One of the best ways to improve upon a skill is to work with a coach who can offer feedback and guidance that is tailored specifically to your needs. OLC now offers this as a free service to all conference presenters. However, there are a limited number of coaching sessions being offered this year. Signing up early is highly recommended.
Jessica White is a Lead Instructional Designer working with Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) and the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences (FBNS) at North Carolina State University. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Training & Development Program within the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. As an instructional designer in both departments, she provides instructional design and project management knowledge to provide solutions to instructional challenges. She works with faculty members to design, develop, and evaluate innovative online and face-to-face courses.
Jessica was selected to present three times for OLC Accelerate 2019: two discovery sessions and one education session. She chose to take advantage of the coaching offered through Presenter Services and was partnered with Sherri Restauri, Director of Coastal Office of Online Learning from Coastal Carolina University and the conference co-chair. This is an interview with Jessica on her experience with presentation coaching through OLC.
How did you feel when you were notified you had been selected to present for three different sessions at the OLC Accelerate conference?
I was ecstatic, shocked, excited and utterly overwhelmed. I submitted three proposals (two of which had co-presenters) but never expected all three to be accepted. I saw it as a reflection of the value of the topics upon which I submitted and the impact they have on the education industry. I immediately decided to make the most of the opportunity and present all three sessions.
What helped you decide to sign up for coaching sessions?
The acceptance of all three proposals and the fact that I’d never presented at a national conference before is what helped me decide to sign up for coaching sessions. While I’ve been a classroom instructor for my entire career and love presenting at the front of the classroom, presenting at a national conference has an entirely different vibe to it. When the email came out with an opportunity to sign up for coaching sessions, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. I signed up to receive assistance before going to the conference since I wanted to be sure everything (i.e., presentation, materials, etc.) was on point before getting down to Orlando in November.
What did you learn during your coaching sessions with Sherri?
Sherri gave me so many valuable tips, tools, and tricks of presenting in the national arena. She gave me tips on how long to prepare to present, items to ensure I had available in all my presentation, how to make sure people stopped by my discovery sessions, items to bring with me as a backup, and what to ensure my education session room had once I arrived at the venue. She gave me feedback on my rough draft presentation for my education session, and once I made the edits, she and I practiced together via Zoom. She listened to my entire presentation all the way through and gave me additional verbal feedback on what to make sure I kept in my presentation, items I’d want to clarify for individuals unfamiliar with what I do and worked on for these presentations, and how to ensure I kept my nerves down for my session. One of the things that helped me the most was hearing from her that she had presented every type of session possible and made every mistake imaginable. That allowed me to remember that all of us are human and can learn from one another’s mistakes.
How did they help you become a better presenter?
The tips Sherri gave me in our coaching sessions helped me become a better presenter because she helped me realize that some of the things I take for granted, having been in education my entire career, are not necessarily the same for other instructional designers and professionals working in other areas. As I work to prepare for my OLC Innovate presentations, I’m incorporating those same tips. The other tips that Sherri shared helped me become a better presenter by causing me to focus on my material and its delivery. Hearing her remind me of the fact that I’m the expert on what I’m presenting allowed me to grow my confidence level and shake the nerves off where I was ready to present to however many attendees my sessions garnered.
Why would you recommend that presenters take advantage of this service?
I would highly encourage anyone who is nervous about presenting or who has never presented before take advantage of this service. It proved beyond beneficial to me. As a result of receiving coaching assistance and bolstering my confidence, I submitted two RFPs for OLC Innovate in Chicago, both of which were accepted. I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to go through the submission process again if I hadn’t received the coaching assistance I received from Sherri.
Anything else you would like to share?
Don’t ever be afraid to share what you know and what you’ve done with others in the industry who will benefit from your stories and experience. Once you get on the “presentation horse” once, you can get on it again and again. Every time it gets easier and easier. All of us working with learners, regardless of industry, have valuable information to share to make it easier for the next person coming behind us.
More on Presenter Services
One of the best ways to improve upon a skill is to work with a coach who can offer feedback and guidance that is tailored specifically to your needs. OLC now offers this as a free service to all conference presenters upon request on a space available basis. We encourage you to sign up soon as coaching sessions will take place during late February and early March.
If you’re looking for a quick reference on ways to enhance your presentation, consider taking a look at our Presenter Guides. These downloadable resources serve as a quick refresher on the best ‘advice’ or ‘tips’ our coaches have to offer.
These virtual sessions provide you with detailed guidance on strategies and techniques that can help you craft a successful presentation. By attending the live webinars, you will have the opportunity to hear best practices, ask questions of the webinar presenters, and share any insights or lessons learned from your own experiences. Be sure to mark these on your calendar so you don’t miss them!
All meeting links are available on the Presenter Services website.
February 5, 3:30pm ET – Workshops
February 12, 1:00pm ET – Discovery Sessions
February 14, 11:00am ET – Innovation Studio Design Thinking Challenges
February 20, 2:30pm ET – Conversations, Not Presentations & Career Forum Roundtables
February 27, 1:00pm ET – Present & Reflect and Streaming Sessions
Even if you are a seasoned presenter, we would encourage you to attend the webinars as your insights may help to enrich the conversation for individuals who are less experienced.