last week I did a short two hour session on “An Educator’s Guide To Blogging” – you can download the hand-out here or visit the resource slideshow here. The 16 participants were a mix of teachers from english, science and history backgrounds. I decided to take Alan Levine’s advice and “start with the demo“. This approach had people jumping right into the thick of things and seemed to be effective for grabbing attention. It also helped me emphasized one of my main points….with blogging, it’s not about the software… that’s the easy part (we set up a blogger account in three minutes) – with blogging, we really have to get our heads around the PROCESS we want to use – WHY we want to blog – WHAT blogging affords the student and the learning process – The TIME commitment it can takes to nurture the great learning that possible. The downside of doing the demo first is that the technology is first and foremost in people’s faces – I think this scared a few people, especially the non-techy ones. Note-to-Self….When I “Start with the Demo” again…. I should take it easy, take it slow and don’t try to do too much. This time, I decided to have two volunteers start up a new blog – now, I’m thinking I should have just demo’d the process myself – with a clean, well-orchestrated demo. […]

  • Gardner Writes » Blog Archive » Microsoft Live Clipboard gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=348

    […] I’d heard about the Live Clipboard buzz at the O’Reilly conference, but as CogDog Alan Levine says, it’s the demo that does it. So when I read Jon Udell’s Infoworld blog on Microsoft’s Live Clipboard and did the demo, I had that a-ha moment, and it was pretty huge. I don’t think Jon’s assessment of this development (”blew the doors off”) is at all exaggerated. Suddenly the idea of Web Services got a whole lot more interesting. And the fact that the demo invites the user to copy and paste between Firefox and IE is elating–or worrying, depending on your paranoia threshold. […]

  • D’Arcy Norman Dot Net » Intro to Podcasting darcynorman.net/2006/03/27/intro-to-podcasting

    […] I’ll be giving an “Intro to Podcasting” workshop/presentation/session on Wednesday April 19th here at the Learning Commons Teaching & Learning Centre. I’ve only got an hour, and it will be an “intro” session, so I’ll follow Levine’s Law and start with the demo. Then, I’ll stick with the demo, showing different tools used to create, publish, subscribe, and listen to podcasts. I’m hoping to keep the session rather informal, with some audience participation. I’ll be recruiting some “volunteers” from the audience to create a podcast right then and there. Should be fun. […]

  • D’Arcy Norman Dot Net » Intro to Podcasting Session darcynorman.net/2006/04/18/intro-to-podcasting-session

    […] We’ll be followinng Levine’s Law, starting with a quick demo in iTunes to show the various podcasts out there. Then, to Audacity (if I can convince it to recognize the USB microphone) to create a quick and dirty recording and then publish it to either my blog or weblogs.ucalgary.ca (or both) to make a podcast. Then, back to iTunes to show it pull the file down, and then to the iPod on the visualizer to show the full round trip. […]

  • Blogging IT and EDucation » Blog Archive » Presentation as Conversation tech.port.ac.uk/staffweb/duke-wie/blog/2006/04/28/presentation-as-conversation

    […] CogDogBlog suggests when giving a talk … START WITH THE DEMO! — do not use 90% of the time for background, rationale, theory, reference, pictures of your kids, yadda yadda, get to the stinkin’ demo! Show us the demo! […]

  • BlogDale » Blog Archive » Web 2.0 dale.ethink.org.uk/2006/05/18/web-20

    […] Steve’s presenting on Web 2.0 but only has 30 minutes.  Best of luck – there’s so much to get through that’s of worth.  I’m sure he will adhere to Levine’s Law.  I’m doing a trackback on this post so that he can demonstrate how trackbacks function in the blogosphere. […]

  • Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech » I talk too much ideasandthoughts.org/2006/07/25/i-talk-too-much

    […] I began the workshop with an introduction to Web 2.0 and the changing classroom. I wanted to set the stage for day and provide context to all the tools we’d look at. I know Alan recommends “showing the demo” but I’ve too many times shown someone how to blog without talking about why to blog. As a result, I spent easily as much time today dealing with pedagogy as I did with hands on experiences. That bothered me. […]