Big subject, short timeframe

You only have an hour. The general topic area is broad – social media for social advocacy. You don’t get to narrow down your topic before you go in. What’s a presenter to do? You can guess what they might like, you can talk really quickly — or, you can customise on the fly. Here’s what I did.

Firstly, I chose several free tools that I thought my audience should know about. These were tools used by other social justice advocates on the web.
Next, I created mini-presentations for each of these.

I then created a handout with links to all of the tools so, regardless of what was covered, they could take away information and explore other tools on their own. That would cover the people who didn’t vote with the majority on the tools covered on the day.

Finally, I set up a slide in my presentation that looked like a web page. And operated like one too. PowerPoint has the ability to create links to slides within the presentation. So, I created little buttons and linked them to the starting slide for each topic.

At the end of each topic, I created a link back to the “menu slide”.
I timed each mini-presentation so knew that we’d have time for about three with questions and participation.

I then let the participants choose from the menu.
They. Loved. It.

The handout saved me and them time copying links, names and uses for each tool. Showing them how to use it was futile in the time we had – they had links to the tools if they wanted to explore them.

So, the next time you’re given a short time frame and a large topic – consider letting your audience choose from options you set out. You’ll end up with a presentation you can re-use for longer sessions and different audiences and your attendees will get the information they want!