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5 Powerful Ways to Open a Presentation Weve all been there before: staring at the glow of your blank computer

screen with no idea on how to open or start your talk. For starters, you should never be staring at PowerPoint with no clear objective (thats a conversation for another day), but lets be honest, weve all struggled with the best ways to open a presentation. Its time to get unstuck. Here are 5 powerful ways to open a presentation: 1. Use Silence Most people wont be able to pull this off very easily, but if you are feeling like a rockstar during your next presentation, opt for silence. Say a few words then be quiet. Say a few more words then be quiet. Its a quick and easy way to own the room. Just make sure you can hold your composure. 2. Point to the Future or Past I have two simple statements for you: -Prospective (looking to the future): 30 Years from now, your job wont exist. -Retrospective (looking to the past): In 1970, Japan owned 9% of the market. Today, they own 37%. The reality is that looking into the future or past always sparks engagement since thats where our hearts live. 3. Quote Someone The easiest way to open a talk is simply to quote someone. Think about that last presenter you heard when they opened their talk with a quote from Albert Einstein or Napoleon. A quote equals instant credibility. 4. Share Something Extraordinary I dont know about you, but I love Snapple. Even more so, I love their bottle caps since they always share fun facts or extraordinary insight into ordinary things. Is my life going to be improved because I know how many times a bees wings flaps in a second? No. Is it crazy interesting? Yes. 5. Tell a Story Heres the amazing thing about stories: If your presentation is based solely on facts and stats then your audience is going to react in one of two ways: 1) agree or 2) disagree. However, if you tell a story, your audience will participate with you. Still not sold? Stories have been known to increase audience retention by up to 26%. So, what are you waiting for? Experiment. Try something new. Step outside your comfort zone. Youll see some amazing results by trying any one of these techniques.


Submitted by Samantha Cleaver on Thu, 08/08/2013 - 00:00 The job of teaching is pretty straightforwardplan, teach, assess, repeat. But, todays recruiters and principals want to see more than a lesson plan and lecture. Here are five teaching techniques that will make you stand out whether youre posting your resume, sitting in an interview, or on the job.

Interactive Lecture

The interactive lecture merges a lecture format with student participation. Think a standard lecture thats peppered (with a vigorous shake, not a sprinkle) with student interaction through pair-share, note-taking, reading, and writing. This teaching method provides students with small chunks of information and requires them to apply and interact with that information to mastery before moving on.

Learn More: Read Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning by Mike Schmocker. (

Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) engages students in real-world problem solving. But, this is more than the occasional math word problem that has students following a recipe or take the area of the classroom. PBL merges rigor, content, and real-world application in ways that engage students with the community and produce a product that solves a community problem at the end. Think: planning, designing, and proposing a new playground design for your school based on a cross-campus needs assessment.

Learn More: Edutopia ( has resources and examples of how schools have used PBL across the curriculum.

Shared Inquiry

In shared inquiry discussion, students dig into a challenging text and come to their own understandings of authors meanings, character motivation, and more. Good shared inquiry

discussions depend on essential questions that drive discussion, lots of ideas on the table, and have students grappling with opposing ideas.

Learn More: The Great Books Foundation ( has pioneered and refined the shared inquiry method.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning methods focus on what students are doing to drive instruction. In active learning, students brainstorm, discuss, explain and debate questions. Think the scientific method in every lesson as students generate and test hypotheses, then come together to share and synthesize their learning.

Learn More: The Jigsaw Classroom method ( is one research-based way to establish and use cooperative learning in your classroom.

Technology-Driven Differentiated Instruction

At this point, principals expect a certain level of tech-savvy. Todays computer programs and technology, from iPads to Smartboards, also allow for differentiation and the constant integration of learning analytics, or student data that you can use in real time to adjust instruction.

Learn More: Vicki Davis, technology teacher also known as CoolCatTeacher has led the FlatClassroom Project for years and is an expert in using technology to differentiate instruction (

As youre perfecting your own teaching strategies, the best way to showcase your strengths is through the video aspect of your MyEDMatch portfolio. Upload a few example lessons of your use of shared inquiry or technology-driven instruction and youll stand out from the crowd.

5 Powerful Ways to Close a Presentation

We live in a world of judges: You will be judged by each and every person during your next presentation. Sound intimidating? It should be. No one ever said giving presentations is easy. So, how do you minimize the level of judgment that will be placed upon you? For starters, you need to know how to open your presentation with confidence and purpose. Last week, I offered up 5 Powerful Ways to Open a Presentation. This week, I will help you with your close. Your close is just as important as your open its your lasting impression on your audience, your final words of wisdom. Your open grabs peoples attention; your close leaves them in awe. Here are five powerful ways to do that: 1. Circle Back Around I love films that provide me with a sense of closure. One movie that comes to mind is Mel Gibsons film, Apocalypto, a tale about a warrior fleeing possible death from the Mayans in the deep recesses of the jungle. What makes this movie beautiful is that it starts with the cameras entering the jungle and ends with the camera exiting the jungle, providing a complete sense of closure. As an audience member you completely understand that the adventure is over for now. 2. Build Up to Something Since we are taking some inspiration from Hollywood in this post, make sure you take a lesson from M. Night Shyamalan, director of The Sixth Sense: Have a climatic ending! Create that I had no idea experience. 3. Repeat the Important Stuff Author Daniel Pink often states that presentations are all about brevity, levity and repetition. I want to focus on the latter. If you are making a handful of significant points throughout your talk, use your ending to remind your audience of those items. 4. Have a Call to Action I have seen one too many presentations where the presenter never invites the audience to do something with the new information that was just presented. Audiences are always thinking Whats the next step? Download a PDF? Buy a book? Contact someone? The audience has just invested 30, 60, or 90 minutes looking for a value-add, so make sure you provide purpose to your talk by creating a compelling call to action. 5. Inspire Every great journey begins with a single step. Unfortunately, most people arent willing to even take that action. If you find it challenging to do any of the above, then seek to create inspiration. Every human being loves a good pick me up, so if you can encourage your audience to take that first step, you have added more benefit than you can possibly imagine.

Are you going to be judged during your next presentation? Sure thing. Should you be nervous? You bet. Are you going to look amazing embracing these principles? Oh yeahyouve got this covered. Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.