Staff Presentations – Autopsy of a Failure

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Recently, I was working with some assistant principals who are in a Principal Development Program. Specifically, they were presenting staff development modules that they would use on their campuses when the need presented itself. The presentation that was the most valuable was the one that was a complete failure. The failure presented an excellent teachable moment and this is the synopsis of the subsequent discussion:

1) Have a point. Know your main idea, and stay focused on that topic.
a. This presentation had four major components. Each which could have comprised a stand alone presentation.

2) Stay within the time constraints.
a. The time frame was 20 to 30 minutes. This presentation had enough material to fill a couple of hours.

3) A PowerPoint slide represents 5 to 10 minutes of discussion.
a. Don’t talk faster, either break the presentation into smaller chunks or edit. I recommend that you edit.

4) One embedded video is ok, 3 back to back to back is not.

5) When the computer freezes (and someday it will), know your material well enough to go on anyway, or end the presentation with an apology.

The AP was of course embarrassed that everything that could go wrong, did. But I told him, and I honestly believe, that this failure was a good thing. First, it was a safe room. Second, to learn to quickly adapt to adversity requires that you deal with some adversity. Third, better this happen now, instead of in front of 100 staff or the Board and Superintendent.

Does anyone out there have any failure lessons they want to share?

T.W.A. – Your turn…

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