Here are 4 lessons that Orla Hughes, an occupational therapy student, learnt from presenting for the first time at a RCOT conference:
- Encourage everyone to ‘give it a go’
The different ways we can present at conference gives us a chance to get creative and ‘give it a go.’
If you have a passion for an activity, why not apply to host an occupation station? If you have interesting research but don’t enjoy public speaking, could you submit a poster instead? Personally, I haven’t conducted any traditional research yet so I shared a personal reflection of my experience volunteering while being an occupational therapy student for the first time. I’d encourage you to think, ‘what could I do?’
- Wear suncream
Be prepared to take it easy and look after yourself before you are presenting. Self-care and occupational balance need to be considered even more so when you are putting yourself out there at a conference. For me that meant I should have worn suncream the weekend before as I could have avoided presenting while looking like a lobster.
- Remember Murphy’s Law
We are in Northern Ireland and therefore, Murphy’s law applies: ‘If technical difficulties can happen, they probably will’ which is what arose in my presentation. Having interesting videos and slideshows are a welcome bonus to your presentation but have a back-up plan if it isn’t possible to show them on the day.
- Get interactive
Finally, my favourite presentations are the ones that have some banter with the audience whether it’s asking the crowd discussion questions, conducting a ‘hands-up’ poll, or singing a song together.
The opportunity to interact can turn the session into something people can engage more with and hopefully make the learning outcomes more tangible. In my presentation, I did this through running a twitter competition. I announced I would be picking my favourite tweet from the session and award the winner with their favourite chocolate bar.
Stay tuned for the award ceremony coming soon on twitter (@orlatheot).